Monday, August 19, 2013

Act 13 Grant Application Baseline Testing Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Columbia County Pennsylvania

Notice of Grant Application

The Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council has submitted a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development that could allow our organization and its partners to use financial resources from the Marcellus Legacy Fund to implement a Baseline Water Quality Testing Program in the Council’s service area. Through this grant, we hope to complete testing in Columbia, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties.  As it is a requirement for this grant, we are notifying you that if we are successful in obtaining the funds, we could be working within your jurisdiction.

The Marcellus Shale underlies eight of the ten counties in the Council’s service area. Most of the residents we serve are either directly or indirectly impacted by unconventional shale gas development. In addition, approximately 60% of the residents rely on private wells for their drinking water needs, putting them at increased risk. Monitoring and documenting baseline conditions is critical to not only protecting rural water sources and the environment, but also to safeguard the larger community water supply water sources.

The main elements of the project will include: 

1.      Educate private well owners on baseline water quality issues; 

2.      Provide free baseline water testing, conducted by a certified testing laboratory and collected by trained samplers, for approximately 200 private well owners, giving priority to those over the age of 65 or families that have a median income of less than 2 times the poverty level in our project area;

3.      Offer free assistance to review baseline testing conducted by this project or conducted by the individual private well owner or given to the private well owner within our service area;

4.      Implement a training program for samplers conducting baseline analysis to ensure the use of proper chain-of-custody, field collection, testing, and documentation, and reporting of the data;

5.      Provide assistance to all private well owners that participated in this project by providing a “non-
technical” review of the testing results explained in plain language, a free copy of  Pennsylvania Groundwater Quality: Your Private Well: What Do the Results Mean?, and conducting regional education outreach events; and

6.      The data, excluding confidential contact information, will be maintained by the certified laboratory and the Council in a spreadsheet format that can be then added to the Citizen Groundwater and Surfacewater Database or other state and regional databases.

The Pocono Northeast R C & D Council appreciates your interest and support for this project. It will provide valuable data on the status of rural wells, as well as ensure that the participants in the study will be better off with its completion. Please contact us with any questions you may have at 570-234-3577.

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