WHAT’S I THE W F
or Caden Carreno, an eighth grade student at the Don Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale, what’s out of sight is not necessarily out of mind. He’s intent on figuring out just what kinds of contaminants can be found in the city’s stormwater runoff system as it slowly works its way through subterranean channels back out into local streams and lakes. From cigarette butts to fertilizer chemicals, there are plenty of potential contaminants that can get caught up in water as it flows into storm drains. And, once there, it’s 6
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very hard to test or keep an eye on it, he said. “The idea was to build a device that would allow us to test the water and give water quality experts a better idea of how to fix some of the problems that are going on.”
Caden’s solution was to combine a 360-degree camera with a 3D flotation device he designed from scratch to go inside the stormwater system. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service on water quality and the Arkansas Tobacco-Free Coalition are interested partners.
Those problems are particularly dangerous because, unlike sewage, storm water goes back into local freshwater, like nearby Beaver Lake. People swim and fish there. Potential contaminants can make those activities unsafe for people and can also harm plants and wildlife.
“The 360 camera has a very wide lens on the top, and we designed the 3D-printed case to be used for floating. It doesn’t intrude on the lenses, and the way the stitching software works, you can actually crop out the device, itself” Caden said. “Our main goal was to get as