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West Virginians join with citizens across Appalachia to test their water

By Debbie Rolen

July 19, 2013

Rock Creek, W. Va. – This Saturday, July 20, 2013, the Tadpole Project of Coal River Mountain Watch is hosting a day of water quality testing and education, trash cleanup and celebration on the Marsh Fork of the Coal River. The event is part of a regional water testing event called the “Big Dip Day.” Citizens across the coal-bearing regions of Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky will take water quality samples of their local streams on Saturday, July 20, in a coordinated effort to gain better understanding about water quality in Appalachia. “Big Dip Day” aims to increase water quality data collection and increase awareness of water quality issues in the region.


“Big Dip Day is an opportunity for local people to make an impact in their community,” says Erin Savage, a water quality specialist and regional event organizer with Appalachian Voices. “Nobody cares more about local water quality than the people who live near these streams and rivers, the people who rely directly on that water for drinking, watering their garden, as a place where their kids play, and more.”


The event is part of the newly launched Appalachian Citizens’ Enforcement (ACE) Project, a program of the Alliance forAppalachia. A variety of local, regional and national organizations are working together through the Alliance to end mountaintop removal coal mining and create a sustainable, just Appalachia. The ACE Project trains citizens to collect water quality data in their own communities and compiles and publicly displays data from around the region.


“Mountaintop removal is one of the biggest threats to water quality that we have in our area. The health of communities is intimately connected to the health of our streams,” said Debbie Jarrell, Co-Director of Coal River Mountain Watch. “We hope folks will come out on Saturday, learn about the river and what we need to do to protect it, and have fun.”


The data collection effort has focused on conductivity, a key indicator of water pollution from mining. Extensive studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and independent scientists have found a link between high conductivityand impaired aquatic ecosystems. Environmental and community organizations recently filed a formal petition with the EPA askingfor a rule limited conductivity pollution from mine sites. In addition to providing information to local community on the health of their streams, data collected by the ACE Project will be submitted to the EPA. Organizers hope that these efforts will encourage more citizens to get involved in protecting the water in their communities.


Citizens will meet up at 11 a.m. at the old Girl Scout camp near Jarrell’s Bottom in Rock Creek. Contact Coal River Mountain Watch for more details at 304-854-2182 or online at coalriver@crmw.net.


To learn more about the Tadpole Project visit: www.crmw.net/projects/tadpole-project.php


To learn more about the ACE Project and view the data visit: www.ace-project.org