URI seeks volunteers to protect drinking water quality
Cooperative Extension recruiting residents from
South Kingstown, Charlestown, Narragansett
KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 10, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island
Cooperative Extension is seeking volunteers in Washington County to help
protect public drinking water supplies by participating in the Rhode Island
Source Water Assessment Program.
"Since local residents have an intimate knowledge of the local
community, and since everyone in the county relies on groundwater resources
for their drinking water, we believe that the community should be involved,"
explained Alyson McCann, coordinator for Cooperative Extension's Home*A*Syst
program, a volunteer-based residential pollution prevention program.
URI is working cooperatively with the Rhode Island Department of Health
to complete local source water assessments as required by the Environmental
Protection Agency. These assessments, which identify pollution threats
to public drinking water supplies throughout the state, are under way in
South Kingstown, Charlestown and Narragansett.
Cooperative Extension and the health department have developed a two-pronged
approach to citizen involvement in the Source Water Assessment Program.
Some volunteers will inventory potential sources of contamination to the
water supplies, while others will provide input on the assessments by identifying
local land use issues, selecting management options for analysis, and reviewing
assessment results to identify and develop future planning needs.
Inventory volunteers will be trained by the Home*A*Syst program staff
to read and update land use maps, as well as identify high-risk land use
activities within the major wellhead protection areas during a two-hour
training session on Monday, January 29 at 7 p.m. at the Cross Mills Public
Library on Old Post Road in Charlestown. Volunteers will then have one
month to complete their assigned wellhead protection area inventories.
Staff from Cooperative Extension's Municipal Training Program will lead
assessment volunteers through three, two-hour meetings during a four to
five month period to provide input on the assessments, which use computer-generated
maps to systematically study natural and land use related factors that affect
pollution risks to drinking water supplies. The first assessment work session
is Tuesday, February 6 at 4 p.m., also at the Cross Mills Public Library
Cooperative Extension and the health department will use the information
provided by each group of volunteers to complete the source water assessments
and assist communities in improving their drinking water protection efforts.
"Rhode Island is unique in its efforts to involve local citizens in
this program," noted McCann. "This is an opportunity for residents
to serve their communities and protect the quality of their drinking water."
For more information or to volunteer for this project in South Kingstown,
Charlestown or Narragansett, call Home*A*Syst Program Assistant Holly Burdett
at (401) 874-5398. For more information about the Source Water Assessment
Program contact Clay Commons, R.I. Department of Health, Office of Drinking
Water Quality at (401) 222-7769.
For Information: Alyson McCann 874-5398 , Todd McLeish 874-7892