What is R4S?
3RQ REACH 4Schools (R4S) is an educational framework that engages students from grades 6 through university level in monitoring water quality within the Allegheny, Monongahela, and upper Ohio River Basins.
Middle and high school students who participate in the project become involved by
collecting data, either continuous by deploying data loggers and/or discrete by
obtaining physical samples for chemical analysis.
Educators can use the data collected to teach their students in many ways and on many topics, such as general water quality, water chemistry, and chemistry as it relates to biology, aquatic biology, water sampling, environmental principles, ecology, data analysis, data entry, and database management.
R4S is funded through an Environmental Education Grant from PADEP and the STREAMing contest is funded through a grant from EQT.
The Contest, called STREAMing (Science, Technology,
Rivers, Engineering, Arts, Math), tasks the students with creating a website
to showcase the water quality monitoring projects they have worked on in coordination
with Three Rivers Quest. In addition to the websites, the students are required
to create a video giving a reflection on what they learned or found interesting
throughout the duration of these projects. The website and video will be scored
by numerous judges from EQT and the West Virginia Water Research Institute. The
videos of their experiences will be transcribed and used to create a book, titled
STREAMside, that students can disseminate to their communities, thereby expanding
water quality awareness and engaging people who might not otherwise think of water
in those terms. This book will be available to view in August on our
All schools are given a weather station, and all students receive a T-Shirt for participating.
The winning school also will receive a gift certificate for Stormworks. Additionally,
participating schools will keep the equipment and field kits provided to them and
will retain access to the WATERS database for as long as they would like. 3RQ will
also continue to provide the schools with technical assistance as needed in all
aspects of water quality monitoring and information dissemination.
All websites were viewed and scored by various judges and points assigned. Two winners were chosen, an individual website and an overall winner.
- Individual Winner
- WM Environmental Club from West Mifflin High School.
- Headed by Ms. Christine O’Lare
- Overall Winner
- Trinity Area High School
- Overseen by Ms. Melissa Monteleone.
Participating R4S Schools
The 2018-19 3RQ Reach 4Schools participants were:
- Charleroi High School
- Trinity High School
- Trinity Middle School
- Winchester Thurston HS
- West Mifflin HS
About Three Rivers QUEST
The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI), a program of the National Research
Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, has been actively researching
water-related issues since 1967. When municipal water authorities were puzzled
by the sudden increase of total dissolved solids (TDS) in late 2008, it was in
the interest of WVWRI to find out what might be causing the changes in the water
chemistry of the Monongahela River. While numerous programs existed that monitored
water quality, the data collected was either too sporadic or the studies did not
include TDS. In response to the need for TDS data, routine monitoring on the main
stem of the Monongahela and mouths of major tributaries began in 2009 with funding
through USGS and WVWRI. In 2011, thanks to funding by the Colcom Foundation, the
Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) program was initiated by partnering with Duquesne University,
Wheeling Jesuit University and the Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Geographically,
the 3RQ Partners monitor mainstem and mouths of major tributaries along the Allegheny,
Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. In addition to routine monitoring monthly at 54 stations,
3RQ Partners have utilized Targeted Study funds to investigate community water
quality concerns over such things as radiological in mine discharge and total trihalomethane
in schools. The REACH a component of the program engages local watershed groups
with data management and roundtable events. The newly upgraded WATERS database
provides data management for participating in watershed organizations.
Charleroi High School
West Mifflin High School
- WMASD Environmental Club
- Thompson Run, WM, PA, USA
- Thompson Run Data
- Creeks In PA
- Thompson Run Creek Project
- Creek Knowledge
- Thompson Run Creek
- West Mifflin Creek Connection
- Creek Tests
- WM Environmental Club Data and Photo