Water Quality


Aug 26, 2014

Analyzing water is a complicated business.  It can contain any number of pollutants and require a variety of regulations to clean it up, but the state of Virginia is using a simpler approach – letting nature determine water quality, and asking citizens to help.

On a sunny weekday afternoon, four people arrive at a one-lane bridge northeast of Charlottesville, unpacking a car loaded with mysterious gear – nets, gloves and waders, a table and chairs.  They could easily be mistaken for picnickers.  In fact, they’re on a more serious mission.

Tom Hindman/Getty Images via NPR

Scientists at Virginia Tech say a chemical that contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia early this year, is more complex than previously known.  A new study may explain why a telltale smell persists, after officials declared the water safe to drink, more than two months ago.

Coal Ash Spill Affects Virginia and North Carolina

Feb 7, 2014
Lynchburg News and Advance

We’ve told you about a coal ash spill in Eden, North Carolina that’s worked its way into the Dan River in Danville.  Officials with Duke Energy, the company in charge of the spill, along with state and local officials, have conducted tests on the drinking water there.

Duke Energy officials will be giving an update to Danville City Council members Friday at 1pm.

Endangered Species Act

Jan 2, 2014
Virginia Tech

The federal law protecting endangered species turned forty in 2013.  And that calls for taking stock of how it’s been working.  

Fresh Water mussels are at the foundation of aquatic life in inland waterways.  At different times in their life cycle, the burrow into river bottoms, keeping soil substrates aerated, and they act as powerful filtering systems that help keep the water clean. But they’re on the endangered species list, and anything that threatens them, also threatens our fresh surface water.

Stabilizing Threatened Species

Dec 30, 2013

December 2013 marked the 40th Birthday of the US Endangered Species Act …and in the decades since, many people have been working to get threatened species off the endangered list.

Scientists at Virginia Tech are making progress with a key species that helps keep area waterways alive and healthy.