New well creates flow of ideas

By: Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief

A grant provided by Northrop Grumman Corp. allowed Rose State College to dig a well on campus during the winter break. The purpose of the well is to help educate environmental science students on issues regarding water resources.

The well is roughly 35 feet deep, with underground water deposits. Unlike surface water, the underground deposits are not susceptible to evaporation, making them a viable commodity during a drought.

Overdrawn at the water bank

new water well

A grant provided by Northrop Corp allowed RSC to dig a well on campus during winter break.

However, problems can occur with repeated years of drought. This puts a strain on underground deposits, which are used primarily for agricultural purposes. Without knowledge of how to monitor water levels and resource management, one could find themselves overdrawn at the water bank.

Students can use the well to learn how to calculate flow rates in order to use the well water, while still maintaining it, as opposed to just using it up.

The last straw

“Beneath the cap, there’s a tube that goes down the well’s full length,” Stephen Lynch, physics lab assistant said,  “It’s similar to a glass of water with a drinking straw. The water level inside the straw is equal to the outside water level.”

Lynch said that by measuring the water levels, we could determine how long it takes the well to replenish itself between uses.

When digging the well, a geological instrument gathered core soil samples. Three 10-foot-long segments were collected, and are currently stored in the physics lab. There are plans to construct a display case for the soil samples.

STEM research

The new well is one of many projects funded by the $15,000 Northrop Grumman Corp. grant provided to the campus. The grant goes to help develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

Other technology funded by the grant includes:

  • A Thermal Cycler, which assists in DNA research
  • Computational Chemistry Workstations, used in pharmaceutical and health science research
  • Bridge and load amplifier sets that stress-test load-bearing structures
  • Recertifying and maintaining a 3-D printer used in engineering model building.

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