New Study Uses 3RQ Data to Analyze how Management Changes have Impacted Water Quality in Mon River Basin
A new study by WVU and West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) researchers utilizes 3RQ data to analyze how management changes have impacted water quality in the Monongahela River Basin. The study focuses on twelve sites on the Monongahela River and its major tributaries that, as part of the 3RQ program, have at least monthly water quality data dating back to 2009. Researchers examine water quality trends from 2009-2019 under the lens of three key management changes that occurred within this time period. These management changes include a voluntary discharge management plan developed by the WVWRI and implemented by the coal industry (2010), Pennsylvania’s prohibition of produced wastewater in publicly owned treatment facilities (2011), and construction of a reverse osmosis treatment facility (2013). Since the implementation of these changes, primarily the voluntary discharge management plan which encompasses most of the watershed, TDS in the Monongahela has not exceeded the EPA′s secondary drinking water standards. The results from this study have demonstrated how bromide, chloride, sulfate, and TDS trend changes coincided with discharge and critical water quality management alterations to the Monongahela River Basin. While individual management decisions may be effective, combining multiple watershed-scale decisions targeting contributing constituents of TDS can lead to greater overall effectiveness. Published to Water in February of 2023, the article, entitled "Effective Management Changes to Reduce Halogens, Sulfate, and TDS in the Monongahela River Basin, 2009–2019," is free and open to the public.