EPA launches public test of water quality for global program

GETTING READY: World Water Monitoring Day falls on Oct. 18 and the EPA is determined to put Taiwan's water-cleaning initiatives in the window


Wed, Oct 01, 2003 - Page 2

The public will be able to test the quality of the water in streams and lakes this month using US-made kits as part of a worldwide drive to improve water quality.

The scheme was prompted by the upcoming World Water Monitoring Day on Oct. 18.

Working with America's Clean Water Foundation and the International Water Association, the US Environmental Protection Agency this year will upgrade its water-quality monitoring activities to a global platform. People around the world are being urged to test the quality of their streams, lakes, wetlands and coastal waters.

At a press conference held by Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency yesterday, officials said Taiwan's participation will allow the nation's achievements in water-quality protection to be seen by the whole world.

Hsiao Hui-chuan (蕭慧娟), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Environmental Monitoring and Data Processing, said that the monitoring would be completed by Oct. 18, and results would be published on a Web site by the end of November.

"The global Web site will be an ideal place for other countries to learn about the water quality in Taiwan," said.

More than 2,000 students, teachers and community volunteers will be supplied with inexpensive and easy-to-use test kits. Monitors will be in charge of examining a core set of water-quality parameters including temperature, turbidity (clarity), acidity (pH level) and dissolved oxygen.

The EPA bought 200 test kits produced by America's Clean Water Foundation for the project. Each kit can test 50 samples of water.

"Most monitoring sites picked will be close to the EPA's monitoring stations in order to make a comparison," EPA Deputy Administrator Chang Chu-en (張祖恩) said.

Officials said that Taiwanese rarely think about personal participation in testing water quality because it had been a task carried out by professional labs for decades.

The EPA monitors water quality in 83 rivers by reading data collected by 301 monitoring stations.

World Water Monitoring Day 2003 is a follow-up of the US National Water Monitoring Day, held by America's Clean Water Foundation last year to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. More than 75,000 Americans participated in monitoring events and educational programs throughout the US.

To educate the public on global water resources, the US is encouraging other countries to share their experiences of water quality monitoring this year.

EPA officials said that the monitoring might be expanded next year in order to mark the 30th anniversary of the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法).