Friday, April 8, 2016

Potter County: Groundwater Monitoring Project Moving Forward

Work continues on an ambitious plan to install a real-time groundwater quality monitoring network on all public water systems in Potter County. A U.S. Geological Survey representative attended the recent Triple Divide Watershed Coalition meeting to reaffirm USGS’s commitment to work with local partners for installation of the monitors. They would establish a baseline quality snapshot, track changes in conductivity and temperature, sound an early warning in the event of any contamination, and create a permanent history of water quality. Coudersport Borough Authority has expressed an interest in participating. John Clune, supervisory hydrologist at the USGS regional office in Williamsport, said he’ll contact borough officials to work out details. Coalition members discussed options for bringing other public water suppliers into the USGS monitoring network.
In other business, the coalition:
  • heard that new regulations for the monitoring of total coliform in public water systems took effect on April 1.
  • learned that the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection is committed to requiring that recharge areas for public water systems be included in DEP permit reviews. The proposal originated with the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition and gained statewide support.
  • reported that John McLaughlin, Jim Clark, Paul Heimel and Jason Childs are working on a grant application to be submitted to the Healthy Watershed Consortium. Funds would be used to contract with a watershed coordinator, update each public water system’s sourcewater plans, and establish forested riparian buffers along the Susquehanna River drainage basin.
  • set the next coalition meeting for May 11.
Attending were water system representatives Darrell Davis (Genesee), John Oliver (Austin), Tina Bennett (Gaines), Gareth Gockley (Coudersport), Melvin Blake (Cole Hospital), Shawn Metcalf (Shinglehouse). Also in attendance were Potter County Commissioners Paul Heimel and Doug Morley; Penn State Extension hydrogeologist Dave Yoxtheimer; Coudersport Borough Manager Beverly Morris; Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection geologist Mark Stephens; Potter County Planning/GIS Director Will Hunt; Alex Vito from the Potter County Conservation District; and Triple Divide Watershed Coalition chairman John McLaughlin.