Streamline - Fall 2015 - (Page 27)

Amherst source Water Protection BY SCOTT MCNALLY, SOURCE WATER TECHNICIAN in virginia, having a plan for source water protection is not yet a mandatory process. However, more municipalities have recognized the importance of taking steps to protect their water sources. This process not only benefits the quality of drinking water, but it also creates more sustainable environmental conditions for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts. The citizens of Amherst, Virginia realized the importance of source water protection a long time ago and have been diligently working to improve the conditions within their watershed for many years. Under Tom Fore, the Director of Public Utilities, the town of Amherst operates under the idea that is it cheaper and better for the environment to prevent water pollution than it is to spend more time and money to make polluted water safe to drink. The Town of Amherst, Virginia uses the Buffalo River as its drinking water source. This river flows in a southeasterly direction from its headwaters in the George Washington National Forest. Along its path, the Buffalo River flows through a significant amount of agricultural and residential land, exposing the water to a wide array of contaminants. By implementing best management practices in the Buffalo River Watershed, the Town of Amherst is able to reduce the cost of treating the water. Some of the money saved goes right back into protecting the watershed, which further reduces the cost and manpower needed to treat the drinking water. The main tool for accomplishing this mission is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established between the Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District, the Town of Amherst and the Amherst County Service Authority. The MOU is a document that outlines the obligations of the three aforementioned entities pertaining to the protection of soil and water in the county. The document states " Recognizing the need for close relationships in carrying out the responsibilities for which each is charged, the County, the Town and the District enter into this Memorandum of Understanding as the foundation for an enduring cooperative working relationship. Such cooperation allows joint effort in the solution of problems relating to the planning and development of soil, water and related natural resources." The MOU was created to generate funding for establishing a new position, the Amherst Watershed Coordinator, within the Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District. The current Amherst Watershed Coordinator is Anne Marie Clarke. This position is extremely important for holistic watershed protection because it revolves around the common saying "boots on the ground." Anne Marie spends a significant amount of time conducting field surveys and looking for potential sources of contamination within the county basins that produce drinking water. Once a potential source of contamination is identified, she works with the land owner to mitigate the pollution. This direct involvement with the land owner is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to watershed and source water protection. Her goal is to recognize the specific needs of landowners, suggest and then implement the appropriate BMPs. The funds for installing BMPs come from the Amherst County Service Authority. The money is then administered by the Robert E. Lee SWCD to address the sources of contamination they deem to be most critical. The benefits of the rigorous source water protection produce real and substantial cost saving results. In 1989, during heavy rains, the turbidity of the Buffalo River at the Town of Amherst intake measured 4,600 ntu's. Roughly 10 years later, after a decade of watershed protection, the turbidity measurement was reduced to 2,000 ntu's. Another decade 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2015

From the President: What if the Hokey Pokey Really is What it’s All About?
From the Executive Director: The Value of Membership
VRWA’s 2015 Expo Wrap Up
Membership is Free, but its Value to your Utility may be Priceless!!
How to Prepare for a Lab Audit
Tomorrow’s Leaders: Attracting Young Professionals
Amherst Source Water Protection
USDA Rural Development/Virginia
Comparative Advantage
Keeping Workers Safe During Night-Time Repairs
Affordable Mixers Now Available for Southern Corrosion Engineered Tank Care Customers
When Consolidation Makes cents
NRWA Recap
VRWA Offers New Member Benefits
Throwing My Loop: Another View
Booster Club
e-Learning Benefits
Membership Application
Do you know what your VRWA Benefits are?
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Fall 2015