Regional Water Quality

Central Virginia watershed ecosystems are changing. The effects of urban development are physical, chemical, and biological.

With large areas of land disturbing activities and increasing amounts of imperious surface, increased runoff waters are carrying larger volumes of contaminates (i.e., nutrients, bacteria, pesticides, fertilizer) with slower infiltration.

Urban sources for these contaminates include parking lots, roads, construction sites, and private homes.

The Lynchburg College Water Quality Center addresses 3 primary concerns that threaten the safety of our surface waters:

Sediment

In addition to naturally occurring sedimentation, rapid development within Central Virginia is causing large deposits of sediment, negatively impacting the ecological balance of our surface waters. This added sediment is trapping nutrients and bacteria, further impacting the health of streams.

Eutrophication

Eutrophication is defined as the increase of chemical nutrients within the environment. Excess sewage run-off, fertilizers, and chemicals (point and non-point source pollution) are continually being deposited into our streams and rivers. The added nutrients are destructive to the ecological health of the water, degrading the quality in water, which diminishes recreational use and poses health risks to the citizens.

Shoreline Development

The Lynchburg College Water Quality Center promotes the balance of development with preserving a stable environment by protecting shorelines for environmental, recreational, cultural, and aesthetic reasons.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) routinely monitors for bacteria and nutrients, as well as the physical conditions of the water (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen). Lynchburg College Freshwater Ecology classes have developed similar water chemistry data. Collected water samples are used to measure and record several parameters. Lynchburg College data has been collected from 2000 to present.