Tynion IV (w) Dialynas (a)
The Woods is a new series about a school that, somehow, finds itself teleported into an alien world or another dimension. As you can see from the panel above, a disgruntled student is starting to demand things. The chemistry teacher, Coach Clay, gets the brunt of it as she requests the water to be tested.
1.) What is considered safe drinking water?
2.) How is the water tested?
3.) Would a stranded chemistry teacher have these materials?
1.) http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/#two This is a link to the EPA's site on a plethora of contaminants and what their levels should be at or below to have safe drinking water. Note that MCL is maximum contaminant level and the units used is mg/L which is ppm or parts per million. ppm is a common unit used for contaminants, this means for every one atom/molecule of the contaminant there's a million molecules of solution. This may not seem like much but, it does not take a lot for some more dangerous contaminants to harm you.
2.) Personally, I have tested well water for the Kentucky Geological Survey to check water quality. The sampling process is very simple; a few bottles of water with one containing a small amount of acid to keep the metals in sustained in solution till testing. Some bottles are tested for biological contaminants and some are prepped and tested for metal and non-mental contaminants. To get a complete look at the water testing for oxygen content is necessary as well as nitrates, nitrites, different bacteria and many other parameters. Now, how are these things tested? I used an ICP (inductively coupled plasma) this is basically a big machine that takes a water sample and heats it up to the point that metals are all in an excited state so it can read the levels of the metals in the sample. Now, that's just for determining the metal content. Nitrates and nitrites need to undergo titration is, which can be a lengthy process. Bacteria need to be cultured and there are even more possible steps to determining other contaminants. This can be a very lengthy process. Here is a link to the EPA for more water quality knowledge:
3.) The all important question of can all this be done in a high school. Overall, Yes. The high school should have chemicals to be able to test for nearly all of the contaminants. The high school won't have high tech instruments, like I used but there are old ways to do things that are just as good; they just take a very long time and a lot of samples and chemicals. All the metals can be precipitated out in some way. There should be petri dishes to grow cultures on for bacteria and class ware to do titrations for nitrates.
Considering that the school may be in an alternate dimension, it would seem likely that there may be unforeseen contaminants because they will not know to look for them. So, the chances of the water quality being poison and not knowing if, even after testing, should be high. I would not want to be in this chemistry teachers shoes!