What’s In Your Water Part 3: Is Lead a Community Concern?

Written by Austin Pollack, WDTV on . Posted in Media, News

For the past few weeks, we’ve been warning you of the dangers of lead in water, and how older plumbing creates a higher risk of contamination.

Even though this is something utility workers are aware of, could it still come up in our area? 5 News spoke with many officials about this. They say there’s still that urge to check for lead pipes in your home, especially if they’re old. This is something water officials take very seriously, and they’re constantly checking their equipment to eliminate any potential risks.

With more attention focused on the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, that could have some wondering, could it happen in North Central West Virginia? 5 News spoke with a water expert from WVU, who said this is something officials in Morgantown took care of a while back.

“A lot of the old service lines were lead,” said Paul Ziemkiewicz, the Director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute. “That was one of the big problems in Flint, Michigan. I’ve talked to folks at Morgantown Utility Board, for instance, and they replaced their last lead service line, in 1986 I think.”

We’ve also told you about how important it is to be proactive about the situation in order to prevent some of the symptoms associated with lead poisoning. Some of those symptoms include:

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WRI Graduate Assistant is Recipient of New Rockefeller Scholarship

Written by WVU News on . Posted in Media, News

West Virginia University students studying within the new John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics now have the opportunity to earn a scholarship also bearing the former U.S. Senator’s name.

A $100,000 gift from Rockefeller to the WVU Foundation has created the John D. Rockefeller IV Leadership Award in Policy & Politics. Former Senator Jay Rockefeller endowed this scholarship in the hope that it would enable our best and brightest students to experience meaningful public service or research that would also help us collectively address some of our biggest policy questions or community challenges.

“My sincere hope is that this scholarship will allow star students to take an important step on their journeys to better understand how they can change their world today and into the future,” said Rockefeller.

The first recipient of this new scholarship is Michelle Sloane of Paramus, New Jersey, a student in the Master of Public Administration program. As a graduate student, Sloane has been involved in several public service projects, including developing community capacity in Fairmont, West Virginia and exploring budget frameworks for the WVU Extension Fire Service. She serves in a leadership role in the WVU Student Association of Public Administrators and volunteers with the West Virginia Botanical Gardens. Michelle also works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

“The Rockefeller Scholarship is the embodiment of the WVU land grant vision of enhancing the vitality and well-being of the people of West Virginia,” Maja Holmes, associate professor of public administration, said. “Michelle’s service-learning project represents the commitment of WVU students to make this vision a reality,” Holmes said.

Terms of the scholarship agreement call for recipients of the award to be undergraduate students who are participating in off-campus service learning opportunities related to policy, leadership, or public services in areas related to challenges facing the state of West Virginia. Second preference would be for graduate students doing direct public service, with the proper temperament, approach, and understanding of the culture and needs of the community in areas related to the challenges facing the state.

Sloane will be working to advance the creation of the Fairmont Black History Museum. The project will address the challenge of giving voice to an underrepresented part of the community, promote understanding of cultural diversity in West Virginia, and offer education and outreach opportunities to members of the greater Fairmont community.

“I am passionate about helping people access information and resources,” Sloane said. “I have worked with Fairmont in different capacities and look forward to the opportunity to delve deeper and help this particular community showcase one of its strongest assets – its rich cultural history.”

Recipients of the award will be required to prepare a report of their experience, which will be included in the John D. Rockefeller IV archives located in the WVU Libraries.

In November 2014, Rockefeller and WVU announced the naming of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at WVU within the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the announcement, Rockefeller and WVU designated the WVU Libraries as the permanent home of the John D. Rockefeller IV Senatorial Archives and dedicated the John D. Rockefeller IV Gallery in the WVU Downtown Library in honor of the Democratic senator’s nearly 50 years of public service to the citizens of West Virginia. For more on the naming and library archives, see earlier news release.

The Rockefeller gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion fundraising effort on behalf of WVU runs through December 2017.

WVWRI Project Highlighted in WVU Magazine

Written by WVU Magazine on . Posted in Media, News

The West Virginia Water Research Institute’s project to extract Rare Earth Elements from Coal Mining Waste was recently highlighted in the Spring 2016 Issue of WVU Magazine. Below is an except from that highlight.

Second Life of Mines

Buried in acid mine drainage are elements that the U.S. is almost exclusively importing. And since these elements are in our cell phones, defense applications, GPS technology, medical equipment, DVDs and rechargeable batteries, demand for them is increasing.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute and leader of the project said, “Successful development of this concept will generate an additional revenue stream for the coal industry, create jobs and incentivize acid mining treatment. At the same time, it will reduce U.S. reliance on foreign supplies of rare earth elements.”

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PADEP to Test Water at Beth-Center Schools Following WVU Preliminary Report

Written by Scott Beveridge, Observer-Reporter, Washington, PA on . Posted in Media, News

DEEMSTON – The state Department of Environmental Protection will test the water supply to Bethlehem-Center School District next week on the heels of a preliminary report from a university that shows the supply has elevated levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

West Virginia University Water Research Institute, which performed the water test in November and noted unacceptable levels of trihalomethanes at two Beth-Center schools, also will return to the district next week to perform a more in-depth analysis of the water, said Paul Ziemkiewicz, the institute’s director.

“It’s bad news,” Ziemkiewicz said Friday, adding the results from one test were not reason for the school district to panic.

Beth-Center Superintendent Linda Marcolini reached out to the institute last year after being concerned about tests that showed radiation in Ten Mile Creek. WVU performed follow-up tests on the creek and found the water to be within safe limits of radiation.

Read the full article on the Observer-Reporter website.