In addition to routine water quality monitoring in the Ohio River Basin, 3RQ’s “Targeted Studies” provide the ability for researchers to immediately respond to citizen concerns, develop focused studies, and expand monitoring to parameters other than TDS. As gas exploration and other water quality threats increase throughout the Mon Basin, water quality changes can be monitored through targeted studies to provide a fast response when a potential issue arises. Learn more about several 3RQ Targeted Studies below.
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Northern Allegheny Sampling Extension
Northern Allegheny sites were established in 2013 to extend 3RQ's geographic reach and create an extensive regional baseline dataset. Between 2013 and 2018, ninety-six samples were collected on the upper Allegheny River and its tributaries.
The Pithole Creek Watershed, located in Venango and Forest counties of Pennsylvania, has a history of conventional oil production that dates back to 1865. As of 2018, the watershed contained 950 active conventional wells and many townships had used produced water for dust control on its dirt and gravel roads. 3RQ worked to shed light onto the impacts of this oil production on stream integrity.
Learn More: View StoryMap, View Fact Sheet, View Watershed Assessment Report & Coldwater Conservation Plan
Due to its trends of elevated chloride levels, Pine Creek has been chosen for a targeted study looking closer at chloride and other ion levels. By incorporating USGS gage data, the effect of rainfall was also studied in relation to chloride concentrations.
Trihalomethanes in the Mon River Basin
Trihalomethanes (THMs), a family of halogenated disinfection byproducts, are ubiquitously present in finished drinking water. They form as a result of the interaction between organic matter and chlorination in the disinfection process. 3RQ has partnered with several water authorities in Southwestern Pennsylvania to study levels of THMs and conditions that affect their formation.
Learn More: View StoryMap, View Fact Sheet
April 2014 testing results showed alarming levels of radium in discharges to Tenmile Creek from the abandoned Clyde Mine and coal refuse piles further upstream near Waynesburg and at the Cumberland Mine on Whiteley Creek. In response, 3RQ performed a targeted study to help provide reliable information to the communities surrounding Tenmile Creek who were concerned about the quality of their streams and their health.
E. Coli Monitoring in Upper Ohio River Valley Streams
Assistant Professor James Wood and graduate student Emily Huff at West Liberty University study E. coli levels in Big Wheeling Creek, Little Wheeling Creek, & Long Run from September 2021 through April 2023.
After years of 3RQ monitoring, trends of rising bromide and total dissolved solids (TDS) were observed in Captina Creek, a tributary to the Ohio River near the town of Armstrong Mills, OH. By analyzing monthly data from 2012 through 2020, we learn more about these trends as we continue to monitor this site in the future.
Seasonal Differences in Chloride, Conductivity, & Temperature
Assistant Professor James Wood and graduate student Emily Huff at West Liberty University study chloride, conductivity, and temperature trends over two winters and summers within the Upper Ohio River Watershed to explore impacts of road salt application.
Learn more: View StoryMap
Summer Trends in Temperature & Specific Conductance
Assistant Professor James Wood and undergraduate research student Emily Huff in the Ecology and Ecosystems Study (EES) lab at West Liberty University set out to determine if the hot, dry summer of 2020 showed significantly different water chemistry than that of 2019. To find out, they chose to focus on two water chemistry parameters, water temperature and specific conductance (SpC), at 24 sites throughout the Upper Ohio River Watershed.