State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2009WV127B
Title: (WRI-119) Development and Presentation of Current Water Quality Data for the Public
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Surface Water, Non Point Pollution
Keywords: Water Quality, Acid Mine Drainage, Total Dissolved Solids, Monitoring
Principal Investigators: Paul Ziemkiewicz; Mack, Ben; O'Neal, Melissa J.; Saville, Dave; Vandivort, Tamara
Federal Funds: $ 35,257
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 56,708
Abstract: The Monongahela River has been impacted by acid mine drainage from flooded underground coal mines and episodes of high total dissolved solids (TDS). In year one of this two-year project, the West Virginia Water Research Institute developed a comprehensive water quality monitoring and reporting mechanism for the Monongahela River. Twelve locations were selected for sampling including 4 sites on the main stem of the Monongahela River and at the mouths of 8 of its largest tributaries. Samples are collected every other week and analyzed in the laboratory. The analytical chemistry program includes a suite of acid mine drainage parameters (acidity, alkalinity, pH, specific conductivity, sulfate, iron, manganese, aluminum, calcium, magnesium) and dissolved metals (aluminum, iron, manganese, calcium, sodium, chloride, bromide, and total suspended solids). The resultant data is placed on an on-going basis in a useful and user-friendly manner on a website ( using a Geographic Information System database. The website includes a description of water quality parameters that are being analyzed, basic information on the Monongahela River Watershed, links to relevant websites, and a list of project participants.

An interactive database is being developed that will allow users to select date ranges and parameters to create "on the fly" graphs that will display the unique requests. Additionally, "Go Fish" articles provided by WV Division of Natural Resources and published by the Morgantown Dominion Post are available on the MonWQ fishing page. These weekly articles describe the current fishing conditions in the West Virginia portion of the Monongahela River Watershed. Statistical analysis will compare current water quality to historic conditions and determine a simple, user-friendly, color-coded ranking of the general health of the fishery in any given location. A map that displays color-coded ranking of the fishing success is under development and will provide users with a visual guide on the status of the Monongahela fishery. This will help anglers, for example, estimate fishing success on the Monongahela River and its tributaries. Besides providing this information in an easy to use format on a website, this information will also be presented in the Morgantown Dominion Post as part of the weekly "Go Fish (WV DNR)" articles.

In year 2, the tasks begun in year 1 will continue to completion. Four additional sampling locations will be added to the sampling regime in which samples are collected every two weeks and analyzed for acid mine drainage parameters and dissolved metals. These additional sites will capture a more complete representation of the water quality of the Monongahela River and its tributaries as well as potentially identifying sources of contamination. This project has the support of the West Virginia Advisory Committee for Water Research and stakeholders including the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, WV Department of Environmental Protection, WV Department of Natural Resources, WV Division of Health & Human Resources, West Virginia University Extension Service, industry, and others.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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