Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011WV165B

WRI-119 Phase 2 Year 1: Mon River Water Quality Study

Institute: West Virginia
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2010-03-11 End Date: 2012-02-12
Total Federal Funds: $46,343 Total Non-Federal Funds: $92,688

Principal Investigators: Paul Ziemkiewicz, Ben Mack, Melissa O'Neal, Dave Saville, Tamara Vandivort

Abstract: The Monongahela River has been impacted by acid mine drainage from flooded underground coal mines and episodes of high total dissolved solids (TDS). Previous studies at the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) have included the development of a watershed based monitoring program, which serves as the basis for the proposed TDS Monitoring of the Monongahela River Watershed project. Building upon the current model will allow WVWRI to seamlessly continue monitoring of the Monongahela and several of its tributaries. The foundation has been laid for a dynamic and user friendly Graphical Information System (GIS) mapping and data visualization. An established website (http://www.MonWQ.net) will be enhanced upon by providing users with the ability to create on the fly graphs of all of the analytical and field parameters. 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. For consistency, and to provide long-term data, the previously established sixteen sites (four mainstem Monongahela and twelve tributaries) will remain in the proposed sampling regime. An additional datalogger will be installed in effort to determine accurate discharge rates on Dunkard Creek. This proposal will take us one step further towards complete and accurate watershed monitoring. Monitoring the water column chemistry and flow rates of the tributaries to the mainstem Monongahela provides useful information regarding not only the health of those tributaries, but their contribution to the overall water quality in the Monongahela River. The bi-weekly sampling regime that has been established for the base Monongahela River Watershed study will continue, as samples will be collected at each site for analytical laboratory analysis for: alkalinity, sulfate, calcium, chloride, sodium, and magnesium. Field parameters (pH, conductivity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen) will also be recorded at each site. 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, Upper Mon River Association, industry, and others.