Keeping water clean is a community “high-tech” venture in eastern panhandle

West Virginia

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition is making cleam water a community project by connecting the eastern panhandle to online water monitoring resources.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Some conservation-minded citizens in the eastern panhandle are taking the protection of the water supply “high-tech.”

Eastern panhandle residents can now have a hand in how to keep their water clean and safe.
It’s a new digital tool to protect the local watersheds, a way to track pollutants that may be discharged into streams contaminating the waters. With this technology, anyone in the region can protect the water supply.

Says Rebecca Russell, Martinsburg city storm-water technician, “we’re trying to connect residents in three counties — Berkeley, Jefferson & Morgan – to get with their watershed group.”

To Jason Tomlin, storm-water coordinator for the City of Martinsburg, citizens now have the same access to water quality assessment as their municipality, for example, and can engage in projects like streamside cleanups and tree plantings to safeguard water quality.

“Our goal,” says Tomlin, “is to regulate any sort of pollutants going into the stream.”

It takes a community effort says Tanner Haid with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. Those who especially appreciate recreational opportunities on the water — kayaking, fishing, and swimming — see the importance of citizen’s involvement in watershed protection.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” says Haid. “There’s a lot of exceptional streams in the eastern panhandle and we have eight very active local watershed groups, engaged citizens that are working together with their neighbors, their friends, and their families trying to keep those streams clean.”

And the Rivers Coalition coordinates with other groups in the region to be sure waterways meet federal clean water act standards.

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