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UNL Extension in Lancaster County

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Garbology Experiment

Can You Guess It??

This photo was featured in the February 2011 NEBLINE Newsletter

February Can You Guess It?? Photo

ANSWER: Water with red food coloring leaching down into sand.


"Make Your Own Dump and Landfill" is one of the hands-on science activities in the Lancaster County 4-H Garbology School Enrichment program for 2nd graders. This activity demonstrates how waste can pollute water even when the waste is not put directly in water.

You can do this activity: Place a mound of sand in a clear bowl. Drop food coloring onto the mound of sand. The food coloring represents pollutants in waste. Sprinkle water over the mound of sand to represent rain or snow. Be sure to add lots of water. Notice how the pollution (food coloring) drains off (into rivers) or seeps into the ground and pollutes the water. You may want to try this again, except make an indentation in your mound of soil and line it with plastic. This shows how sanitary landfills prevent leaching of materials into the groundwater. This shows the difference between a dump and a landfill.

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