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Stephanie L. Luster-Teasley
Associate Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina A&T State University
Farmville Future?: CAFOs and Contamination

Life has changed for the rural residents of Farmville County since the arrival of four concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs); the air has an odor, wildlife has decreased, and illnesses are on the rise. One of the town's residents has become active in collecting water samples in nearby lakes, rivers, and streams and has determined the water has high levels of fecal bacteria. This case study provides a forum to discuss the benefits and concerns associated with the CAFO industry and its waste handling practices. As the story develops, students are assigned the role of county board members who must vote on whether one of the local CAFOs should be allowed to expand operations. To vote responsibly, students must research the CAFO industry and the potential for environmental contamination. An optional lab component teaches students how to analyze water samples for total coliform, E. coli, and Enterococci using EPA-approved methods. The case is particularly suited for an environmental engineering, environmental science, or microbiology course.

No Longer Fond of the Local Pond : A Case and Laboratory for Elementary Water Analysis

When an elementary school teacher calls in sick to work, she finds out that she is not the only one who will be missing school that day.  Children from her fifth grade class have also become ill and parents are calling to report the absences. The concerned principal of the school finds out the fifth grade class had a field trip to one of the local parks the day before. The case shows the areas visited by the class and provides discussion between the principal and a physician that teaches the readers about water quality and EPA standards for bacteria levels in recreational water. The case has an optional lab component that provides the theory for three methods that can be used to conduct microbial water analyses.  Procedures are included for teachers to lead a lab activity to test water to identify which location in the park caused the illness. This case study and accompanying laboratory activity are recommended for an environmental engineering course or a lower level science course.