Blue Water Task Force, Partnerships, Youth, Water Quality
November 26 2013

Blue Water Task Force Water Testing with VW’s New XL1

by Alexa Ward

As part of Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force, the South Bay Chapter’s Teach and Test program, now in its 9th year, aims to raise awareness and improve ocean water quality in cities from El Segundo to Palos Verdes.Throughout the year, Surfrider leaders oversee local high school students in the collection and testing of water samples throughout the region.  Samples are taken at 19 different locations, stretching from the Ballona Creek wetlands, in the north, to Malaga Creek Outlet, in the south.  Once collected, the samples are placed in water coolers and immediately transported to the Algalita Research Lab (located at the SEALab) in Redondo Beach. Here at the SEALab, experienced lab technicians oversee students in conducting water quality tests, which require over 24 hours to allow the bacteria to cultivate. After 24 hours in an an oven, the water sample is then ready to be examined. The tray is placed under UV light, making the bacteria-rich cells visible to the naked eye. Results are then recorded and immediately updated on the BWTF website: This information is then shared with local City and County governments in hopes of improving water quality in the entire South Bay Region.

On Sunday, November 17th, the South Bay Teach and Test students were in for a treat.  To show their support for Surfrider Foundation’s Clean Water Program, Volkswagen of America, Inc., — who has been a huge supporter of Surfrider — debuted their new XL1, the world's most efficient automobile.  The XL1 and Volkswagen team visited a number of the Teach and Test locations throughout the South Bay and transported water samples back to the testing facility at the SEALab.  South Bay students and chapter activists were thrilled to check out the new XL1 and learn more about Volkswagen’s Think Blue efforts, that encourage more ecoconscious behavior, contributing to a sustainable future.  Through their Think Blue program and partnership with Surfrider Foundation, Volkswagen is helping to protect our oceans and waterways for years to come.