Students at Foster Middle School visited with local water experts as part of a campuswide project Monday morning.

The gifted and talented students spoke with experts from the city of Longview, Tryon Road Special Utility District, Eastman Chemical Co.-Texas Operations, Longview ISD and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

After general introductions, the students were divided into smaller groups, and panelists rotated to the classrooms for about 20 minutes of discussion as part of project-based learning assignments happening across the district.

James Hardin, water quality supervisor for the city of Longview, spoke with an eighth-grade class about how his department makes sure water is clean.

He told the students water is pulled from the Sabine River, Lake Cherokee and Lake O’ the Pines for the area.

Hardin’s department works to detach items such as carbon, dirt and bacteria from water, he said.

Gabbi Nguyen, 14, said the students were assigned a project about water, and they had to do in-depth research to find their specific topic.

Gabbi’s group chose water infrastructure.

“While we were doing research, we found there is poor infrastructure all over Texas,” she said. “Certain areas like northwest of Texas are almost out of water.”

Her group is working on figuring out more stable water sources and transportation, she said.

Celeste Johnston, 14, said her groups is researching oil fields.

“They use a lot of fresh water and mix it with other chemicals to get their oil pumping,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out how we can get distilled salt water so they can use distilled salt water so they don’t use all of our fresh water, because it’s going to run out.”

Celeste said part of her group’s problem-solving is figuring out how to distill the salt water for oil companies, because regular salt water will rust the drills.

The panelists allowed the students to obtain better sources and direct answers, Gabbi said. While researching, they found some of the websites were outdated. The panelists helped the students get current information to use in their projects, they said.