Seventh-grader Kenley Nakao used a tip from his dad, Dwight, wastewater from the family washing machine and some trays of grass to ask the question, "Recycling Graywater: Can lawns tolerate it?"
The answer is yes, with water from the rinse cycle working best.
For that experiment, Nakao won the top junior division award in the 51st Maui Schools' Science and Engineering Fair held Thursday at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Maui High School juniors Michael Flynn (right) and Taylor Nakamura explain their project titled “Muon Partical Detection at Elevation” on Thursday during the Maui Schools’ 51st Annual Science and Engineering Fair at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Iao Intermediate School 7th-grader Kenley Nakao, 12, explains his Science Fair project to Wailuku engineer Ronald Fukumoto Thursday. Nakao studied the use of “gray-water” as an irrigation source.
The senior division was won by Michael Flynn and Taylor Nakamura, both 11th graders at Maui High School, for a project called "Muon Particle Detection at Elevation." There were 125 entrants from Iao, Lahaina and Maui Waena intermediate schools; Molokai Middle School; and Baldwin, King Kekaulike, Lahainaluna and Maui high schools and Seabury Hall.
Kenley, who was in his first science fair, says his father, who formerly worked for the state Department of Health, "gave me a direction" about a project but did not help him design his experiment. For that he did his own reading and sought advice from a Web site called Sciencebuddies.com.
He also learned that the Department of Health is dubious about using graywater, and that there are good reasons not to use it for vegetables. "It can discolor them," he said.
MAUI SCHOOLS' SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FAIR 2009-10 RESULTS
TOP SENIOR DIVISION AWARD: "Muon Particle Detection at Elevation," Michael Flynn and Taylor Nakamura, grade 11, Maui High School.
TOP JUNIOR DIVISION AWARD: "Recycling Graywater: Can Lawns Tolerate It?" Kenley Nakao, grade 7, Iao Intermediate School.
MERIT AWARD WINNERS:
- 1. "Muon Particle Detection at Elevation," Michael Flynn and Taylor Nakamura, Maui.
- 2. "Differences in Driver's Reaction," Kristine Felix, grade 10, Baldwin High School.
- 3. "Recycling Graywater: Can Lawns Tolerate It?" Kenley Nakao, Iao.
- 4. "A Study of the Electrical Production of Microbial Fuel Cells," William Summers, grade 7, Iao.
- 5. "Life on Mars," Moriah Jenkins, grade 10, Molokai High School.
- 6. "Frictionless Floating Train: Transportation of the Future," Thomas Sturm, grade 7, Iao.
- 7. "Oscillating Water Shape Efficiency," Janelle You, grade 10, Baldwin.
- 8. "Vertical Gardening," Nathan McMullen, grade 10, Baldwin.
- 9. "Kiawe Ash Effect on Plant Growth," Michael Kikukawa and Michael Onofrio, grade 9, Molokai.
- "Propellers Types and Energy Generation," Caitlyn Faust and Brynne Johnson, grade 10, Lahainaluna High School.
- "Effects of Papaya Latex on Staphylococcus epidermitis, Scott Fukuoka, grade 10, Baldwin.
- "What Do Open Water Cold-Blooded Aquatic Vertebrates Eat and How Does the Size and Weight Affect their Prey Selection?" Cody Furomoto, grade 7, Iao.
- "Biodiesel from Vegetable Oils," Emily Murai and Michele Saiki, grade 11, Baldwin.
- "A Bird's Opinion," Sidra Jabbar, grade 10, Baldwin.
- "Keep Away Snails!" Rachel Hasegawa and Sharon Nakama, grade 10, Baldwin.
- "The Efficiency of Solar Distillation as a Desalination," Kilo Ka'awa-Gonsalves, grade 8, Molokai Middle School.
- "What is the Affect of Air Pressure on Collision of Liquid Containers Using the Bernoulli's Principle?" Haoran Deng, grade 7, Iao.
- "Does Organic Fertilizer Produce Better Plant Growth Than Inorganic?" Erin Murashige, grade 7, Iao.
