Rivers Run Through This
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December 10, 2020

Rivers Run Through This


Proposed settlement would require Marshall County plant to limit mercury pollution, 

Two environmental groups entered into a proposed consent decree settlement agreement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Monday aimed at limiting mercury pollution from a Marshall County chemical plant and to ensure further conservation efforts there.

The proposed agreement that the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the Sierra Club entered into with Eagle Natrium, LLC, would resolve the groups’ claims that the company violated its permit limits for mercury discharges into the Ohio River from its chlor-alkali facility in Natrium, in Marshall County, if the court approves it.

Per the proposed agreement, Eagle Natrium would install a mercury treatment system designed to treat up to 300 gallons of water per minute, provide OVEC and the Sierra Club quarterly progress reports on the status of the mercury treatment system, pay a $25,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury and a $190,000 sum to the West Virginia Land Trust to fund an Ohio River methylmercury reduction project.

Eagle Natrium would also pay attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by OVEC and the Sierra Club totaling $171,924.

To read more about this settlement, click here.
Ohio River Foundation launches Save Our Parks program

Ohio River Foundation (ORF) has launched Save Our Parks, an invasive species removal program. A division of ORF’s habitat restoration work, Save Our Parks will combat invasive species on public lands in the 22-county area around Greater Cincinnati.

“This program supports the efforts and goals of landowners to reduce land management costs by removing invasive species, restoring native habitats and reestablishing biodiversity to strengthen climate change resiliency,” said Rich Cogen, Ohio River Foundation’s executive director. “We’ve removed hundreds of thousands of invasive plants from hundreds of acres of park lands, and we’re now growing the program to improve even more public spaces.”

Examples of invasive plants in our region include Amur honeysuckle, Callery pear and lesser celandine. These invasive species are not native to the Ohio River watershed’s ecosystem. Often transported through human activities, they spread rapidly and crowd out native plants.

To read more about the Save Our Parks program click here!
Hussey Copper Charged with Polluting Ohio River

Hussey Copper in Leetsdale has been charged in federal court with violating the Clean Water Act by discharging oil, copper and other pollutants into the Ohio River.

The company is set to enter a guilty plea and be sentenced Dec. 15 before U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV.

Hussey was charged Nov. 30 with three counts of submitting a false discharge monitoring report, discharging oil and failing to make a notification of an oil discharge.

"Protecting Western Pennsylvania’s precious natural resources is a serious responsibility and a priority of this office,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in a statement Tuesday announcing the charges. “As the filing of this Criminal Information makes clear, polluting Western Pennsylvania’s waterways and lying about it are crimes that will not be tolerated. If you pollute and try to cover it up, you will be investigated and prosecuted.”

To read more about this story click here!

3RQ Updates

Recap from 3RQ Roundtable Session One

On Wednesday, December 12, 2020, Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) hosted their first session of the virtual roundtable series. The roundtable began with Melissa O'Neal, the program manager of 3RQ, discussing the background of this organization and what they do. In short, 3RQ is a grant-based organization under the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI). 3RQ monitors many sampling sites throughout the Upper Ohio River Basin and samples for various parameters with a focus on total dissolved solids (TDS). Other projects 3RQ is involved in include volunteer data and targeted studies, more information on these topics can be found on their website.  

The second speaker for this session was Lisa Barreiro who is the data manager for 3RQ. Lisa's main focus deals with WATERS which is water data "warehouse" as she likes to call it. This database allows 3RQ members and its volunteer affiliates to export their water data into this website where it will be safe and secure. WATERS does not analyze data, rather it holds all data information so other members within the 3RQ organization can have easy access to it.   

The last speaker of the day was an undergraduate water researcher at West Virginia University named Jude Platz. Jude works with the 3RQ Maps which can be found on the website under the "Data" tab. These maps include all site coordinates for the monthly 3RQ sites and is interactive which allows the user to view the parameters for a specific site during a monthly period. Lastly, Jude discussed his work on creating a water report card, this excel sheet allows water samplers to import their water data and the algorithm will give you a grade (A-F) for each parameter based on EPA standards. Overall, this session gave a brief overview of the wonderful projects and tools 3RQ is working on, make sure to register for 3RQ's next session on Wednesday, January 6, 2020, for more information on water organizations!

Click here to view the recorded session.
Targeted Study Highlight: Pitthole Creek

In recent years, 3RQ and its partners have been doing research on the Pithole Creek Watershed which is located in Venango and Forest counties of Pennsylvania. This watershed has a history of conventional oil production that has lead to negative impacts on the quality of streams located in and around this area. To learn more about 3RQ's efforts to address these issues read the fact sheet here, or view a story map here!


3RQ Virtual Roundtable Series

This series, hosted by Three Rivers QUEST, will consist of monthly online meetings where organizations are given a platform to speak about their current projects. During each session, 4 different speakers will give a short presentation on their organization’s work followed by a Q&A session. The purpose is to bring together those doing similar work, learn about new projects, and, most importantly, ask the question, “How did you do that?”

The sessions will be held on the first Wednesday of each month from December through February. Each session will take place from 2:00-3:00 PM. Click here to register for the upcoming events!

1/6/21 Current Work of 3RQ Volunteer Groups Part I

2/3/21 Current Work of 3RQ Volunteer Groups Part II
West Virginia Water Research Insititute Seminar Series

This series, hosted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute, will consist of monthly online seminars, each focusing on current research pertaining to a particular topic. Presenters will consist of various researchers affiliated with WVWRI, many of whom will be undergraduate and graduate students involved in research projects. During each session, 3 speakers will give a short presentation on their research with a Q&A session following each presentation. The purpose of this series is to share current water-related research with interested outside organizations and the public. Click here to register.

The series is currently running from November to February, with events taking place on the third Wednesday of every month from 2:00-3:00 PM.  The upcoming dates and topics are listed below:

12/16/20 USGS Research Projects

01/20/21 WV Brownfields Assistance Center

02/17/21 Acid Mine Drainage Research & Remediation

Grant Info

Small Grantmakers Supporting Water Quality and Water Resources

The Cornell Douglas Foundation funds projects in five areas: Environmental Health & Justice, Land Conservation, Sustainability of Resources, Mountaintop Removal Mining, and Watershed Protection. Based in Maryland, the Foundation does fund projects in the 3RQ geographic area.

Grant size is $10,000-$15,000 with an average amount of $10,000. Applications are accepted at all times during the year. The application process is straightforward and easy. Applications are to be submitted by regular mail, not by email faxes. Provide the following:

  • Introductory letter providing information about the organization
  • 1 – 2 page summary of project for which funding is requested
  • IRS determination letter of 501(c)(3) status
  • Recent 990 form.  *This can be submitted by email.
  • Project and organizational line item budget
  • Other sources of support: amounts secured and amounts requested

The application process can be reviewed at and Previously funded projects can be reviewed at

Cornell Douglas Foundation
4701 Sangamore Road
Suite 133 South
Bethesda, MD 20816

For more information on available grants, visit our 3RQ website here, or click the button below!

Grant Information
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3RQ Funded by: Colcom Foundation
3RQ REACH 4Schools Funded by: PADEP and EQT

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