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IU Study Shows Water Quality Lacking

A study of the Indian Creek watershed in Morgan and Johnson Counties finds that some contaminants are well above safe limits. Water quality was tested across more than 60-thousand acres of land, from southwest of Martinsville to east of Morgantown. Local residents then joined a community forum to learn more about the water quality.

Landowner Terry Fenimore said it’s important to have good quality water for various recreational activities.

“In our case we use the water for fishing, swimming and also many people take their drinking water right out of the lake.”

Fenimore said that in order to prepare their drinking water it must go through an extensive filtration and chlorination process.

Fred Burgess also owns land in the area, and he said the quality of water effects local residents especially farmers.

“It’s important that we have clean streams for the fish, wild life, and take care of the property and make sure we don’t pollute,” said Burgess.

A team of researchers including Julia Bond sampled 19 sites throughout the watershed. Bond said the watershed has several problems.

IU Graduate Research Assistant at SPEA Julia Bond said, “We saw a fair amount of nutrients in the water such as nitrogen and phosphorus along with sediments in the water suggesting some erosion throughout the watershed. We also saw high levels of E. Coli which is actually above the state limit and not something one would really want to see in recreational waters,” said Bond.

The IU study recommends reducing erosion and keeping livestock waste away from groundwater among a list of ways to improve water quality.

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