Local Citizens Step Up To Help Protect Their Waterways

On Saturday, July 7th, Mountain Watershed Association worked with ALLARM (Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring) to host a Shale Gas Water Quality Monitoring workshop at the Blythedale Firehall in Elizabeth Township. Volunteers from the surrounding communities gathered to learn how to monitor their local waterways for potential shale gas related pollution. Nearly 20 community members dedicated their time to learn how to properly use water monitoring equipment so that they could recognize, record, and report major pollution events.

During the workshop, members of ALLARM presented information about the history of shale rock formations in Pennsylvania to help volunteers better understand the natural gas boom our region has experienced in recent years. Information was also presented about the hydraulic fracturing process itself in order to explain the potential ways this extraction technique could cause pollution. Then volunteers learned about sampling techniques, safety precautions, and common indicators of pollution. To end the workshop, all the volunteers participated in a hands-on activity that allowed them to use water monitoring equipment and feel confident in their ability to gather and record accurate readings.       

Volunteers worked together to choose the streams and rivers they considered to be most threatened by shale gas extraction in their area, and many committed to taking chemical readings and visual observations on a weekly or monthly basis. Thanks to grants obtained through Mountain Watershed Association’s Direct Support Fund, ALLARM was able to loan water monitoring equipment to all volunteers who committed to regularly testing at-risk waterways. As a result of the training provided by ALLARM, these community members now have the equipment and knowledge necessary to recognize and report threats to their local waterways.    

If you are interested in learning more about ALLARM or having a training in your community, please feel free to reach out to Ashley Funk at ashley@mtwatershed.com or 724-455-4200×6#.