Poster Presentation: How Does Water Pollution Affects Plant Growth

We wanted to test how water pollution affects plant growth by comparing distilled water and Flint water. Our project stemmed from the Flint Water Crisis. We hypothesized that the test containing clean water will grow better than the test containing dirty water. This is important because if our experiment stands by our hypothesis, then we could confirm that the Flint river water would negatively impact the growth of plants compared to plants watered with distilled water. A lot of Flint residents are forced by necessity to use the water, and it’s important to show the negative effects the water has on living organisms. We used 40 Wisconsin Fast Plants which were ideal for the project because it began growing days after planting and completed its life cycle in 28 days. We then split the plants into two equal groups and watered them in an identical manner using a pipette and a hydrated platform. For three weeks, we watered one group with distilled and one group with Flint ground and measured the plant growth every day. The distilled watered plants grew faster than the polluted watered plants, then the polluted watered plants started to grow faster. By process of elimination, we were able to determine that the natural minerals within the water contributed to the growth; however, the growth was stunted due to the heavy metals and other substances within the water. The distilled plants grew slowly because of the certain minerals and impurities it lacks due to filtration when it becomes purified. The distilled water ultimately achieved a taller height, reaching 15.2 cm, while the polluted watered plants have the highest average plant height from day to day, averaging 7.8 cm. What this could mean for people is if a child drinks Flint water, the effects would be worse than if an adult were to drink the water because when the polluted plants first grew it was stunted, but when they were bigger they proceeded normally.


  • Steven Brown, Student, Mott Community College
  • Jaquay Renfro, Student, Mott Community College