PILOT: Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Sciences: Building Science Communication Capacity for Water Quality Research: The Role of the Citizen Scientist

Grants and Contracts Details


The overarching objective of this project is to engage with Appalachian Kentucky residents in risk communication research regarding potential health effects associated with aging municipal drinking water systems and their impact on water quality. The pilot project will focus on Letcher County, KY. The Martin County municipal drinking water system has known operational issues and there are concerned citizens interested in communicating, through the assistance of scientists, the potential effects of water quality on health, particularly understanding what chemical and pathogen exposures may occur through exposure to drinking, bathing, and coming into contact with the water. This project addresses a critical barrier to the community and will leverage concerned community members, who will learn how to communicate and advocate effectively about the water quality issues. Data gathered here could be used to support efforts nationwide to address drinking water quality and human health. The specific aims are to: 1) collaborate with a previous CARES Pilot project focused on Appalachian drinking water and human health (Unrine); 2) conduct a risk communication audit to determine the public’s preferences for sources of water quality information, preferred channels and sources of information, trust of information sources, predilections for different message designs, and general information and scientific literacy; 3) develop educational and outreach messages through a collaborative process to use in a risk communication campaign and website about communicating water quality; 4) pilot the risk communication campaign; and 5) track the results of the campaign and collaborate with the public to develop ideas for an expanded study based on the pilot study results.
Effective start/end date5/1/173/31/21


  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


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