On September 29, 2012, leaders from more than a dozen chapters met during Surfrider's West Coast Summit in Ventura, California to learn more about each others' water testing programs and discuss common challenges and best practices. The group heard presentations from Dr. Carl Berg on how the Kaua'i Chapter implements their water testing program. Ben Kay and four of his students from Santa Monica High presented their water testing program noting the various ways they communicate their data out in the community and the types of events they participate in throughout the year to raise awareness of local water quality and environmental issues.
Alan Walti, from the South Bay Chapter, presented his program's 'team captain' approach to organizing and implementing beach water sampling with students from multiple schools.
Some of the common issues that were discussed during this session include partnering with government agencies and elected bodies, use of sterile water, quality assurance plans, best practices for sample collection and quality control in the lab. A good suggestion was made to run sample blanks to ensure that contamination of water, equipment or glassware is not causing false positive results.
Our presenters had some tips to share on rewarding and keeping volunteers interested and participating in their programs. Carl Berg stressed the importance of sending the water quality results to his samplers as soon as it is available to show both value and appreciation for their efforts. Alan Walti talked about the different events that his chapter hosts throughout the year, including relevant field trips and an end-of- the-year party, to keep students excited about the water testing program.
Mara Dias also walked the group through the BWTF website and demonstrated how chapters can use this site to post and share their water quality data with easy, click-thru sharing to social media websites.
Download the South Bay Chapter's Captain's Manual here to see the type of information they provide their volunteers to ensure consistency with site locations, sampling procedures, and lab work.
Alan Walti's presentation can be downloaded from the South Bay Chapter's local information page. http://www.surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force/localinfo/lab-16
The Santa Monica High students' presentation can be downloaded from the West LA/Malibu Chapter's BWTF local information page. http://www.surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force/localinfo/lab-15
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), presented by Emergen-C Blue®, helps local chapters alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality issues and works to implement solutions. As clean water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, Emergen-C Blue is committed to supporting, enhancing, and extending the efforts of the BWTF by donating 20 cents for every box sold to further the important work being done to improve water quality. For more information about Emergen-C Blue and the Emergen-C Fund, please visit myemergenc.com/fund .