Water and toxins

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I have had the opportunity to engage in a Penn State geography course that focuses on environmental sustainability. Recently I have researched Monongahela River water pollution and effective ways to reduce the pollution that enters the Hays Mine water treatment facility on Becks Run Road.

During my research I discovered that Becks Run Road is heavily traveled by commuters in the morning and late afternoon. Due to this heavy traffic and the deep valley, the emissions are able to gather in the valley and, in turn, the hillside absorbs emissions and toxins into the broken rock and soil. Becks Run Road contains a stream that empties into the Monongahela River.

The emissions may not be toxic to humans when they are absorbed; however, when it rains, the water gathers the toxins and carries them into the Monongahela River from where the water treatment facility pumps its water.

I have come up with solutions that could cut emission pollution. First, a few years ago many of the bus stops were cut from the Baldwin area and other South Hills areas to cut costs and save money. We need to restore the bus stops. Many people have been forced to drive to work or to a place where there is a bus stop nearby; commuting causes cars to sit in traffic, which causes more emissions.

My second suggestion is to smooth the sidewalks and convert them into bike lanes to encourage more people to bike to work. The commute is only a few miles for people in the Becks Run Road area and mainly downhill for an easier commute. Looking into bike escalators may be beneficial for steeper uphill parts of the outbound commute. Of course, there would have to be safety precautions taken to ensure bikers’ safety. Thus, a barrier would have to be built between the bike lane and main road.

These two possible solutions would create a healthier atmosphere and healthier drinking water and promote a less sedentary lifestyle.


The writer is a student at Penn State University.

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