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Results Of Local Groundwater Study Being Compiled

October 25th, 2017

Dan Galeone (left) circulated some preliminary findings as the USGS compiles results. At right is Potter County Conservation District manager Jason Childs,

Preliminary results from a historic analysis of the groundwater in Potter County were shared with members of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group last week. Dan Galeone, hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said a full report won’t be released until next spring. USGS partnered with the Potter County Board of Commissioners to conduct the comprehensive study to provide data on the quality and constituents of the county’s groundwater. The information will be invaluable for public policy-makers, industries, regulatory agencies and others seeking to protect water when sites are chosen for certain types of development.

A state grant is covering the bulk of expenses for the study. Some 47 water wells in strategic locations were sampled. Data is being assembled and analyzed in a cumulative fashion, with the identity of individual well owners protected. Confidential findings from the analysis will be provided to each owner. Groundwater can contain a variety of suspended and dissolved substances such as bacteria, minerals and gases. These substances are often naturally occurring, but water quality can also be influenced by human activities.

Galeone said total coliform bacteria was found in 24 samples and e. coli bacteria in 10. These results are not unusual, he added, but they should be understood by well owners. They will be advised of water treatment options. Two of the wells were found to contain arsenic, which may or may not be naturally occurring. Testing was also conducted for dozens of metals, dissolved gases and nutrients. Once USGS has finished compiling and analyzing results, a complete report will be released. Local officials could opt for a public meeting to share the findings.

In other business at this week’s meeting:

  • Charlie Tuttle, chair of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, reported on the installation of 24/7 monitors on the supplies of nearly every public drinking water source in Potter County.
  • Water Quality Work Group Chairman Jason Childs discussed the successful installation of a “bottomless culvert” that will open 11 miles of Ludington Run in Genesee Township for fish migration. Childs credited Potter County Conservation District staffers Jared Dickerson, Alex Veto and Glenn Dunn II for their work, in partnership with Trout Unlimited and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
  • Invasive plants continue to spread across many river corridors in Potter County. Upper Allegheny Watershed Association has been cutting and spraying Japanese knotweed infestations that are choking out native plants in the Sweden Valley area. Eradication work is also planned in the Genesee area. Kim Bohn, coordinator for the Sinnemahoning Invasive Plant Management Area, is working to adopt two other management areas in the Genesee and Allegheny watersheds to combat invasive plants.
  • Potter County Conservation District is supporting the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s ongoing clean-up of illegal dumping sites. Next work sessions are planned for Oct. 28 in the Loucks Mills and Rowley Road areas of Bingham Township, and for Oct. 31 off Burleson Avenue in Roulette.
  • Jared Dickerson reported on an ambitious plan to improve native trout habitat on a five-mile section of Slider’s Branch, a tributary of Kettle Creek, by installing large wood debris structures. Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources is also involved on the project.

More information on the Water Quality Work Group is available from Jason Childs at 814-320-4012.

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