By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaJerry Walker thinks Georgia does a great job controllingemissions. And he should know. Twenty-five years ago he set up amonitoring site that analyzes chemicals in the state’s rainfallthat contribute to acidic rain.Now an emeritus professor with the University of Georgia, Walkerset up the first long-term wet-deposition monitoring site inGeorgia in 1978. The site was at a UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences farm in Pike County.Now one of six in Georgia, the site is part of a 250-site networkrun by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program. Many sourcesfund the NADP, including state agricultural experiment stations,universities, industries and federal agencies.Analyzing the nation’s rainThe sites collect rain and snow samples across the nation.Scientists analyze them weekly for their chemical makeup. Thelower a substance’s pH, the more acidic it is.”By measuring and analyzing the rain, we can determine itslong-term effects on agricultural crops, forest and theenvironment,” Walker said. “The monitoring system allows us totrack the chemistry of storms and evaluate potential impacts ofnew sources of emissions.”John Melin, an engineering program specialist, has collected therain samples at the UGA site from the beginning. Every Tuesdaymorning, Melin and site operators across the nation collect,weigh and measure the pH of samples from their sites. Then theymail a subsample to the national office in Champaign, Ill., forfurther analysis.”Acid rain was a big concern in the 1970s,” Walker said. “But youhave to realize that normal rain has a pH level of 5.6, so it’salways a little on the acidic side. That’s because the carbondioxide in the air creates carbonic acid, which dissolves intothe rain.”Levels vary from state to statePure water has a pH of 7.0. In 2000, the most acidic rain in theUnited States had a pH of 4.3, according to the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency.In 2001, southwestern Ohio’s pH was 4.4. The Pike County, Ga., site’s pH was 4.8, Walker said. “It’s really hard to compare pHlevels, as they vary. It could be 4.3 in Pennsylvania and 5.5 inCalifornia.”Acid rain is worse in the Northeast and Midwest than in Georgia,he said.”That’s because of the emission of gases from the power plants… burning coal for fuel,” he said. “This creates a lot ofsulfur dioxide, which leads to sulfuric acid in the rain.”Scientists have confirmed that sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxidesare the main causes of acid rain. The EPA reports that two-thirdsof all sulfur dioxide and one-fourth of all nitrogen oxides inthe United States come from electric power generation.In Georgia, an estimated 26.7 percent of the sulfur emitted byutility units is returned through precipitation, Walker said.Plants benefit from the sulfur”Scientists have long recognized the importance of this elementto plant growth,” he said. “In some locations, sulfur is added todeficient soils.”Walker said he’s pleased with his 25 years of monitoringprecipitation in Georgia. “Our state panned out a lot better thanI thought it would in the beginning,” he said.”But that’s because we’ve made changes,” he said. “We’ve addedcontrols to our smoke stacks and decreased our auto emissions.Georgia’s a lot better off than some other states. So it’s notall doomsday like you often hear.”The goal of the national program is to pinpoint problems andrecord long-range trends.”The program’s data shows that, in general, things are better nowthan they were when the monitoring program was first started,”Walker said.To view the program’s findings, visit the NADP Web site(nadp.sws.uiuc.edu).
Visitors from five European countries are touring Donegal this week as part of a story writing and sharing project.The Craoibhín Community Enterprise Centre Termon are taking part in the Storysavers Project, an EU funded activity through Léargas.The visitors will learn about the beauty and history of Donegal through trips, exhibitions and storytelling sessions. The itinerary is packed with visits to Glenveagh National Park, Downings, Dunfanaghy, Joe Brennan at the library and a storytelling session in The Thatched Cottage Kilmacrennan.The visitors are from Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Wales, and France.Staff from Craoibhin are gathering tales from the local area and producing an e-book. They have spent days with historians, senior citizens and school students to collect stories.Within the last year, Craoibhin staff have travelled to Norway, Greece and Czech Republic as they compile their Storysavers book. EUROPEAN GUESTS VISIT DONEGAL ON TALE TELLING TRIP was last modified: September 19th, 2013 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:storysaversTermon