Water Quality Monitoring Joint Venture
The District in cooperation with the USGS and the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team have implemented a project that has installed instream data loggers at selected locations in Somerset County's watersheds. These data loggers monitor water temperature, water level and conductivity and record readings every ten minutes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The USGS is also retrofitting their existing stations in the county to monitor the same parameters. District staff downloads the information approximately every two weeks from the data loggers, which will eventually be entered into an online database. Initial funding for this project has been secured from local watershed groups and sportsmen's clubs. Additional funding has been secured from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee funds allotted to the District. The project is an early warning system that will be utilized by the district to notify enforcement agencies such as the PA DEP and PA Fish & Boat Commission if elevated levels of conductivity (converted into TDS) are detected. Water contamination from Marcellus Shale well drilling as well as mine drainage often increase TDS levels, which can cause long-term degradation to aquatic ecosystems.