U of M students invite residents to help conduct research on Wolf River

Testing the Memphis sands aquifer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If you pay your water bill to MLGW, a portion of your money is going toward research on the Wolf River.

On Friday, crews from the Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research (CAESER) program at the University of Memphis loaded up in canoes to do more research on the Memphis aquifer, which is a source of drinking water.

"This project specifically is going along the Wolf River in canoes with seepage meters -- that are actually two buckets and a urine bag that is going to be able to measure the flow between the aquifer and the river,” said Sarah Houston, CAESER Program Associate Director of Education Outreach.

The aquifer is roughly 300 feet below ground level, but there is concern that river water could be making its way in.

Houston said the point of this project is to see if that’s true.

"If we see the bag start to lose water into the river, that means there might be a breach below us where the river water is starting to infiltrate down into the aquifer,” she said.

The project is funded from 1.05 percent of residents’ MLGW water bills, so many of them were invited to tag along on the research trip.

Houston said they also had some folks on board who know the river best.

“We partnered with Wolf River conservancy to use their experienced river guides to help us navigate the river, know about river conditions and anything we need to be looking out for,” she said.

Then, once they get the results from all their tests, it will be passed along to a grad student to be analyzed even further.

Houston said this is one of five projects they are currently working on using this funding.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.