A Water Quality Analyst (WQA) plays a critical role in testing water quality in a water system and ensuring the water is safe. For participants in Water First’s Drinking Water Internship Program, working towards WQA certification is a major milestone on the path to a career in water science.
The two-week WQA Workshop, hosted and facilitated by members of the Water First team, gives the interns a deep dive into this critical aspect of water safety.
Week One was an engaging and successful start to the workshop. After opening with a ceremony from Elder Don Syrtte from Batchewana (Rankin) First Nation on day one, the interns explored the fundamentals of atomic structures, elements, and compounds, as well as chemistry math, including concentration, molarity, molality, normality, and pH. They also had hands-on experience with acids and bases labs, pipettes, and calibrated glassware.
The week also included a lesson on microbiology, where interns tested various bacteriological samples and gained experience with a colilert presence/absence test and an HPC test. The use of interactive activities and small group work made the learning process fun and effective. The week concluded with a successful practice quiz, and interns did exceptionally well. Week One was a success thanks to the dedication and hard work of the facilitators and interns.
Week Two was a mix of intense studying, fun games, and a final exam that put everyone to the test. The interns had their eyes set on passing the Provincial Water Quality Analyst Exam, and they pulled out all the stops to make it happen.
Day one began with the return of Elder Don Syrtte, who led a smudge ceremony. From there, it was off to the races with a 50-question multiple choice quiz that challenged the interns’ knowledge of water quality analysis. Through the power of dot analysis, the group decided to focus on safety and legislation in the afternoon, and even squeezed in a few games to break up the intense studying. Shoutout to Nigel, who totally rocked the cookie challenge!
Over the next few days, the interns dug deep into water chemistry terms, learned how to read the periodic table, and reviewed disinfection methods like UV and filtration. They even played a game of Blooket followed by WQA Jeopardy to test their newfound knowledge. The week culminated with a 100-question practice quiz and a pizza party study session where the interns got to practice math questions and clarify any topics they still had questions about.
The best part of these two intense weeks? 80% of the interns passed the exam! This marks the highest pass rate to date since the start of the WQA workshops, which was a testament to the hard work and dedication of both the facilitators and interns.
Overall, the WQA Workshop was a resounding success, with the interns gaining valuable knowledge and skills, while having fun and building connections with their peers. It was a critical milestone on their path to a career in water science and will undoubtedly serve them well in their future endeavors.