VERONA -- Augusta County Supervisors will consider Wednesday whether to apply for government or foundation grants to pay for water monitoring of the nutrient pollution flowing through county rivers.
Supervisors were told during a Monday staff briefing that the monitoring in both the South and Middle rivers would provide reliable data on the amount of phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment pollution in the rivers. That pollution ultimately works its way to the Chesapeake Bay.
Augusta County Service Authority Director Ken Fanfoni and a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist said the monitoring would provide solid information to present to the federal government. Mandates to reduce the nutrient pollution are expected to be enforced on localities later this decade by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
But Fanfoni said the models being used to calculate the costs for localities like Augusta County are based on data nearly a decade old. Fanfoni said having current
data would allow the county to know where it is starting rather that "using an EPA assumption."
Fanfoni estimates that the county's portion of funding to do the monitoring would be more than $250,000 before any grants are received. He said the possible granting agencies could include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
There would be some basic sampling of the river as well as using satellite telemetry to monitor the nutrient pollution. Fanfoni said the USGS would pay to install the monitoring equipment and provide a portion of the recurring monitoring costs.
North River District Supervisor Marshall Pattie has been instrumental in suggesting the monitoring. Pastures District Supervisor Tracy Pyles said having the accurate information would be helpful especially when considerig the millions of dollars it could cost to lower the nutrient pollution.
Other supervisors expressed concern about the $250,000 plus costs of the monitoring.