Jul 30, 2013

Volunteers Needed for Rainwater Runoff Study

Runoff samples needed from houses in Port Townsend, Wash., with roofs made with composite material

Port Townsend Marine Science Center Roof Runoff Study

A storm water runoff study is being sought by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. The center is working alongside University of Washington Center for Urban Waters (UW) scientists who want to study the toxic chemicals that run from roofs.

Center personnel have been seeking roofs from houses that have been built or otherwise reroofed with composite roofing material. The houses should have been roofed in the last three years and ought possess metal rain gutters to keep the study consistent.

The sampling materials are to be fully collected through volunteering, and those volunteers will receive the test results at the completion of the study.

Sapling will be done once, and will take place during the first significant rainfall of the year, says citizen science coordinator Jamie Landry.

The UW scientists are said to be processing samples as they come in, and Landry hopes the results of the study will be in full by winter.

The study is calling for 10 to 15 Port Townsend area residences where the samples can be taken during the rainfall. All volunteers will be trained in advance to know how to collect the water properly. The collection process is simple, according to the scientists, but it is important to know how to avoid contamination or marginalizing the samples as well.

“We want to involve the community in this opportunity to learn what potential toxic chemicals are entering our storm water,” said Jean Walat, program director for the center.

“If you are unable to sample your own roof, but want it included in the study, a Port Townsend Marine Science Center volunteer or staff can sample for you,” Walat added.

“Likewise, if your roof doesn’t qualify, but you’d like to volunteer, we welcome your participation.”

Marine Science Center has initiated the study, and funding has been given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Urban Waters grant. The study is considered part of the toxic chemicals focus the agency is looking into as a worldwide problem facing water sources.