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Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently

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Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 13:16
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

Difficulty:

  75% (hard)

Question Stats:

53% (01:46) correct 47% (02:05) wrong based on 98 sessions

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Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently discovered a major problem with the adsorptive medium used in its treatment process. This medium helps remove iron and manganese from drinking water, but during the time that this part of the treatment process was not functional, residents suffered no adverse health effects. The insignificant outcome of this supposed disaster suggests that the presence of these minerals in drinking water is not as detrimental as watchdog groups would have us believe.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the columnist's argument?

A) No residents have fallen ill in other municipalities with similar problems with their adsorptive media.

B) The potassium permanganate added in a later step in the treatment process removes most of the iron and manganese from the water supply.

C) Because the municipal treatment plant is so small, it was exempted from disinfection requirements after meeting certain strict criteria.

D) The Commission of Environmental Quality is responsible for ensuring that the treatment processes in all municipal facilities are fully operational.

E) Because it was summer, most residents of Hoopton were away on vacation when the malfunction occurred.

Source:Ready4GMAT
Spoiler: :: Official Explanation
Before reading our answer choices, let's pinpoint the columnist's argument: It is in the final sentence, where she draws the conclusion that "the presence of these minerals in drinking water is not as detrimental" as some say, since the process malfunction had no major effects. Let's see which choice most undermines this line of reasoning.
Choice (A) would indirectly support it. Choice (B), though, weakens it: it offers an alternative explanation for the evidence used to support the conclusion. Choices (C) and (D) don't tell us anything about whether the minerals are dangerous, and (E) is likewise irrelevant.
The correct answer is Choice (B)

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Re: Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2019, 04:27
Quote:
Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently discovered a major problem with the adsorptive medium used in its treatment process. This medium helps remove iron and manganese from drinking water, but during the time that this part of the treatment process was not functional, residents suffered no adverse health effects. The insignificant outcome of this supposed disaster suggests that the presence of these minerals in drinking water is not as detrimental as watchdog groups would have us believe.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the columnist's argument?

A) No residents have fallen ill in other municipalities with similar problems with their adsorptive media.

B) The potassium permanganate added in a later step in the treatment process removes most of the iron and manganese from the water supply.

C) Because the municipal treatment plant is so small, it was exempted from disinfection requirements after meeting certain strict criteria.

D) The Commission of Environmental Quality is responsible for ensuring that the treatment processes in all municipal facilities are fully operational.

E) Because it was summer, most residents of Hoopton were away on vacation when the malfunction occurred.


The right answer here is B. Since this is a weaken question, our job is to first zero in on the conclusion and then identify what might make that conclusion less likely. In this case, the conclusion is "the presence of these minerals in drinking water is not as detrimental as watchdog groups would have us believe." The possible trap here is that you might interpret the conclusion to be that the adsorption medium is a waste of money.

A - If anything, this might even strengthen the conclusion that these chemicals are not a problem. OUT

B - If there's a later step that removes the iron and manganese, then it is NOT the case that they are not dangerous, it is simply that some other process is removing them. This still leads to the idea that the adsorption medium is not necessary, but it refutes the conclusion that iron and manganese don't have a negative impact. CORRECT

C - This tells us nothing about the effect of iron and manganese, and adds nothing new or relevant. OUT

D - This is completely irrelevant, so what if they are? OUT

E - This is a trap answer. If most people were away, it helps to explain why there weren't any major problems. It could weaken the idea that the adsorption medium is necessary. But it in NO way suggests anything about how these metals might affect the water, and is therefore OUT

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Re: Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 07:24
Quote:
Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently discovered a major problem with the absorptive medium used in its treatment process. This medium helps remove iron and manganese from drinking water, but during the time that this part of the treatment process was not functional, residents suffered no adverse health effects. The insignificant outcome of this supposed disaster suggests that the presence of these minerals in drinking water is not as detrimental as watchdog groups would have us believe.


Hi,
Lets break Columnist's argument.
Premise 1: Some municipal dept RECENTLY discovered a MAJOR problem with the absorptive medium.
Premise 2: THIS medium HELPS removing X & Y. BUT(trigger point) while this medium was not being used, resident suffered NO adverse health effects.
Conclusion: Presence of X & Y in drinking water is not as detrimental as groups believed.

The reason I have typed adjectives in upper case is because one should lay emphasis on them while reading. Second, trigger word showed act as an alarm because a significant information is about to be revealed which could change the course of the argument.

We are asked to weaken the columnist's argument.

How can we do this?

We could either show that X & Y are serious components (attacking the conclusion) OR present a new information, which would act like a premise, weakening the argument.

Quote:
A) No residents have fallen ill in other municipalities with similar problems with their absorptive media.


May be their absorptive media was of good quality. Loser

Quote:
B) The potassium permaganate added in a later step in the treatment process removes most of the iron and manganese from the water supply.


This is a new information saying that X & Y are removed from water by an alternative solution at a later stage. So the supplied water does not contain X & Y. This weakens/invalidates the author's argument. Contender

Quote:
C) Because the municipal treatment plant is so small, it was exempted from disinfection requirements after meeting certain strict criteria.


Still does not do anything to weaken the author's argument. Loser

Quote:
D) The Commission of Environmental Quality is responsible for ensuring that the treatment processes in all municipal facilities are fully operational.


Still does not do anything to weaken the author's argument. Loser

Quote:
E) Because it was summer, most residents of Hoopton were away on vacation when the malfunction occurred.


This is a trap answer choice. Fewer people to drink infected water, fewer people falling ill than the original population. But still does not weaken the author's argument. Loser

So, B is the only valid answer choice that weakens the author's argument.
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Re: Columnist: The Hoopton municipal water treatment plant recently   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2019, 07:24
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