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Stormwater Quality Testing

One thing that Bowling Green Public Works Staff has been able to safely do while social distancing, is water quality sampling. Water quality sampling and testing is an important part of environmental monitoring.  When water quality is poor, it affects not only aquatic life but the surrounding ecosystem as well.

The majority of the human body is comprised of water. Quality drinking water is important to our health and well-being. We use water daily throughout our homes for cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry and a host of other purposes. Water is critical to most items we purchase and consume in one way or another which is why we regularly test samples locally in the Bowling Green area. Sampling is completed quarterly and then as needed.  The Environmental Compliance Division staff will use the results of this testing to monitor the water for changes or problems. Below are pictures and descriptions from staff members Matt Powell, Nick Lawhon, and Courtenay Howell as they sampled water in various locations over the last several days, by both land and water.

The first photo shows Howell reading the water quality meter and recording measurements for ph, dissolved oxygen, temp, specific conductance, and NTUs or the measurement of turbidity/suspended solids in the water. This documentation follows along with the sample when it is delivered to WKU’s laboratory facility.  These measurements are logged for every test site.

This photo shows the confluence of Barren River and Drakes creek.  Sampling sites are on each side, just upstream from where these two come together.

This picture shows silt on the boat ramp at Boatlanding Road.  Silt is fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water and deposited as a sediment, especially in a channel or harbor. Periodically, parks maintenance scrapes silt that accumulates to help with safety as it can become very slick. Seen below, Powell is scraping the silt with a shovel for the tire path so the boat could be launched.

See below, the boat is headed to a sampling site called Wilkin Blue Hole. Wilkin Blue Hole is a  spring that feeds into Barren River.

In this photo, Powell is collecting a sample at Wilkin Blue Hole. Staff had to get out of the boat and sample from land because the water was high and a log over the water blocked the boat from getting to the site.

This next photo shows the sample bottles and water quality meter that is used by City staff.

One of the things that makes Bowling Green’s stormwater unique is the direct injection of runoff into our underground cave system.  Sample results that come back elevated may be red flags of illicit discharges or a direct pollutant source in the watershed.   Below, Powell labels a sample taken in Bypass Cave.

Carver Well, an injection well located off of Scottsville Road, is not accessible for direct sampling.  Nick Lawhon prepares a bailer which he will lower into the well to collect the samples.

Lawhon samples a surfacing stream at Church Karst Window.

One sampling site is a blue hole located in the Lost River Valley.

Lost River Rise, pictured below, is where the water flowing through Lost River Cave returns to the surface.  It flows from under a stone ledge, joins Jennings Creek which then flows into the Barren River.

Visit www.underbgky.org for real time water quality data and more info about what is under BG!