New website to detail Pittsburgh-region river quality

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Improvements to 29 monitoring stations will allow people who use the rivers in the region to get real-time data about the quality of the water, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Monday.

A partnership between the River Alert Information Network and Penn's Corner Conservancy Charitable Trust Inc. will mean that the stations along the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio, Youghiogheny, Shenango and Beaver rivers will automatically send water-quality data to the RAIN website.

The real-time data will alert officials to respond swiftly and detect an oil spill, bromine and other hazardous waste. And it will allow recreational users to check the conditions of the rivers as well.

"What we want is for anyone to be able to go to the website and see any change in the water such as the temperature, pH level and the conductivity," said PWSA spokeswoman Melissa Rubin.

The website that will have the information, www.rainmatters.org, is under construction.

Penn's Corner will provide both technical and financial assistance for RAIN.

"As a promoter and facilitator of partnerships, our organization will identify tools and other resources to help RAIN and its stakeholders meet its goals to protect source water and enhance water quality," said Penn's Corner chair Doniele Russell.

Ms. Russell is a land use/greenways planner for Lawrence and Butler counties. Penn's Corner has partnered with hundreds of communities for 35 years to work on protection and conservation of natural resources.

"Access to clean and safe drinking water is an essential ingredient to healthy, vibrant and prosperous communities," said Gina Cyprych, chairman of RAIN and a microbiologist with PWSA. She said her group has corporate sponsorship and also is seeking grants, but all of the partners working with RAIN do so on a voluntary basis.

"Our goal is to increase the water quality across the region and even expand to West Virginia," Ms. Cyprych said.

region - environment

Kelton Brooks: kbrooks@post-gazette.com.


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