Task force looks at water source protection efforts

RIDGWAY - Steps to strengthen source water protection were discussed at an Elk County Gas Task Force meeting earlier this week. Jodi Foster, community and economic development coordinator for the Elk County Planning Department, said Watershed Specialist Kim Bonfardine is ready to start source water monitoring in Brockway. She noted that although Brockway is in Jefferson County and not in Elk County, the reason for the monitoring is because much of Brockway's source water stems from Elk County. Foster also met recently with Elk County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike McAllister, not present at the meeting due to business in Harrisburg, and Jake Moore from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to discuss creating a source water protection "layer" on the county's 9-1-1 maps. "What we're attempting to do is to create a layer that's going to go on the 9-1-1 system that will show when there's an accident or some incident that occurs, if it's in a source water protection 9-1-1 area, it will pop up and alert the 9-1-1 operator that this is a source water protection area, and to notify the proper people," Foster said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be for Marcellus Shale."Source water protection is all about public education and trying to make the public aware that there are types of water systems around. There's groundwater sources and there's surface water sources and what the difference is, and to help educate the public about how important it is to protect their drinking water supply. The conversation's started and people are talking about it now, and that will hopefully help prevent accidents and stuff like that from happening." Pick up a copy of the Friday, June 15, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.