Water chemistry online - Stage 6 Chemistry resources

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What is Water chemistry online?

Looking for inspiration for a Depth Study? Water chemistry online gives you ideas, learning tools and resources to explore how we apply real world science.

Choose from three Stage 6 Chemistry Depth Study investigations looking at:

1. Drinking Water Depth Study - explore pH, buffers and chemical techniques we use to ensure drinking water quality and protect public health.

2. Wastewater Depth Study - explore separation techniques used in treating wastewater, as well as the need for chemical monitoring to protect the environment.

3. Recycled Water Depth Study - explore different types of polymers and how we use them in flocculation, dewatering and membranes contributing to sustainable environments and livable cities.

Getting started?

  1. Sign up with your school email* and check out our video highlighting key features of this page. *You are only required to provide the required information indicated by the asterisks on the registration form. School emails will only be able to participate in our Q&A.
  2. Check out our sample timelines, lesson plans and assessments to help you deliver our Depth Study programs.
  3. Book a 30 minute virtual conference session with one of our experienced Education Officers.
  4. Start asking questions, share your stories and test your knowledge.

What will you find on Water chemistry online?

Discover

Learn the chemistry behind water management and why it's important. Watch this video to set the scene.

Explore how we put theory to practice and how you can replicate real world science in the classroom. Why not try our practical investigations.

Drinking water - Practical investigation example

Ask questions

This is a great place to ask about things you can't find easily in your textbooks, about Sydney Water, water management and the water industry. Sydney Water Education Officer presenting to crown of students

Share feedback and ideas

You'll also be able to engage with us, other students and teachers. You could leave study tips, present your depth study projects or give feedback on our content.

Students sharing notes and studying

Want to know more about our Education resources or book a virtual conference for your depth study contact Education@sydneywater.com.au.

What is Water chemistry online?

Looking for inspiration for a Depth Study? Water chemistry online gives you ideas, learning tools and resources to explore how we apply real world science.

Choose from three Stage 6 Chemistry Depth Study investigations looking at:

1. Drinking Water Depth Study - explore pH, buffers and chemical techniques we use to ensure drinking water quality and protect public health.

2. Wastewater Depth Study - explore separation techniques used in treating wastewater, as well as the need for chemical monitoring to protect the environment.

3. Recycled Water Depth Study - explore different types of polymers and how we use them in flocculation, dewatering and membranes contributing to sustainable environments and livable cities.

Getting started?

  1. Sign up with your school email* and check out our video highlighting key features of this page. *You are only required to provide the required information indicated by the asterisks on the registration form. School emails will only be able to participate in our Q&A.
  2. Check out our sample timelines, lesson plans and assessments to help you deliver our Depth Study programs.
  3. Book a 30 minute virtual conference session with one of our experienced Education Officers.
  4. Start asking questions, share your stories and test your knowledge.

What will you find on Water chemistry online?

Discover

Learn the chemistry behind water management and why it's important. Watch this video to set the scene.

Explore how we put theory to practice and how you can replicate real world science in the classroom. Why not try our practical investigations.

Drinking water - Practical investigation example

Ask questions

This is a great place to ask about things you can't find easily in your textbooks, about Sydney Water, water management and the water industry. Sydney Water Education Officer presenting to crown of students

Share feedback and ideas

You'll also be able to engage with us, other students and teachers. You could leave study tips, present your depth study projects or give feedback on our content.

Students sharing notes and studying

Want to know more about our Education resources or book a virtual conference for your depth study contact Education@sydneywater.com.au.

Got a chemical query?


Cartoon boy with 6 question mark clouds above head

This is where you can ask your questions and our education team can answer them. 

Check out some FAQs we get from other HSC Chemistry students. 


You need to be signed in to add your question.

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    where and how is washing detergents separated in the waste water recycling process

    wingod asked 6 months ago

    Wastewater is a complex mixture and needs to go through multiple treatment processes to make recycled water. You can read more about wastewater treatment and water recycling here.

    Washing detergents have multiple components that are removed in different steps. Many of the naturally available components, including nutrients like phosphates and nitrates, are broken down and removed in secondary or biological treatment using microbes. 

    Fine particles, remaining chemicals and excess nutrients require chemical mixing in tertiary treatment. This includes coagulation and flocculation which pull together the tiny particles to form larger solids that can then be removed using processes like sedimentation and filtration. 

