Public Health New Mexico
11:03 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Students Win Thousands to Clean Up Water

The Taos High team worked out of a lab at the middle school. From left: James Valerio, Anthony Archuleta, Andrea Chin-Lopez and Julia Johnson.
The Taos High team worked out of a lab at the middle school. From left: James Valerio, Anthony Archuleta, Andrea Chin-Lopez and Julia Johnson.
Credit Laura Tenorio

Young scientists from Taos High School won the top prize at eCYBERMISSION, a national army-sponsored contest that asks students to come up with real-world solutions to problems in their communities. 

Ninth-graders in Taos figured out how to create inexpensive filters to remove antibiotics from drinking water. On Friday, June 20, they won $20,000 for their efforts, plus an additional $5,000 grant for the next phase of their work—implementation.

They made the filters out of crushed blue crab shells that cost a little less than four bucks each, and developed a method for removing most of the antibiotics from the water. So what’s next? Student Andrea Chin Lopez explained: “We hope to expand this project so we can remove variables like allergens, and we also want to implement it on a larger scale. And in the long run we want to push for legislation to include antibiotics and other prescription drugs as something that is tested for as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act."

The students say they’ll use their winnings for college.