Alexander Byrnes, 2018, Chemical and Biological Engineering
I investigated the effects of natural gas pipelines on drinking water contamination. The hypothesis supposed that because arsenic is released from geologic formations by microbial activity, and pipelines provide an ideal environment for bacterial growth, there would be a direct correlation between distance to the pipeline and arsenic concentration in the water. To test this hypothesis, well water from 18 households in Ringoes, New Jersey, was sampled. This water was then tested — both in the field and in a laboratory — for various chemical components, including arsenic. Water composition was then analyzed to find any potential correlations. I gained a lot of experience with water sampling and testing from this internship, and I am now comfortable with many new laboratory machines and practices. I also am better at data analysis and technical writing. This project helped me confirm that environmental research and protection, especially in relation to water, is a field that I want to continue exploring both in my remaining year at Princeton and in my future career.