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Office and Fieldwork (Jan. 7)

by Brandon Willis

Testing Jan 7While most of the group went out for fieldwork, Jon, Katie, and I stayed back in the office to get some work done. Most of the fieldwork was collecting salinity data near the foothills, so my services were not needed. I had business about the city that needed tending to anyway.

Hanley has led an effort to characterize the coliform count in the rainwater harvest recharge wells and surrounding wells. The method, developed by a former student named Lizzy, involves diluting Testing 3 Jan 7well samples with sterile water to various concentrations and measuring whether a bacterial colony forms in each diluted sample. A probabilistic approach is then taken to obtain a maximum probable coliform count, which involves counting the diluted samples that show a colony presence. Unfortunately, we did not have enough sterile water to test all the wells that we had intended to. We tried to find sterile water all over town, but with no success. Professor Muste and Hanley made a breakthrough when they found a microbiologist at the nearby hospital who agreed to Goats Jan 7sterilize water for us. The only condition was that we had to find a glass flask with a sealable glass cap and bring it in.

On Jan. 7, I spent most of the afternoon on the back of a motorcycle traveling around New Delhi, going from shop to shop searching for a glass flask with a glass lid. The language barrier was nearly impenetrable, though my guide spoke some broken English. After a few hours, we luckily encountered a laboratory supplier. We then moved on to the next task: piping.

Fieldwork 2 Jan 7My project involved building a first flush diverter, a contraption that automatically diverts a fixed volume away from the recharge well. This was less of an issue. We found a relatively large store that offered many such pieces. My guide told me that the store was the largest plumbing supplier in New Delhi, and still it was a shadow of an average hardware store in the states. The store had about two-thirds of the supplies I needed.

My experiences have made me appreciate Paul’s Discount, Menard’s, Theisen’s, WalMart, the internet, and other convenient stores that supply almost any project-related supply.

Fieldwork Jan 7

Last modified on June 21st, 2016
Posted on June 17th, 2016