On April 16, approximately 400 students from elementary, middle and high schools in Palm Beach County competed in the 30th annual engineering design competition called “Drop it, Thrill It, Float It, Launch it, Clean It.”
The event was jointly organized and managed by the Florida Engineering Society and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Private sponsors and nonprofit organizations including Palm Beach County donated $5,000 in cash and prizes to the winners in each category as well as in kind services. Six Palm Beach County employees donated their time to work the event: Ginny Powell, Krystin Berntsen, Kyle Brown, Fatmeh Jafer, Amy Harris, and Erik Ferguson.
“Clean It” was a new category of the competition this year. It was conceived of and implemented by the Pollution Prevention (P2) Coalition of Palm Beach County, a voluntary group of local industry, academia, and government representatives with a common interest in preventing pollution to improve the quality of our environment. The Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County oversees the group which includes several Palm Beach County departments such as Water Utilities, Facilities Development & Operations, Environmental Resources Management, and the Solid Waste Authority. The city of West Palm Beach, the South Florida Water Management District, Florida Atlantic University, Rocket Dyne, and Pratt and Whitney are also represented.
Over 200 students registered for “Clean It.” They were required to bring 2-liter bottles and their choice of different types of filter media. During the timed event, they worked individually or in teams of two to assemble and filter a pre-mixed bottle of dirty water.
The winners were those who produced the cleanest water (lowest turbidity) with the highest volume used a tiebreaker. Not only was “Clean It” fun, but it helped students understand the importance of filtering dirty stormwater to remove pollutants prior to discharging it to the environment. Several parents commented on how well the “Clean It” category was organized, a testament to the hard work of the 19 P2 Coalition members who staffed it.
For more information about the competition and to see a list of the 2016 winners in each category, go tohttps://www.sfsciencecenter.org/event/drop-it-thrill-it.
Learn more about the Pollution Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County athttp://palmbeach.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/environmental-health/air-quality/pollution-prevention.html