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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Students and professor seek to purify dirty water in San Marcos

Texas+State+graduate+student+Carlos+Espindola+prepares+chemicals+for+the+advanced+water+purification+system%2C+Friday%2C+June+2%2C+2023%2C+at+the+Ingram+School+of+Engineering.

Texas State graduate student Carlos Espindola prepares chemicals for the advanced water purification system, Friday, June 2, 2023, at the Ingram School of Engineering.

Keisuke Ikehata, a Texas State civil engineering professor, has had a passion for clean water for over a decade. Conducting research and projects to purify water has been a necessity for him both at his original home in California and now in Texas where he has resided for five years.
Ikehata is now working to purify water to make it drinkable with the help of Texas State students who share a common passion for gaining trust in water within the San Marcos community.
Since 2021, Ikehata and his student lab mates have made wastewater, brackish lake and groundwater, stormwater and seawater clean through a pilot advanced water purification system at the City of San Marcos Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“This is what my passion is,” Ikehata said. “I’m not too much about preserving the nature in water. I’m actually reusing the water within the community so that we don’t have to rely on stealing water from the rivers or groundwaters. That actually makes us more self-sufficient and it’s circular.”
Now, the team is striving to make the process more efficient and effective. Since 2022, Emma Clow, an aquatic resources graduate student, has been conducting a reverse osmosis concentration project, a technique used to purify water through desalination.
The plan to take on this project rooted from Clow’s love for nature and her determination to make water more accessible, especially after departing from Arizona where she attended Arizona State University for her bachelor’s degree in environmental science.
“I grew up in Washington state… I was always swimming as a kid and then I went to school in Arizona, and it was vastly different from there,” Clow said. “I learned how lucky I was to just be surrounded not only by beautiful waterways but also not have to worry about water shortages.”
For Carlos Espindola, a civil engineering graduate student, his main project is maintaining the smell, odor and appearance of purified water. Ever since joining Ikehata in May 2021, Espindola has tackled the task of making the water safe and trusting for the San Marcos community to drink and finding solutions to other environmental issues in order to do so.
“I think it’s very important when it comes to providing the public with safe drinking water that they can have confidence in drinking,” Espindola said. “For this project, it also takes into account wildlife discharging into our water bodies. If we can minimize that, it could be a great step toward having less of an impact on our environment.”
As Ikehata’s team is making efficient steps into purified water for the San Marcos community, they also encourage Texas State students to be contributors to a safe and healthy water environment.
Ikehata believes that with less pollution and plastic-use, society can maintain a better environment.
“Together we should be able to make it better,” Ikehata said. “There are multiple ways to do this. Don’t litter at all, reduce the amount of plastic you use every day and please use a reusable water bottle.”
Espindola believes that joining environmental focused student organizations is a good way for Texas State students to become environmental contributors. Some organizations include the Environmental Conservation Organization, Texas American Water Works Association, Engineers for a Sustainable World and others.
Espindola also believes knowledge on water environment is vital to becoming an environmental contributor. This knowledge could be attained with the help of The Meadows Center, Texas State’s mainland to educate on water and the environment.
The Meadows Center is the home to Spring Lake, in which the San Marcos community is given the opportunity to explore the lake through glass-bottom boat tours, scuba diving, snorkeling and more.
Clow recommends similar solutions to Ikehata and Espindola of less plastic usage and becoming more knowledgeable of the environment, but she also recommends Texas State students to indulge in the San Marcos River.
“Be really mindful of the San Marcos River, because it is such an amazing resource and I absolutely adore being in San Marcos mostly because of the river that we have,” Clow said. “I love seeing people out there and enjoying it and people should do that, but I think you just need to respect it. Don’t step on the wild rice.”
To learn more about water and the environment within San Marcos, visit https://www.meadowscenter.txst.edu/.

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