Distinguished Student Work



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The purpose of this experiment is to analyze how commonly used landscaping materials (wood mulch, rubber mulch, and landscape stones) will affect the quality and chemical composition of runoff water they come into contact with, and how this will be impacted by different temperatures experienced in different climatic regions.

In order to conduct this experiment, always wear safety goggles and gloves when handling experiment materials. First, prepare the landscaping materials and rinse the containers and lids. Then, place the designated amount of landscaping materials in each container and fill each with 2.27 liters of filtered water, subsequently covering them and placing them in their designated temperature locations. Now, test a sample of filtered water once to obtain baseline data. During the data collection period, heat the oven (warm area) to 66°C every 12 hours and perform a pollutant test on each box’s water every 48 hours for 10 days and record readings.

Overall, the room temperature rubber mulch has been determined to have the highest impact on water quality, followed by the cold rubber mulch, then the room temperature rocks and cold rocks, then the hot rocks and cold wood mulch, followed by the hot rubber mulch, and finally the room temperature wood mulch and hot wood mulch. This rejects most of the hypothesis that 1) the wood mulch would cause the highest impact (in terms of pollutant increases) on the hot water, and that 2) the landscape rocks would cause the lowest water quality impact at all water temperatures. However, it supports that the rubber mulch causes the highest impact in the cold and room temperature water.

Publication Date



Water Quality


Chemistry | Environmental Sciences | Sustainability | Water Resource Management


Grand Prize | Clean Water Award 2022 | Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition

Illinois Water Environmental Regional Award 2022 | Illinois Junior Academy of Science Regional Exposition

Landscape Materials: Impact on Water Quality at Different Temperatures



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