People learn how to test water quality at Lexington workshop
Volunteers in Lexington spent Thursday learning how to check bodies of water to make sure it's safe for those who come into contact with it.
The testing is part of an effort to ensure all creeks and streams in Fayette County are clean for those who want to enjoy them.
"I grew up hiking, fishing, camping, Boy Scouts. A lot of my very best memories are found in the outdoors," says Ben Rasp, one of the water testing volunteers.
Jennifer Carey, a water quality section manager with the Division of Water Quality, says the volunteers test and collect samples to make sure Fayette County complies with its stormwater discharge permit.
"These folks, once they're trained, will be able to go out and sample with staff," says Carey.
Volunteers are in the field look for things like pH, suspended particles, and dissolved oxygen. Samples are also collected and taken back to the lab, where they test for nutrients and bacteria.
"We know that we have a lot of impairment in our creeks and streams in Fayette County. A lot of it is related to urban stormwater pollution. So we're just trying to quantify the levels of pollution," says Carey.
Jennifer Carey says one of the most significant contributors is pet waste.
"If you have a dog, pick up after your pet. A lot of people do that when they're on walks, but maybe not so much when it's in their backyards."
Simple changes can help keep waterways clean so people can continue enjoying the great outdoors.
"It's a place for people to get together and enjoy the little things in life," says Rasp.
The next training for water testing is in April 2020. You don't need a background in science to volunteer.