Call for 2018 Nominations

The Nominations Committee of the Central Arizona Local ACS section is opening the floor for nominations (including self-nominations) for the following positions:

Alternate Councilor

Please submit your nominations (or self-nominations) and biography to no later than November 18, 2018. We will verify acceptance of all nominations prior to ballot creation. Information about the duties of the positions and role on the executive committee are available upon request.

CAZACS YCC hosts a tour of the Deer Valley Water Treatment Plant

It was on one of the few cloudy days we see here in Arizona, but several CAZACS members braved the overcast drizzle to take a behind-the-scenes look at how our drinking water is processed in the Valley. It was a fascinating tour!

We began where the canal meets the Deer Valley Water Treatment Plant, where the water is sourced for processing. Like many East-Coasters, I assumed that the drinking water in the City of Phoenix was from underground aquifers, and I guessed that the incoming water was probably consistent in composition. Clearly, I was wrong! 95% of the drinking water is sourced from surface run-off, which means that there could be a lot of variability in the water composition, and a lot of trace organic molecules (from plants, soil, or anything). Much of the water is kept in distant reservoirs, and water is released from these reservoirs into the canals depending how much water is needed, or is available. As a result, water treatment strategies must change daily (if not, by the hour!) depending on what’s in the incoming water. You can imagine how dynamic the water composition must be during monsoon season!

Overlooking one of the flocculation ponds, where some of the process chemistry is at work. The Deer Valley facility updated their process so that they use less land-acreage and less time compared to earlier, more conventional methods.

We also learned about the scale of the facility. Deer Valley can process up to 70 million gallons per day of raw water, and can reach as far as East Phoenix. Deer Valley is able to meet these demands because of their unique processing method, which is faster and uses less land-acreage than conventional methods (but you’ll need to take a tour for yourself to learn the details!).

For that matter, water treatment strategies also need to consider long-term goals, not just the day-to-day protocols. For example, one of our group asked about how the City of Phoenix Water Services Department considers population growth in the region. Our guide noted that even the Recession in 2008 dramatically changed their process strategy and water demands, as the regional populations responded to economic changes.

Particularly in an arid climate like Arizona, with future concerns about sufficient water as our world changes, water conservation is entangled with process plants like Deer Valley. In light of this, the City of Phoenix Water Services Department provides free resources and workshops to help Phoenicians conserve their water.

Of course, our group was most at-home in the testing labs. The water is tested at all points in the process pathway, to measure specific contaminants and to ensure that the water meets safe guidelines before it’s sent to the distribution network (where it’s further tested by another facility). Measuring these contaminants guides the process strategy, and also checks that the various filters and chemical treatments are working effectively. Our tour guide was also a chemist, so we did not shy away from technical questions about the instrumentation and methods!

Phoenix Water Services Goodies
Notably, the Deer Valley facility doesn’t handle sewer water.

Our tour guide also gave us some goodies before we departed for lunch, but not before alerting us to job openings for chemists who want to work in the Water Services Department for the City of Phoenix! Thank you for this valuable information!

In all, we all had a great time checking out the facility on this engaging and fascinating tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable and more than happy to answer all our nitty-gritty questions about flocculants and process chemistry. We learned a lot about what goes into clean water, a precious resource that should not be taken for granted.

Besides, it’s not often that you get to use a term like “flocculant” in regular conversation. Thank you to the Younger Chemists Committee for organizing this tour!

We have a Winner!

We are delighted to share some exciting news! One of the entires from our local section was awarded First Place in the 2018 CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest in the Grade 6-8 category! Greatest congratulations, Luc!

We selected category winners from our local section, and these entries were then advanced to the National CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest. This year, 43 local sections submitted entries, the largest yet! That’s quite the competition!

Thank you so much for all of the participants in the contest! We look forward to your future entries.

The winners of the National 2018 CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest can be found here.

CAZACS Celebrates Earth Week

What a week! We learned all about the chemistry of our oceans with Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW). CCEW is a community-based program of the American Chemical Society that has been devoted to communicating the roles of chemistry in the world for 15 years!

CAZACS sponsored an event at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa on April 22nd, which included a chemistry demonstration that explored acid-base chemistry of the oceans, the importance of the hydrophobic effect for birds, and what a bioluminescence looks like! With help from Student Affiliates of the ACS from Arizona State University, we distributed free issues of this year’s Celebrating Chemistry to museum attendees.

We also performed chemistry demonstrations at a local schools in the Phoenix area. CAZACS volunteers interacted with more than 500 students at Sierra Linda High School and Betty H. Fairfax High School as we showed off how cool marine chemistry can be! We showed how starch packing peanuts are an environmentally-friendly packing material, talked about the properties of polymers, and explored the density of salt water and how it relates to estuaries. The luminol oxidation reaction showed students what bioluminescent reactions can look like under the ocean. CAZACS volunteers also talked about how and why they pursued careers in chemistry, and some of the rewards and struggles of going into STEM fields.

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We’ll be sure to look for some of these students at future ACS meetings!

Invitation to the Central AZ ACS Younger Chemists Committee Social Networking Mixer

Your Central Arizona Section of the American Chemical Society is excited to sponsor a Younger Chemists Committee social networking mixer in Tempe at Pedal Haus Brewery (730 S Mill Ave #102, Tempe, AZ 85281) on Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 4-6pm. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity for meeting with local, younger chemists and learning about future events and opportunities through the organization! Admission is free for all current ACS members, with a nominal $5 fee for non-ACS members. Appetizers are free, and each member will also receive a complimentary drink ticket.

This will be a great opportunity to meet your fellow younger ACS members, and we encourage you to come out for an evening in downtown Tempe!

Please RSVP by Friday, May 25 so that we have an accurate headcount. If you are bringing guests, please select multiple tickets to match the size of your group. There will be a $5 fee for non-ACS members (collected at the door during the event). RSVP to the event with the following link.

Thank you,

Christina Forbes, David Montelongo, T. Greg Tucker (Co-Liaisons, CAZACS YCC)