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Worldly Water

A Russian scholar studies Memphis water.

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Memphis has some of the highest-quality groundwater in the world. It's so good, in fact, that a scholar from the Republic of Moldova has come here to research our system in hopes of improving groundwater resources in his own country.

Dr. Constantin Moraru, head of the geohydrology laboratory of the Institute of Geophysics and Geology in the Republic of Moldova, will stay in Memphis through April while he studies at the Ground Water Institute at the University of Memphis. Moraru is part of the Fulbright Scholar Program, which provides grants for scholars from other countries to study in the U.S.

"I chose this area because the geological and hydrological conditions are similar to the conditions in my country," said Moraru. "In my country, we have a lot of problems with the drinking water supply, and I know there's a good experience here to learn about protecting water used for human consumption."

Since Moldova's economy is largely driven by agriculture, the groundwater has been polluted by excessive use of pesticides, including DDT. Water from public-supply wells also contains high levels of selenium.

Moraru is studying the Memphis aquifer, the deep sand aquifer layer that provides and filters water for much of the Mid-South, and he'll compare that system with Moldova's. According to Jerry Anderson, director of U of M's Ground Water Institute, Memphis has some of the best drinking water in the world because it goes through a natural sand-filtration process.

"We treat our water very little to make it drinkable," said Anderson. "As a matter of fact, it's so clean that I wouldn't be afraid to drink it straight from the aquifer system."

Anderson said Moraru is the first foreign scholar to study the Memphis ground water system.

"He realized the opportunities here and requested to be sent here," said Anderson. "We're happy to get to host him, and we're honored that he chose Memphis."

E-mail: bphillips@memphisflyer.com

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