Water Quality Is A Big Deal

Sept. 9, 2019 Editor, The News-Gazette:

Here in Rockbridge County and Lexington, we consider ourselves lucky to live where the views are beautiful and the air and water are clean. We feel safe to drink the water and to swim or play in the rivers and streams.

Unfortunately the assumption about safe water is incorrect. State officials, university researchers and local citizens have been monitoring the streams and rivers here and have determined that nearly all of the watersheds in Rockbridge are polluted. (Have you known anyone to have an ear or other infection after playing or swimming in local water?)

Some might say, “Well, the Chesapeake Bay is contaminated. We live in a rural area with cows and fertilized fields. There’s bound to be a little something, but here it’s no big deal.”

It is a big deal. A few years ago in a town smaller than Lexington, the water supply became contaminated with E. coli. The people managing the water treatment plant did not take it seriously and did not warn residents or notify officials. The result: seven people died and 2,300 people became seriously ill. (Walkerton Ontario, 2000)

Want to learn more about the condition of water in Rockbridge County and Lexington, the health impacts, and what can be done? There is an upcoming three-part series of presentations regarding water quality on the the third Tuesday of each month, September, October and November. Experts from Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, local citizen water monitors, and health and agricultural experts will discuss this and answer questions. The first presentation is Tuesday, Sept. 17, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Lexington Presbyterian Church. The series is sponsored by Rockbridge Water Monitors, the RACC Watershed Committee and the Environment Committee of 50 Ways Rockbridge. Join us to learn more.

LOUISE WARD

Lexington

The News-Gazette

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