8903107748_607ec14e32_oThe main objective of PCWA’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program is to improve water quality in the impaired Pompeston Creek by collecting water quality data that can be used in local and State decision making processes and by educating the residents of the watershed (using these data) on ways to reduce nonpoint source pollution and conserve water resources.  PCWA monitors stream health through our Volunteer Monitoring Program, using chemical monitoring, biological (macroinvertebrate) monitoring, and stream habitat assessments.

Because the Pompeston Creek is a small stream, NJDEP only monitors the creek for stream benthic macroinvertebrates (biological assessment) as part of their Ambient Biomonitoring Network (AMNET). This type of monitoring occurs once every five years. The AMNET site, AN0177, on Pompeston Creek is downstream of Mirror Lake at the Route 130 bridge crossing. Pompeston Creek has been ranked as moderately to severely impaired for aquatic life (using stream macroinvertebrates) by the NJDEP. See the results here.

PCWA’s current Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program was started in 1998 because a member’s Cub Scout troop wanted to do stream cleanups to remove large piles of bottles, cans, Styrofoam, and trash from the West Branch of the creek in Moorestown. NJDEP was not collecting bacterial or chemical water quality data in the Pompeston. Therefore, to be sure that the water would not be a health risk for the children during cleanups, PCWA began monitoring bacteria, phosphates, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH in the stream in Moorestown. These samples were collected by PCWA personnel and analyzed streamside except for bacteria, which were analyzed by NJDEP-certified laboratories.  A second site in Cinnaminson on the mainstem was added in 2004.

In 2001, PCWA consulted the NJDEP about poor water quality in Pompeston Creek.  Between 2001 and 2008, with assistance from NJDEP, Rutgers Extension Water Resources Program, The Watershed Institute and others, we were able to get our data to high enough quality that the NJDEP would accept it.  As a result, the Pompeston Creek was put on the 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Waters with Priority Ranking (the “Dirty Water List,” Appendix B of the NJ 2008 Integrated Report) for violating phosphorus and E. coli standards.

We use our data in our community and school education programs. We are also working with Rutgers Water Resources Program (through an NJDEP grant) to disconnect polluted stormwater from the stream by install rain gardens, rain barrels, and other best management practices throughout the watershed. At this point in time, PCWA is monitoring stream health through benthic macroinvertebrate assessment. The chemical and bacterial monitoring is currently suspended.

More detailed information on PCWA’s monitoring program and results can be found in our report: “The Status of Pompeston Creek from 1998-2008:  A Water Quality Monitoring Report”