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Howard County students joined Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) officials Oct. 18, the Anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Clean Water Act, to test local waterways and mark World Water Monitoring Day at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area in Columbia.
MDE provided schools across the state with easy to use sample water quality monitoring kits. The kits contain 50 sets of tests for students to gather data on four important measures of water quality – dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and clarity. Each school will have the opportunity to upload their data to a special section of the MDE website [www.mde.state.md.us/CitizensInfoCenter/kids/index.asp ] to be added to data collected worldwide.
Simulated Tests Used by Pros at MDE
“By participating, Maryland students receive a hands-on experience in learning about the condition of their local environment,” said MDE Secretary, Kendl P. Philbrick. “Students also use some of the same basic tests that MDE uses to develop the water quality information needed to assess, protect, and restore Maryland’s waters.”
Just one week after World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) 2005, over 1,200 monitoring sites in 30 countries and 48 states in the United States have reported monitoring results to the WWMD Database. America's Clean Water Foundation (ACWF) the International Water Association (IWA) and the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA) anticipate results from 7,500 -10,000 sites, in as many as 80 nations. Participants who register sites and collect data to shared globally can check progress of the results daily and a final tally will be available in December.
From the initial reporting, the United States again leads in the number of reported sites, with Taiwan anticipating more than 1,000 reports. New participants including Burkina Faso on the African continent are reporting their results and sharing the details of the events taking place for students and other water monitors.
Last year, over 6,527 monitoring sites were registered. The United States, with 5,176 sites was the leader in this effort, followed by Taiwan (407), Germany (202), Australia (95) and Canada (91) during the fall monitoring period.
Compare Global Water Quality
Ultimately, students can view the results of their work online and compare their findings with a global bank of participants. MDE utilizes a number of scientific methods, including real-time monitoring networks and sampling, to collect and evaluate water quality data. These methods assure safety of our waterways for drinking, swimming, fishing, industrial and agricultural uses.
World Water Monitoring Day aims to encourage volunteer monitoring groups, water quality agencies, students and the general public to test for and report on the four key water quality indicators. Groups collecting data have until Dec. 18 to report their findings on the internet at: www.worldwatermonitoringday.org. This effort is another step toward Maryland's commitment to promoting environmental education, embodied by the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement.