Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Westminster College received a grant for expansion of its Lawrence and Mercer County Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) program from Pittsburgh-based Colcom Foundation, whose mission is "to foster a sustainable environment to ensure quality of life for all Americans."
The local ALLARM program, a branch of the original program at Dickinson College, was founded by Westminster students Lance Jubic and Tyler Umstead and mentored by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster professor of chemistry and coordinator of environmental programs.
The ALLARM program is staffed by volunteers who are willing to monitor local streams, especially those near shale gas wells. Jubic and Umstead developed an award-winning website that includes water quality monitoring forms; real-time tables and graphs of data; and interactive maps.
"Through the Lawrence and Mercer ALLARM program, we are vigilant of our pristine watershed and we educate the public about hydraulic fracturing activities in our area," Boylan said. "Our website provides fracking information and serves as an interactive, real-time repository of water quality data."
Funds from the grant will be used for additional water quality monitoring equipment, publicity for the program, and outreach efforts to educate and recruit additional volunteers. As a part of the grant, all water quality data collected through ALLARM will be shared with 3 Rivers Quest, a public repository of water quality data.
Jubic, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major, is a son of Gregory and Mary Jubic of Leechburg and a graduate of Kiski Area High School.
Umstead, who earned a degree in chemistry, is a son of Daniel Umstead of Butler and a graduate of Slippery Rock Area High School.
Summer meetings for ALLARM are scheduled for Thursdays, July 31 and Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. in Westminster's Patterson Hall. The meetings are open to anyone interested in the program. Contact Boylan for details.