Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019WV274B

WRI 264 Upper Ohio River Basin data analysis and reporting

Institute: West Virginia
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $41,307

Principal Investigators: Benjamin Pursglove

Abstract: USGS 104b seed funding received in 2009 by the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) provided the launch for water quality monitoring and management in the Monongahela River. By 2012, This successful program expanded to become 3 Rivers QUEST (3RQ), a partnership including Duquesne University and Wheeling Jesuit University to monitor the Allegheny and upper Ohio Rivers. A sampling network of 54 sampling stations was established including the mainstems of the three rivers and their major tributaries. To date, over 5,700 (1,618 Allegheny; 1,252 Ohio; 2,920 Monongahela) samples have been collected and analyzed. This data set has already been used by Industry, USEPA R3, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to develop a discharge management program for coal mines that resulted in a CWA sec. 303 delisting of the upper Monongahela River for TDS and sulfate. The upper Ohio River basin has been heavily developed for shale gas production with implications for public health due to increasing halogen (Cl, Br) inputs to municipal source waters. Utilizing our existing 3RQ data, we plan to conduct a mass balance analysis on halogens to in the basin to examine: 1) sources of halogens in surface waters; 2) the rate of dilution as halogens are transported downstream; 3) identify factors controlling stream concentrations; and 4) complete a 10-year report on the Monongahela and 5year report for the Upper Ohio River Basin. While the 3RQ team looks closely at monthly site data for trends and anomalies within their watersheds, there is a need for full data review to explore the entire Upper Ohio River Basin dataset to identify the transport and fate of halogens in our surface waters. Understanding more about the quality of our surface waters as they relate to the intakes of our municipal water treatment plants has a direct benefit to improving public health. In addition to the submission of articles for peer-reviewed journal publication, the creation of a 5-year Upper Ohio River Basin Report and 10-year Monongahela River Basin Report will aid in communicating the health of our waterways with the public.