CCGG WEBSITE <http://www.carbonwaters.org/>
During 2005, we began constructing a new website. That continued for all of 2006 and 2007. It is up and running, but still under construction. We have recently moved it to the WordPress platform to take advantage of new social media tools. The web site describes who we are and what we do. It serves as a groundwater resource for residents of Carbon County, PA in particular and the world in general.
This is an affordable means of providing information on groundwater, private wells and septic system issues to a rural community. The website contains contact numbers and links to community and online resources. In addition to providing information, homeowners can initiate low cost water testing of their wells with the forms provided.
“The Watering Whole”
During the year 2001, the Groundwater Guardians wrote articles of general interest and these were published in the Lehighton Times News. During 2003 – 2004, CCGG wrote additional articles under the banner “The Watering Whole.” The program was then suspended because of the lack of volunteers being able to make the time commitment. In 2010 we will resurrect “The Watering Whole” with articles on wells, well water and septic systems. They will be written to give our readers a brief overview and further their understanding of being a water and sewerage company.
LOW-COST HOMEOWNERS’ WELL WATER TESTING
In a partnership with Wilkes University, we are able to provide low cost water tests to homeowners who fill out a questionnaire about their well and septic system, and indicate their problems and concerns. This questionnaire is then evaluated at Wilkes U., and recommendations are made as to what tests are indicated. After testing is completed the results are sent with a professional evaluation and recommendations for correcting any problems found. Our testing packages range from bacteria only to heavy metals, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides etc. By offering this, we are impressing upon Carbon County residents that testing their well is an important part of managing their own private water supply. This program will be modified during 2010 so well owners can have their water tested at the lab of their choice.
Homeowners can have their water tested at reasonable prices because we do all the paperwork and billing, saving time and money for Wilkes U. The test results are sent directly to homeowners. Since we are not selling any products, homeowners can feel safe. If they do want to put in water treatment devices, they will know what they need, and not be cheated.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM
1. A program called “How Well is Your Well” was developed. This is a seminar with expert speakers covering in detail well construction and maintenance (certified well driller) and well water issues (Director of Wilkes University’s Center for Environmental Quality Water Quality Lab). Attendees can participate in a Q & A session. We will put on seminars in specific communities and central locations.
2. We will meet with homeowners who have unusual problems with their water supply or septic systems.
3. The outreach team has created a program for private well owners and offered to provide it at the request of municipalities who are plagued with questions they are not suited to answer. One of these programs has already been scheduled. We expect other local governments to take advantage of this program.
1. Raise awareness of the need to preserve or improve the groundwater of Carbon County, PA.
2. Increase our contact with citizens of Carbon County, so that they know who we are and how we can be a resource for them.
3. To increase the desire of county residents to test their well water.
4. This is an affordable means of providing information on groundwater issues to a rural community.
INVESTIGATION OF A RARE CANCER
Since a high incidence of polycythemia vera was verified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH-ATSDR) is presently conducting a formal investigation in the Luzerne, Schuylkill, and Carbon County areas.
The high incidence of polycythemia vera was initially reported by CCGG at a press conference on June 2, 2004 in Quakake, PA.
Frank Waksmunski, who discovered this cancer cluster, is serving an informal role as a consultant to two local environmental groups based in Tamaqua, PA and one group in Raleigh, N.C.
There is only one USGS Observation Well in the county to measure groundwater levels, and it is in the far NE corner. It is difficult to estimate groundwater levels across the county. The county’s precipitation varies greatly, due to the differing topography. A network of monitors, who measure rainfall and the water equivalent of snowfall across the entire county, provides a better understanding of groundwater levels. This network is part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University; CoCoRaHS, http://www.cocorahs.org/) and Pennsylvania FROST (http://climate.met.psu.edu/data/frost/)
Residents and government officials will have a better understanding of groundwater levels based on this data, which will be far more accurate than Doppler radar estimates from the National Weather Service. The data is also shared with the Pennsylvania State Climatologist and CoCoRaHS.