Research Overview


The goal of our project is to engage with local partners and experts to better understand and address small water system problems to ensure sustainable, affordable, and equitable water quality for Appalachian Ohio. We believe your input in this survey, participation in the water quality study, and participation in the cognitive mapping activity will help us better understand historical and current issues of water quality, system management, affordability, perceptions, and use in your community. We hope to gather data that will inform us on how to best work collaboratively with local organizations and agencies to execute strategies that sustainably and equitably address issues of tap water quality in the context of our human and natural systems.

The purpose of this water quality survey and sampling study is to obtain data in a format that can be integrated with cognitive mapping data and in combined systems modelling. Our aim is to investigate relationships between mental modelling data, socioeconomic data, water quality data, and data of current assets in the water systems.

As part of the water quality study, we will incorporate the assistance of community scientists, who will conduct in field testing of select water quality parameters and obtain samples from their household faucets (N=40) for laboratory testing. Samples will be analyzed for microbial and chemical water quality parameters (including microbial communities using handheld DNA sequencing, regulated microbial indicator species such as E. coli, total and chlorine, metals, disinfection byproducts, and other organics/inorganic species). Additionally, through partnership with the water utility, we will obtain source water and treated drinking water directly from the municipal or private water treatment plant for analysis.