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Water clinic open to Suffolk, Chesapeake

 

Suffolk and Chesapeake residents with private wells, springs and cisterns can sign up for a Virginia Cooperative Extension water quality clinic this March. The Virginia Household Water Quality Program aims to improve the water quality and health of Virginians using private water supplies.

The kickoff meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 18 at the SWIFT Research Center, located at Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s Nansemond Treatment Plant, 6909 Armstead Road. The cost is $15 per sample kit.

At the meeting, participants will learn about the clinic’s purpose, what they’re testing for in their water and how to do it properly. They will also have the opportunity to learn more about SWIFT — the Sustainable Water Initiative of Tomorrow — firsthand with a tour of the research center.

This water purification initiative is designed to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater in the aquifer, while addressing environmental challenges that include sea level rise, saltwater intrusion and Chesapeake Bay restoration.

HRSD’s sponsorship has dropped the price from $60 per sample kit to $15. Ted Henifin, general manager of HRSD, said that the data from these water samples will assist HRSD in its research efforts in the years to come.

“It allows us to continue to build a really strong data set for what’s in the aquifer today,” he said, “that someday we can look back on to see how SWIFT has improved the water.”

Participants will collect water samples on the morning of March 20, then turn in the samples from 7 to 9 a.m. that same day at the Nansemond Treatment Plant or the Chesapeake Extension Office, 310 Shea Drive.

Each sample will be tested for 14 different parameters at the Virginia Tech campus. The results will be discussed from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 17 at Major Hillard Library, 824 Old George Washington Highway in Chesapeake.

Any Suffolk or Chesapeake resident with a private water supply is eligible to volunteer, and information is strictly confidential. Results will be mailed to those that are unable to attend. Attendees will also benefit from the meeting’s educational component, according to Senior Extension Agent Watson Lawrence Jr.

“We have an educational aspect to the results meeting, where we try to explain a little bit about how they can mitigate problems,” Lawrence said. “The thrust of the effort is to answer questions.”

Those interested can register by sending their check or money order payable to VCE-Chesapeake, or online with a credit card.

Visit wellwater.bse.vt.edu for more information or email Watson Lawrence at watsonL@vt.edu, Mike Andruczyk at mikeand@vt.edu or Elizabeth Mundoma at gmundoma@vt.edu.