Student's project aims to clean dirty water

TULSA -- A Cascia Hall student is gaining international attention after creating a water purification system he says will change environmental cleanup.

It started in Colorado during a backpacking trip with his family. Braden Milford noticed the creeks running orange and red.

"It’s visually stunning so I started doing research why does the water look this way," said Braden Milford, a senior at Cascia Hall.

He researched the amount of heavy metals in the water streams which sparked the idea for his project.

"The more and more I get into it the more and more passion I am about it so I keep going further and further," said Milford.

Milford created a bead substance that stores algae and bacteria inside. The bacteria he chose can survive in heavy metal concentrations. The bacteria sucks in the metal, which is kept inside the bead.

"Those beads with the different types of bacteria removed over 80 percent of the heavy metal concentration," said Milford.

The cost, he says, isn't bad either.

"In some of my testing I made 600 beads and it costs less than ten dollars to make," said Milford.

The project got international recognition. The Cascia Hall senior went to Sweden with his teacher for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition.

"He’s onto something, and it might just be a solution," said Sally Fenska, Milford's AP Biology, Chemistry, and Science Research teacher.

Milford says he believes it could change environmental cleanup and wants to develop the system to not only clear the water from metals, but substances from oil spills or chemotherapy runoff.

"To see the passion that they try to instill in their students right in front of your eyes being explained to somebody else, I won’t forget that moment," said Fenska.

The 17-year-old has a provisional patent pending for this system, and hopes to continue his research with proper funding.

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