Kevin Dean Daniels

Kevin Daniels 1 Kevin Daniels Waterfall

I am currently a junior at Northern Arizona University and I am a double major pursuing a degree in Chemistry and Environmental Studies, with an emphasis on water systems. My professional aspiration is to work toward decreasing the overall amount of potable water that is consumed within our society by increasing the amount of reclaimed water that is used.

Research interests

Reclaimed water could potentially become a drinking water source as it is in places like Singapore. 

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The issue that I want to focus on is the organic chemicals that are left in reclaimed water which are supposed to be removed after waste water is treated. More specifically, I want to focus on one class of organic chemicals that typically remain in reclaimed water-endocrine disruptors. 

Kevin: endocrine system image


The endocrine system of an organism involves the glands and hormones of the body and coordinates bodily functions such as growth and reproduction.  Understanding how endocrine disruptors in reclaimed water affect the endocrine systems of organisms will allow us to see if, and to what extent, reclaimed water is harmful. If it is found that reclaimed water is not suitable for human consumption, I would like to work toward incorporating reclaimed water in large-scale irrigation projects.

In the United States, reclaimed water is already being used frequently for the irrigation of parks, ball fields, golf courses and crops. If reclaimed water was implemented as the primary source of irrigation within our society, our natural water resources would be less stressed along with the environments and wildlife that depend on them.

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Abstract

Morphological Differences between Fish from a Wastewater Effluent Pond Compared to a Reference Lake

Kevin D. Daniels, Melanie L. Schroer, Catherine R. Propper

The demand for and use of reclaimed wastewater effluent (WWE) is increasing globally. WWE exposure affects several aspects of the endocrine function in aquatic vertebrates. To test the effects of WWE on fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), we compared fish from a WWE pond to a reference lake receiving no WWE. Fish had significant morphological differences in body size, gonadal weight, and secondary sex characteristics between the study sites. Our study indicates that fathead minnows residing in reclaimed water may be influenced by exposure to chemicals in WWE.  Further studies across more sites will be necessary to determine whether these results are consistent; however, our results suggest that exposure to WWE affects the endocrine function in this model fish system, and that these animals act as an indicator species for environmental monitoring for potential exposure to environmental contaminants. 

Internship

Rincon Del Diablo Municipal Water District
May 2009 to January 2011

My interest in the natural environment was sparked by my work as an intern at a water district in San Diego, California. Through my work at the water district, I became aware of how truly limited water and other natural resources are. Growing up in a family that was constantly camping and fishing, I had always loved nature, but I was never taught how fragile our ecosystems are or the importance of living sustainably. While I was working at the water district, California’s water wars were at their worst and mandatory water rationing was going to be enforced due to over-consumption. After witnessing all of the turmoil that accompanied these water disagreements, I understood the severity of our water shortages and that our society simply cannot function in the future unless changes are made. Due to this, I was inspired to learn more about the natural world so I could further understand environmental issues, such as water shortages, and play an active part in alleviating these problems.