From Source to Tap

Purifying water from Meander Reservoir takes more than a conventional, household filter (i.e. Brita).  The Business Journal takes readers on a video tour of Meander Water's purification system.   Watch the video here: 

Meander Reservoir looking north at the MVSD spillway.  MVSD's gate house in the background.

Resolve to Recycle- A New Year's Resolution

 Jenifeer Palada-Valdez, 2nd grader at McGuffey Elementary

Each year Green Youngstown holds a calendar competition for students throughout The Youngstown City School District to take part in.  he City's public, private, and charter schools are encouraged to take part and inspire their students to create a picture based on the theme chosen by Green Youngstown.  The 2016 calendar theme was "Resolve to Recycle" and numerous students submitted their art work for judging by Green Youngstown's Keeping America Board.  The board chose 13 winners from over 400 entries (!), and it was noted that the decision was not easy to make.

"Wildcats" in Yellow Creek!

Residents of Yellow Creek, beware of the Wildcats wading in Yellow Creek! Not to be mistaken as the wild cats found on safari , these Wildcats are the students of Geoff Malcomson's Advanced Placement Environmental Science class.  In September these students spent a day at the 76-acre gorge area in Struthers running chemical tests to determine the concentration of nitrates, phosphates and dissolved oxygen. Also sampled were the macroinvertebratesto help determine the quality of the stream. Great Job Mr. Malcomson and class!  Keep up the great effort!
Picture Courtesy of SHS News and Melissa Kuntz

Thirsty for Knowledge?

Ever wonder what is in the water BEFORE it is treated by our (drinking) water treatment plants? Do you ever think about the process water goes through to be purified prior to reaching your faucet?  Well, here is an illustration placed above a Carnegie Science Center's drinking fountain! As you press on the button to get a drink of water, the water in the above, clear tube begins to bubble as if you were drawing your drink from it or in this case, filling your AWARE bottle! How Cool!
Thanks Carnegie Science Center!

What's the point?

A stream within a watershed is impaired.  So,what's the point?

It is hard to pinpoint the origin of  non point source pollution, but not for point source. A point source pollutant comes from a single source such as a pipe that can be traced to its origin (i.e. industry or wastewater discharge). Point sources are controlled and permitted and under regulatory authority of the Ohio EPA. Non point sources pose a bigger threat to the environment because they cannot be traced to a single place of origin. Non point sources include, but are not limited to, sediment, fertilizers, bacteria, oils/grease, and trash.

Are you water wise?

There are three water wise processes everyone needs to be aware of in their watershed. These three processes answer the following three questions:
  • Where does my drinking water come from?
  • Where does wastewater go? and 
  • Where does stormwater go when it rains?

Drinking water can come from one of two sources: surface water source (river, lake) or ground water (private residential well, underground aquifer). Depending on where you live in Mahoning County, your drinking water is either from a private residential well or from one of the following surface water sources: Meander Reservoir, Evans Lake, or Lake Hamilton. Raw surface water is taken in and treated by either Meander Water (Meander Reservoir) or Aqua Ohio (Evans Lake, Lake Hamilton) at their respective treatment plants. The U.S. EPA has an interactive diagram illustrating the water treatment process. Click here to view it.

Wastewater is used water that contains human waste, food particles, oils, soaps, and chemicals flushed from sinks, bathtubs/showers, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines. The used water flows down various drains to the local wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes a series of cleansing techniques before being discharged into a nearby receiving stream. The diagram was provided by the Mahoning County Sanitary Engineers Office and illustrates the treatment process for our area.

Stormwater is the end result of the water cycle.  It begins during the evaporation stage where surface water heats and vaporizes into tiny droplets if water.  As the warm vapor rises, it forms clouds. The water vapor in the clouds then cools and falls back down to the ground in the form of precipitation (snow, sleet, hail, rain).  The water, if not absorbed by the ground, runs off of impervious surfaces (driveways, roads, parking lots, roof tops) collecting chemicals (oil, grease, fertilizers) and/or bacteria (pet waste, manure, waterfowl waste), and flows into a nearby storm drain. Storm drains deliver the water, untreated, right back into a surface water such as a nearby stream or lake where the cycle begins again. Check out this interactive water cycle diagram to see how our Earth moves water!

Are you AWARE?

Do you know your watershed address?

As children our street address is forever engrained in our minds and we still remember it when we move away from home.  We grow up writing our address on EVERYTHNG- envelopes, school forms, job applications, medical forms, bills, etc.  But there is a little known secondary address most people do not know and that is their watershed address. Click here to find out what your watershed address is.

A watershed is an area of land that drains all the water to one common body of water such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean. Watersheds are defined by topography, or the lands' hills and ridges. 

Illustration courtesy of

No matter where you are, you are in a watershed!

The Delaware Nature Society surveyed walkers on the Christina Riverwalk about their knowledge of a watershed in the video,  Does your water shed?.

Green Scene by the Green Team

AWARE serves our watershed communities with excellent, specialized resource educators, all whom make AWARE a diverse group. The Green Team is one of the many great resource educators for residents and children of Mahoning County.  The summer edition of the Green Scene spotlights the hazards posed by balloon launches, Green Team composting seminars, watershed action planning and much more! Take a look inside the latest edition of the Green Scene to read and become familiar with the Green side of the county!

Harmful Algal Blooms

Watershed Action Plans- A conscience effort for combating Harmful Algal Blooms

Image from:
Summer time is in full swing and summer algae season (not to be confused with allergy season) is well underway.  It is not unusual to see a layer of algae on the surface of our region’s lakes, ponds, and streams and some algae is good.  However, in recent years harmful types of algae have become more prevalent and toxic to our nation’s surface waters.  Last year, the City of Toledo, issued a “do not drink” advisory for nearly half a million residents who relied on treated water from Lake Erie.  The advisory was a result of a harmful algal bloom (HAB) containing high levels of microcystis, a cyanobacteria.  

State Endorsement of Yellow Creek's Watershed Action Plan

Yellow Creek Watershed Action Plan Receives State Endorsement!

On May 18, 2015 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio EPA fully endorsed the Yellow Creek Watershed Action Plan.  This plan is the first for Eastgate and its Environmental staff and is one that has set the desire to complete other plans for the region.  The Yellow Creek Watershed plan includes many useful items to help improve water quality and protect our surface waters from non point sources of pollution.  Stay tuned for another watershed plan under construction for Meander Creek!