New Water Sampling Well at Bay Pines STEM Center

Melinda Hamsher examines clay from water sampling well.

In March, the St. Petersburg College Bay Pines STEM Center received a brand new water sampling well that will help the college’s environmental science students practice their skills and monitor the sensitive ecosystem around the STEM Center.

“This will enable our students to gain hands-on field experience with the same kinds of equipment they will be using when they graduate and start their careers,” said Environmental Science Professor Maura Scanlon, who was on site for the well installation on March 16.

Bay Pines STEM Center Water Sampling Well

Enviromental science students now have a water sampling well at St. Petersburg College Bay Pines STEM Center. The new well is both an excellent resource for students, and it will help monitor the ecological health of the area. The Enviromental Science Program will be receiving monitoring equipment through a grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation (NSF). #STEM

Posted by St. Petersburg College on Friday, March 16, 2018

Florida Professional Geologist Melinda Hamsher and her team from Value Environmental Services sunk the 12-foot well behind the STEM Center in just a few hours. After the installation, Hamsher checked the water quality and found normal results for the area.

“We installed this monitoring well in order to have a permanent access point into the groundwater. We use these wells to check for things like salt water intrusion, pH changes, and in my particular industry, which is petroleum and hazardous waste contamination, we check for contaminants in the groundwater,” said Hamsher.

Clean groundwater is the key to a clean environment. Groundwater provides drinking water for 90 percent of all Floridians, in addition to providing water for industry and agriculture. Contaminated groundwater is a serious risk. Common contaminants like gasoline, oil, pesticides, and fertilizer can pollute groundwater and spread rapidly through an ecosystem. In addition, Florida has the added risk of saltwater intrusion into the aquifer.

Environmental science students will use the well to hone their skills, and it will help provide a vital watch on water quality. Monitoring equipment will be provided by a grant from American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation.

The installation of the sampling well provides another great tool to help students in the Environmental Science program prepare for their future careers.

Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Environmental Science Technology Associate of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainability Management.

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