- "Does Color Affect the Angle of Refraction in Jello?" McKayla Wandell, grade 7, Iao.
- "Ethanol Production Olympia," Seo Yeon Orite and Eunice Park, grade 10, Baldwin.
- "Wow! You Have a Big Footprint!" Chelsea Parado and Cherry-Anne Parubrub, grade 11, Baldwin.
- Masonic Lodge Award: William Summers, Iao, "A Study of the Electrical Production of Microbial Fuel Cells."
- Maui Electric Award, Senior: Marley Flowers and Veronica Freeman, grade 10, King Kekaulike High School, "Constructing a Better Windmill."
- Maui Electric Award, Junior: Seanna Yoshioka, grade 8, Iao, "Which Type of Light Bulb is the Most Cost Effective?"
- Monsanto Hawaii: Nathan McMullen, Baldwin, "Vertical Gardening."
- American Meteorological Society: Janelle You, Baldwin, "Oscillating Water Shape Efficiency."
- American Psychological Association: Sarita Bhattacharya, grade 10, Baldwin, "The Differences in Stereotypes Held by Children."
- ASM Materials Education Foundation: Lana Kawauchi, grade 7, Iao, "Can Natural Materials Pick Up Oil as Effectively as Synthetic?"
- Association for Women Geoscientists: Dohna Bicoy and Larriley Rawlins, grade 11, Molokai, "Soil Erosion: Gravel vs. Soil."
- Intel Excellence in Computer Science: Justin Nagura and Tyson Omura, grade 11, King Kekaulike, "A Test of the Average Person's Ability to Break an Encrypted Code."
- Mu Alpha Theta: Kiara Galicinao, grade 10, Lahainaluna, "Finding Mathematical Relationships in Nature."
- National Society of Professional Engineers: Janelle You, Baldwin, "Oscillating Water Shape Efficiency."
- NOAA: Paul Parker, grade 8. Molokai Middle School, "Soil Erosion, Reef Pollution Prevention."
- Ricoh: Kilo Ka`awa-Gonzales, Molokai Middle, "The Efficiency of Solar Distillation as a Desalination Technique."
- Society for In Vitro Biology: Carly DelaCruz and Brytne Okuhata, grade 11, King Kekaulike, "Is It Worth It to Buy Locally Grown Foods?"
- Stockholm Junior Water Prize: Nickolas Diehl, Joshua Gaastra and Joshua Scott, grade 10, Lahainaluna, "Golf Course & Agricultural Farms Polluting West Maui Water."
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Kristine Felix, Baldwin, "Differences in Driver's Reaction."
- U.S. Metric Association: Emily Murai andMichele Saiki, Baldwin, "Biodiesel From Vegetable Oils."
- Yale Science & Engineering Association Inc.: Michael Flynn and Taylor Nakamura, Maui, "Muon Particle Detection at Elevation."
Graywater is used domestic water but not sewage.
In some jurisdictions, but not Hawaii, it is approved for use, without treatment, for nonpotable purposes. "It is pretty great for ground covers and for irrigation," Kenley decided.
"Maui should use it," he said.
The research question was, would the things added to laundry water borax, sodium and bleach help grass grow better?
To determine this, Kenley unhooked the hose on the family washing machine and collected effluent for six weeks in October and November.
He set up three trays of grass and watered and measured their growth every day.
The results (in centimeters) were that grass grown with rinse water grew to 8.7 centimeters (about nine inches). Grass watered with the first rinse water grew to 8.1 centimeters, and grass irrigated with county domestic water grew to 7.0 centimeters.
Kenley, who is a student at Iao Intermediate School, hypothesized that the rinse water, which is diluted with domestic water more than the first rinse water, provided a more useful level of nutrients.
Kenley and the other winners will compete at the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair April 5-7 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. Flynn and Nakamura also will compete at the Intel International Science & Engineeering Fair May 9-14 in San Jose, Calif.
Sponsors of the fair were A&B Foundation, the Hawaii Academy of Science, The Boeing Co., Longs Drugs, the Maui Masonic Lodge, Maui Economic Development Board, Maui Electric Co. and Monsanto.
* Harry Eagar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.