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EPA Equipment for Communities Helps Advance Goals of World Water Monitoring Day

Release Date: 10/18/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner (rosner.sheryl@epa.gov), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2005; Release # sr051013

(BOSTON) - As part of the international celebration of World Water Monitoring Day, the non-profit Charles River Watershed Association this morning collected samples from 35 sites along the Charles River. Also as part of today’s celebration, EPA announced it will begin a program to loan water monitoring equipment to citizen groups in New England so that others can participate and help collect water quality data. EPA has been a sponsor of the 10-year-old Charles River program since its beginnings.

Water monitoring by volunteer groups provides important data that is used by all New England states and EPA in assessing water quality conditions of lakes, rivers, coastal waterways and estuaries. Groups that are involved in water quality monitoring have been successful in raising awareness of local water quality problems often due to failing septic systems, illicit discharges of sanitary sewerage, and stormwater runoff.

“World Water Monitoring Day gives citizens a chance to think globally and act locally by giving those who protect our water useful data about water quality,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “And now, EPA is funding local groups with a new equipment loan program to further these efforts.”

"EPA's Water World Monitoring Day is an important day for the Charles River Watershed Association,” said Robert Zimmerman, executive director of CRWA. “It reinforces the need to increase public awareness about water resource protection and encourages people to become stewards of the local waterways. CRWA has been monitoring the Charles River on a monthly basis since 1995, taking samples from 37 sites along river. Our water sampling volunteers were out on the river on World Water Monitoring Day tracking the condition of the water and celebrating the importance of a cleaner Charles River watershed."

In addition to discussing local World Monitoring Day events in New England, EPA announced a new equipment loan program to support volunteer water monitoring in New England. The equipment will help citizen groups as they expand and improve water quality data collection, by measuring dissolved oxygen, nutrients, bacteria, and other parameters. The groups will then be required to submit data to EPA that will be used by regulatory agencies and water quality experts. The long-term loan program will be available to qualified groups this winter.

The equipment loan program will also help states expand participation of citizens in gathering important data about surface waters, by encouraging students and citizens to become stewards of their local waterways. It is critical for environmental agencies to take advantage of environmental data generated by others in order to help provide information about the effectiveness of water protection efforts.

Today marks the official date for the annual World Water Monitoring Day, an initiative cosponsored by EPA, the Clean Water Foundation and the International Water Association, to urge people around the world to test the quality of their streams, lakes, wetlands, and coastal waters.

During World Water Monitoring Day, volunteers of all ages perform four tests to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity/clarity and temperature. Findings are then loaded to an internet web page, which, in turn, provides a resource to individuals and institutions interested in clean water.

To celebrate World Water Monitoring Day, 70 volunteers from the Charles River Watershed Association to collect samples along the 80-mile river stretching from Milford to Boston. Two of the 35 sites are located on tributaries - the Stop River and the Muddy River.

Volunteers and association staff collect samples every month on the third Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and EPA New England provide pro-bono laboratory analyses. Samples are analyzed for e.coli and fecal coliform bacteria. The water temperature and river depth are also measured. EPA uses the monthly data for its annual Charles River Report Card.

Information on EPA’s Charles River Report Card is at: http://www.epa.gov/ne/charles2005/index.html. Information about EPA’s future equipment loan program will be posted at: http://www.epa.gov/ne/lab .

Additional information is available from America's Clean Water Foundation at http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org. Click icon for EPA disclaimer.

For more information about Charles River Watershed Association, go to http://www.charlesriver.org/water_quality/monthly/monthly.html Click icon for EPA disclaimer.

Related Information:
Water Monitoring Day
Water Topics
New England Regional Laboratory
EPA NE Water Monitoring