DEP applauds River Alert and Information Network for remote water quality monitoring system

PITTSBURGH, PA, Dec. 14, 2009 -- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director George Jugovic Jr. joined area water suppliers today to applaud the River Alert and Information Network for its latest effort to monitor water quality in the Monongahela River...

Dec 14th, 2009

• Water quality data available in near-real-time at www.3RAIN.org

PITTSBURGH, PA, Dec. 14, 2009 -- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director George Jugovic Jr. joined area water suppliers today to applaud the River Alert and Information Network for its latest effort to monitor water quality in the Monongahela River.

The network, also known as RAIN, today unveiled a system to monitor the water's pH level, conductivity and temperature at 11 remote locations along the Monongahela and its tributaries where high levels of total dissolved solids, or TDS, have been detected.

RAIN operates two additional water quality monitoring sites -- one each on the Allegheny River and on the Ohio River.

The near-real-time water quality monitoring data can be accessed at RAIN's Web site, www.3RAIN.org.

"RAIN illustrates what can be accomplished when government, business and academia partner to tackle difficult problems," Jugovic said. "The Monongahela River is an important resource for drinking water, job-creating industries, and recreationalists. RAIN's monitoring system will enable us to track the river's water quality and respond appropriately."

RAIN is a collaborative effort of 33 water utilities, three area universities (California University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh), the Riverside Center for Innovation, and DEP's Source Water Protection section.

DEP funded the purchase and set up the $75,000 computer network with a grant awarded in May 2008 through the Clean Water Fund. The department also invested $85,000 from the Clean Water Fund to purchase six of the 13 probes that have been installed in the river.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency purchased the remaining seven probes.

RAIN's goal is to provide water utilities within the Allegheny, Monongahela and parts of the Ohio River basins with advanced spill or contamination warnings based on real-time monitoring practices and a system of alerts and alarms.

Unusually high TDS levels were first detected in the fall of 2008 at points along approximately 90 stream miles of the Monongahela River between the West Virginia border and the confluence with the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.

Previously, conductivity levels were monitored by three U.S. Geological Service gauges located along the Monongahela River. The new, expanded network will provide a more detailed picture of TDS levels and will provide public access to the information via the Internet.

Conductivity readings are an alternative to more expensive and time-consuming lab analysis for TDS.

For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Water Quality.

Note: The following water suppliers are members or partners of RAIN. Those noted with an asterisk have volunteered to maintain and operate a monitoring site.

City of Fairmont Water Filtration Plant Morgantown Utility Board
Albert Gallatin Municipal Authority
Point Marion Borough Water Service
East Dunkard Water Association*
Dunkard Valley Joint Municipal Authority*
Duquesne Light Warwick Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Plant*
Masontown Borough
Municipal Authority of Carmichaels
Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority*
Tri-County Joint Municipal Authority*
PA American Water-Brownsville District*
Newell Municipal Authority
Municipal Authority of Washington Township*
Belle Vernon Municipal Authority
Authority of the Borough of Charleroi
PA American Water Company-Pittsburgh District (A)*
PA American Water Company-Pittsburgh District (B)*
West View Water Authority*
Municipal Authority Township of Robinson
Moon Township Municipal Authority
Ohiopyle Borough Water
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority*
North Fayette County Municipal Authority
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County - Indian Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County - McKeesport
Lower Tenmile Joint Sewer Authority - Williamston Sewage Treatment Plant*
Redstone and Jefferson Twp Municipal Authority - Colonial Sewage Treatment Plant*


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