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WWALS Watershed Coalition to use grant money for more water testing

The WWALS Watershed Coalition says it will buy more water quality testing kits and supplies with grant money it received from the Georgia Power Foundation.
The WWALS Watershed Coalition says it will buy more water quality testing kits and supplies with grant money it received from the Georgia Power Foundation.(WWALS)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 1:44 PM EDT
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HAHIRA, Ga. (WCTV) - The WWALS Watershed Coalition says it will buy more water quality testing kits and supplies with grant money it received from the Georgia Power Foundation.

“Please accept our most sincere thanks for your recognition and support of WWALS Watershed Coalition and our work for clean, fishable, swimmable, boatable water,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “We look forward to a productive water quality testing program this year.”

The coalition advocates for conservation of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Sante Fe and Suwannee river watersheds in South Georgia and North Florida.

Georgia Power Southwest Region Director Joe Brownlee says it’s important for Georgians to know the state’s natural resources are safe.

“We’re honored to get to help,” Brownless says. “And [the coalition] helps do that by making awareness around water testing. And you build strong relationships I know now, coordinating with the City of Valdosta, making sure they publish their test results. Everything seems to be working and getting better.”

WWALS President Tom Johnson, Jr. says the grant from Georgia Power shows state leaders are acknowledging how difficult it is for a volunteer organization to do biological water testing over a huge area.

“The grant enables regular testing that can pinpoint multi-source pollution, which requires a varied response,” Johnson says. “It’s quite gratifying that both individuals and large companies realize this is a complex situation.”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman says the coalition’s water quality testing has already helped warn people when waterways are contaminated, find contamination sources and encouraged Georgia and Florida government organizations to test more.

“With these funds from Georgia Power we can do much more. Also thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James for introducing us to Joe Brownlee,” Quarterman says.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter says with more testing, the coalition can check to see whether fixes, like fencing cattle away from waterways, are actually working to improve the situation. Potter also encouraged governmental, educational and agricultural organizations to contact them about potential solutions to contaminations.

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