    We recommend using eco-friendly washing detergents at home. Detergents low in phosphates and unscented require less chemicals and energy to remove from wastewater.

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    where and how is toilet paper separated in the waste water recycling process

    k asked 6 months ago

    Wastewater is a complex mixture and needs to go through multiple treatment processes to make recycled water.   

    Toilet paper can break down, pass through sieve-like screen and then sink to the bottom of the sedimentation tank in primary treatment. Scrapers at the bottom of the tanks remove this sludge, which is then treated and used to produce biosolids (see more on solids recycling). 


    For Sydney Water, the time between toilet flushing and reaching a plant can be as little as a couple hours so we need things like toilet paper to break down very quickly. Unfortunately, all other objects we remove, particularly wet wipes, is sent to landfill because it doesn’t break up and cannot be recycled. Read more about wastewater treatment and water recycling.


    You can test the difference between toilet paper and wipes and the other stuff we put down the toilet with this practical investigation – Wipes out of pipes. Take a look at our Keep wipes out of pipes experiment video, or have a look at the Wipes out of pipes lesson plan


    We recommend only flush the three P’s down the toilet – pee, poo and (toilet) paper. 

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    What are some future applications of chemistry in water treatment?

    Caz asked over 1 year ago

    Check out our News and research section to find out more about exciting developments at Sydney Water. 

    You can find more information on our Innovation & renewable energy and Reports & publications webpage. 

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    What chemicals are used in water treatment? Why?

    Caz asked over 1 year ago

    There are range of different chemicals that we use in water treatment to protect public health and the environment.  

    The chemicals we use are fit-for-purpose, meaning that at each site we choose chemicals that are appropriate for the job and the end use for the water. 

    We carefully follow regulations and recommendations of authorities like NSW Health and take into consideration variables like the quality of the raw or incoming water, equipment available and the end purpose of the water. 

    Some of the classes of chemicals include: 

    • Coagulants: are added to water to neutralise the charges on suspended solids to help with their removal. One or combinations coagulants can be used at a plant
    • Flocculants: are added to water to cause a physical reaction making solids clump  together (aggregate). This can be used with coagulants to help separate solid particles. Flocculants can include polymers, that can be non-ionic, contain charged groups (polyelectrolytes). 
    • Oxidants and disinfectants: can be used to manage aesthetic water quality needs (the way water looks, smells and tastes). Oxidation reactions are used for colour removal, such as precipitation of manganese or iron ions. They can also be used for disinfection purposes such as applying chlorine or ozone. 
    • Acids and bases: are used for pH regulation, cleaning and to create a suitable environment for other chemical reactions.   


    You can check out our Natural buffers in water treatment video for more information. 


    Head to our HSC Chemistry page for more fact sheets, videos and information. 

    You can also see our technical data sheets located on treatment plant pages such as for specific examples. 

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    What polymers are used in water treatment? Why?

    Caz asked over 1 year ago

    There are multiple ways we use polymers in water treatment. 

    • We use a polymer in a process called flocculation. It is used to stick fine particles together to help remove them. Watch Polymers in water treatment to find out more.


    • We also use polymers in membrane filtration such as reverse osmosis. we use this process to remove dissolved salts, nutrients and particles <0.0005 μM! This purifies the water in a process called advanced water recycling


    Both of these uses of polymers are important to help us:

    • remove fine particles from water making sure it's cleaned for its intended use
    • to recover solids for beneficial reuse such as biosolids, a safe fertiliser. 


    You can read more fact sheets on the uses and properties of specific polymers on our HSC Chemistry web page.

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    Why do you monitor water quality? How does water quality change in different sources of water?

    Caz asked over 1 year ago

    We must monitor chemical, biological and physical properties of water - its water quality. This is to ensure we meet our core objectives to protect public health and the environment. 

    We manage and monitor water quality at many points through out our drinking water system in a 'multi-barrier approach'. You can find out more on our drinking water quality and filtration webpage.

    We're also protecting the environment by treating wastewater and managing water in the environment. We treat and monitor wastewater for reuse as recycled water or to safely discharged into the environment

    No matter the source of water - we treat, monitor and manage water so it is 'fit-for-purpose' - right for the job and environment it end up in. 

    Why not try our Make mock water samples fact sheet to replicate sources of water and see how water quality can change.

Page last updated: 19 July 2021, 14:13