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Water facts flow freely at Toll Middle School

GWP specialists stop by to teach eighth-graders about the resource.

November 18, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Toll Middle School 8th graders learned about chemistry and what causes water pipes to corrode during Glendale Water & Power employee visit as guest chemistry teachers for a day at the Glendale school on Thursday, Nov. 14 2013. Two employees taught 375 8th grade students about pH levels in water.
Toll Middle School 8th graders learned about chemistry… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Glendale Water & Power representatives spent most of Thursday as guest chemistry instructors at Toll Middle School, teaching eighth-graders about where the city's water comes from and how it's treated to make it safe to drink.

Martin Manucharyan, who is the senior water-quality specialist with the utility, said there are 30 steel water tanks and concrete underground reservoirs that Glendale residents tap into each day.

Of all the water the city consumes, about 60% to 70% comes from the Sacramento Delta or the Colorado River, he explained, while 30% to 40% is sourced from local groundwater wells. It's then treated, sampled and tested.

One of the city's newest wells, located on Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta, pumps 200 gallons of water per minute.

In his role with the 104-year-old utility, Manucharyan oversees tests on the water, including its pH levels, which is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.

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“Some of our sites, based on regulations, require that we monitor continuously — every minute of every day,” he said.

Across Glendale, he said, the pH level for water ranges from 6.5 to 8.5. When the proper amount of chlorine is added to water, the reaction produces hypochlorous acid, which prevents bacteria from growing, making water safe enough to consume, he added.

The utility also keeps an eye on its pipes, and often sends crews to dig trenches to clear out rust or mineral build-up within them after decades of use. After scraping away the unwanted metals, crews will line the inside of the pipes with a layer of fresh concrete to keep the water running smoothly.

Eighth-grade science teacher Houry Mandjikian reached out to Glendale Water & Power after teaching her students about pH levels, acids and bases.

“What better way to connect it to real life?” she said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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