Putnam PSD implementing new water testing system - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Putnam PSD implementing new water testing system

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New system to test water at Poplar Fork Creek Reservoir New system to test water at Poplar Fork Creek Reservoir
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Water flowing through the Putnam Public Service District already goes through several rounds of testing, but another step is about to be introduced. The district recently purchased a source water monitoring panel that will alert supervisors if water flowing into the Poplar Fork Creek Reservoir is contaminated.

“It was a very important thing to have due to the recent water crisis with West Virginia American Water,” said James Evers, a chemist with Putnam PSD. “It opened a lot of eyes.”

Raw water flows from the Lower Kanawha River Watershed to the Poplar Reservoir. It is then pumped to the larger Jonathan Larck Reservoir, where it is held until treated at the plant. Operators say adding testing at an earlier stage will allow them to detect problems sooner.

"What we're looking for are basically pesticides, oil, diesel spills, that kind of things,” said Evers.

If water in the reservoir does become contaminated, supervisors will receive a message on their phones alerting them of the problem.

"If there were to be a spill, we could catch it before it flows into our large reservoir and still have three to six months of good source water,” said John Inghram, the water quality superintendent at Putnam PSD.

The new monitoring panel will also provide more comprehensive testing. It will provide various readings from oxygen levels to pH values. Inghram said the new system is a worthy investment, especially in the aftermath of the Freedom Industries spill.

“This was a real life paradigm, the very least we can do is learn from it,” he said.

The new system costs $39,000. The district hopes to have it in place in the next few weeks.