Seasonal Sampling Effort

Last December 2017, Town of Orleans residents and Virginia Tech researchers held a community meeting at the Fishers Landing Fire Department to discuss the preliminary results from the citizen science sampling campaign and subsequent laboratory-scale testing conducted at Virginia Tech. Discussions at this meeting indicated that there was interest and need for a follow-up study to further evaluate potential sources of chloride in the well water in the area.

Residents in the community listening to Hisyam explain the impact of road salt on corrosion rates.


Purpose of the study

Our team is collaborating with residents in the Town of Orleans area to characterize local groundwater quality. Specifically, we are investigating how chloride levels in groundwater change during one snowmelt cycle. This will give us all insight into potential sources of chloride (e.g., local salt barn, busy intersections, and geologic sources) and help us better understand the movement of chlorides from sources to well systems. Water quality testing results will be published to document the patterns and trends observed, but individual household information and results will be kept strictly confidential.

Corrosion occurring at a sink kitchen at a home in the Town of Orleans.


Follow-up Sampling Campaign

To help us answer these questions, residents have volunteered to collect a weekly water sample between January to July 2018. Once a week, residents will collect a first draw water sample from their kitchen tap like they are filling a glass of water. In total, each household will collect 24 samples. The samples will be stored at room temperature in the sampling box until all the bottles are full. The box will be given to Stephanie Weiss to be shipped to Virginia Tech for testing.

The samples will be stored at room temperature in the sampling box provided and sent back to Virginia Tech for analysis after 12 bottles are full. In total, residents will collect 24 water samples to characterize water quality in late winter, spring, and early summer.

For more information about this campaign, please check out our sampling video.


If you are interested in learning more about our study or interested in participating, please contact Stephanie Weiss or Kelsey Pieper.

Our Virginia Tech team is excited to continue to collaborate with the residents in the Town of Orleans. We appreciate their time, support, and engagement in this research activity!