Jarrod Blaser stands in front of his research poster,  "Water Filtration for Developing Nations."  The project earned him a seat in the American Junior Academy of Sciences which will meet in Austin, Texas next week. 

Liz Morales, The Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS-- Jarrod Blaser spent a majority of his high school career studying water.

Interest in water and a mind for engineering led Blaser to a research project for one of his final classes at Lakeview High School.

“In America, and especially in Nebraska, we have a great abundance of potable water,” Blaser said. “This is any water that you can drink. It’s not a big deal here in Columbus because of the Ogallala Aquifer. Rain falls and collects in the ground, and there we have it. All ready to drink.”

Taking into consideration that developing countries do not have this luxury, the 2017 graduate of Lakeview High School conducted a research project as part of his science curriculum while in high school.

“I call it ‘Water Filtration for Developing Nations,’” Blaser said. “I started it last fall with my science research class. That course was meant to be as an extra class for more scientific experience in order to look at a particular interest we had. It was also to get extra outside help from teachers and mentors.”

Blaser explained the premise of his research.

“I tried to make a project relevant with meaning behind it,” he said. “Third World countries have a lot of standing water that collects gross things. These can lead to diseases and infections that can be dangerous to people who drink it. I wanted to think of an easy way for those countries to be able to clean their water for everyday use.”

The project included a system for cleaning water.

“These countries don’t have access to a lot of equipment, so I made the idea as simple as I could,” he said. “It’s like a dresser drawer. There are three separate drawers to collect the water. The first is just a screen, the second has sand in it and the third has activated carbon.”

Water flows through the sand to remove particulates. The carbon then remove microscopic material and ions of larger molecules that are in water. The water is meant to flow into the receptacle where it will leave through an open flip tap.

“The only difficult material a Third World country will have with this is finding carbon,” Blaser said. “It can be a little hard for them to acquire it, but once they do, they will realize it doesn’t have to be replaced as often as the sand.”

Blaser has entered this project into regional science competitions. Upon winning at this level, he moved on to statewide competitions. That victory earned him placement in the American Junior Academy of Science.

AJAS is part of a conference that works in conjunction with the American Academy of Science. The conference is held in a different city every year, but the repertoire remains the same. Blaser will be one of fifty junior scientists who will tour local scientific institutions with scientists from all over the country. This year’s conference will be held Wednesday-Sunday in Austin, Texas.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln freshman is majoring in mechanical engineering. He said this conference will help with reach a lifelong goal of his.

“It’s my dream to find where I can travel to set up infrastructures in different countries,” he said. “Not just for water treatment, but to help the people in those countries construct buildings and towns that can help them in their everyday lives. I want to help make their world a little better.”


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