Posts Tagged ‘Water Quality’

New Drilling Methods of the Marcellus Shale Maybe Possible in Chemung County, NY

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Read the NY TIMES article HERE. New York State is pending new rules for the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Trenton Black River rock formation in Chemung County is an area where companies have been drilling for natural gas and may now experience an increase in gas production if the new rules are approved. The danger for humans is in the possible contamination of drinking water but there are environmental impacts as well such as ecosystem disruption and the use of millions of gallons of water per each drilling well. A lawsuit was filed for contaminated drinking water in Chemung County, but the New York Department of Environmental Conservation found that it was unlikely that the gas wells caused methane contamination of the water wells. Navarro, Mireya. “In Drilling Safety Debate, Hydrofracking’s Not the Only Target”. The New York Times. 28 December, 2011. Meghan Karlik Project Manager IMRivers.com mkarlik@vertices.com

Washington Sewage Treatment Plant Nominated as A “Top Ten Green Project”

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The American Institute of Architects has recognized the unique LOTT Clean Water Alliance Water Treatment Plant in Olympia, Washington as one of the “Top Ten Green Projects” of 2011.  It is unlike most sewage treatment plants by the fact that instead of being separated from the local community, it is meant to actively engage the public through its “WET Center” (Water Educational and Technology Center).  The treatment plant provides Class A reclaimed water which is “wastewater that has been treated to higher standards and can therefore be used for irrigation, toilet flushing, and industrial and manufacturing uses.” (Miller Hull).  The building uses reclaimed water for its indoor plumbing needs, to fill the man-made ponds which give aesthetic value to the building, and to irrigate the landscape around the building and on its green roof.  The pond’s perimeter is surrounded by multiple interpretive exhibits that explain the pond and reclaimed water. Photo: Millerhull.com Sources: Miler Hull and The American Institute of Architects Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern

The Importance of Managing Stormwater

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The Massachusetts River Alliance is supporting an EPA stormwater permit draft which will help improve health of Massachusetts waterways, through better treatment and management of stormwater.  Why stormwater? Stormwater is a huge source of pollution to our waterways; water that falls on impervious surfaces flows through our built environment (where it picks up pollution such as oil, fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, solid waste,and other pollutants), to storm drains, and out to rivers and lakes.   This Stormwater General Permit Draft will “regulate storm water discharges in small Massachusetts communities with separate storm sewer systems (known as “MS4s”)”.  Stormwater should be a major concern in improving the health of our streams, lakes, and rivers because:
“Although nonpoint source pollution (pollution from diffuse sources like run-off) has been recognized for decades as a major water quality problem, until recently our efforts have focused on point sources like sewage plant discharge pipes. However, nonpoint sources, generally from stormwater, produce as much as half the pollutants in our surface and ground water.” (Association of NJ Environmental Commissions)
Sources: Massachusetts River Alliance and ANJEC
Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern

Monitoring and Mapping Storm Water Outfalls on the Raritan River

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Here at IM Rivers we have been working on a new project to protect our local river upon which Rutgers University was built; the Raritan River.  It is a heavily polluted river, but by taking initiative we hope to clean it up so everybody can enjoy its beauty.  After obtaining a GIS shapefile from the Middlesex County Planning Department of outfalls in the county, which I told was a complete database of all storm water outfalls, I noticed that the pipes that I see everyday as part of the Rutgers Crew team were not included in this database.  This motivated us to map them ourselves, which we have just begun.  In our Interactive Map, you can see both the outfalls in the Middlesex County database and the outfalls that we have begun to map on the Raritan River.  In a very short amount of time we were able to map over 25 outfalls which were not in the Planning Departments database!  A special thanks to Rutgers Crew Coach Jon Stephanik for his time and efforts helping us with this project.  Keep checking back to monitor our progress! Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern

Monitor Local Water

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Quality of water you use and consume can have huge effects upon your health.  Water can be polluted by many different sources, making local water unsafe for swimming, fishing, and consumption.  River Network noted that in some communities where they have been involved in water quality issues, “residents have been confronting high numbers of miscarriages, neurological problems, cancer and other disorders likely related to exposure to contamination.”  River Network has teamed up with TERC to create a guidebook to bring awareness to communities interested in the quality of their water.  This guide addresses watershed contamination issues and how monitoring can be done effectively. READ THE GUIDE HERE. Source: River Network Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern