Volunteers Help Test Water Quality In Henderson County - WSPA.com

Volunteers Help Test Water Quality In Henderson County

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ECO volunteers monitor 26 watershed sites around Henderson County. ECO volunteers monitor 26 watershed sites around Henderson County.

Budget cuts at agencies that monitor watersheds have left a bad taste in taxpayer's mouths.

In recent years, the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has had to limit its stream testing.

"When I first started six years ago, anytime there was a problem we had people we could call at the county and state-level and they would respond very quickly. Since then, they are actually coming to us sometimes," said volunteer and Chairman of ECO's Water Quality Committee Lee McCall.

Teams of volunteers from ECO or Environmental and Conservation Organization in Henderson County conduct bio-monitoring surveys twice a month.

They're looking for insects and depending on what they catch may indicate the quality of water.

Volunteers record the findings, which is shared with local, state and federal officials.

The DWQ only tests various watersheds once every five years, according to Seiresse Baker, ECO's water quality administrator.

"A lot can happen in five years: construction, depredation of riparian zone vegetation, sedimentation and erosion," Baker said.

It's those issues ECO watches out and tests for with the assistance of more than 40 volunteers.

The organization also does chemical assessments on a monthly basis. The method they use follows the same protocols of the DWQ, so the results can be compared.

Volunteers have located sources of pollution, sections of rivers and streams that need remediation as well as places that no longer need assistance as the water quality has improved.

ECO says they can always use additional help.

As funding continues to slip away, it's up to the public to rise to the occasion.

If you'd like to volunteer or learn more about ECO's programs, call (828) 692-0385 or click here.

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