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20 EARLY FALL 2017 // STEMJOBS.COM We often take the clean, safe water we drink, cook, and wash with for granted. But take a moment to imagine a life in which crystal clear water is not delivered straight to our homes, schools, and offices. How many hours of each of our days would be spent gathering, carrying, and purifying water for simple tasks like cooking and bathing? Chemists around the country work to test, purify, and improve the water we use every day—chemists like Lauren Weinrich. Lab work in ozone chemistry led Lauren to a career as an environmental scientist in the drinking water industry, a job in which she and her team in the Water Research and Development Group at American Water work to overcome the challenges of protecting public health and providing communities with clean water. Lauren is one of a diverse group of chemists, scientists, and engineers at American Water, which serves an estimated 15 million people in more than 1,500 communities. She is responsible for coordinating the company's laboratory efforts and sampling for its research projects valued at an estimated $500,000. "As a researcher, I have the ability to develop new methods. In our lab, we investigate better treatment techniques for removing unhealthy or unwanted substances and improving operations to make drinking water safe," explains Lauren. She spends about 40 percent of her workday in the lab, where she measures organic content in drinking water and its sources. Lauren also spends time analyzing data and writing reports and journal articles, but takes time out of her office to talk with water treatment plant operators, present research at conferences, and continue her education. CHEMISTRY // LAUREN WEINRICH KEEPING OUR WATER SAFE The Chemistry of Clean Water BY SUE HAMILTON

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