UofM’s CAESER to Host Public Meeting on Aquifer Study

Residents of Shelby County have long touted their high-quality drinking water, but the underground resource is now threatened by historical pollution as natural gaps, or "breaches," in the protective clay layer above the Memphis aquifer have been discovered.

The Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research (CAESER) at the University of Memphis, under the Herff College of Engineering, was awarded $1 million a year from Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) to study clay breaches in the Memphis aquifer and their impacts to water quality. Little is known about the size, shape and characteristics of these breaches, including how quickly water and contamination can travel through them.

Funding for this research is citizen-driven, through the collection of 1.05 percent of MLGW water bills. CAESER will host two public forums per year to update the community on the research progress and findings. The first of these meetings will be held Monday, April 8, from 6:30–8 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.

The program will begin by providing an overview of the Memphis aquifer – what exactly lies beneath our feet – followed by a short video screening to review the importance of the overall project featuring interviews from MLGW, Protect Our Aquifer, Tennessee Valley Authority, CAESER and Memphis City Council member Patrice Robinson. CAESER's director, Dr. Brian Waldron, will then explain the goals of the research and outline the first five recently initiated projects. The last 30 minutes will be reserved for questions from the public.

Light refreshments will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to register through the EventBrite link and to invite friends, family and neighbors.

For more than 25 years, the Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research (CAESER) at the University of Memphis has studied the Memphis aquifer. CAESER is a research center under the Herff College of Engineering, comprised of a professional staff, University faculty and highly-motivated students to strengthen communities by improving environmental and social conditions through collaboration and research. Strengthencommunities.com

Sarah Houston, Associate Director of Education and Outreach