One Region’s Approach to Water Quality


Adapted from the River Alert Information Network website  

The River Alert Information Network (RAIN) is serious about water quality in Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia!  RAIN is a collaborative effort from dozens of public water supply systems in the Allegheny River Basin, Monongahela River Basin, Beaver River Basin, and the first 36 river miles of the Ohio River.  These systems have banded together to develop regional Source Water Protection Plans in their watersheds, and are implementing shared management strategies to reduce pollution flowing to their water intakes.

RAIN's mission is to serve the public by creating an Early Warning (Spill Detection [EWSD]) System in the Ohio River Basin to address public health issues, watershed protection, and environmental accountability.  One key strategy is the proactive water quality monitoring currently conducted by several of the member systems. 

All of the RAIN monitoring sites monitor for specific conductance and pH. Conductivity measures how well water can conduct an electrical current (and provides an estimate to the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the river); pH is an indication of the alkalinity or acidity in the river. Water acidity can be increased by acid mine discharges, industrial discharges, and acid rain. Some RAIN sites also monitor for additional water quality parameters, such as turbidity and/or dissolved oxygen, and RAIN plans to expand the parameter list to include organics, bromide, oil and diesel fuel.

Check out RAIN’s new interactive map that shows how and where RAIN monitors the rivers from which most of the region’s drinking water is taken. The map allows the user to see the water data collected in near real-time, and informs the user about general water quality data and the water resources used by public drinking water systems.  Access the map on RAIN's website.

RAIN interactive map.jpg

Keep informed of RAIN's activities and monitoring data through their website, or by liking their Facebook page or following their Twitter feed.