Officials to test quality of Pennsylvania water

What’s the water like in Pennsylvania?

That’s what a water quality snapshot day, being held Tuesday, aims to find out.

According to Matt Carroll, a writer for Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, volunteers along with representatives from Penn State, Trout Unlimted, and the U.S. Forest Service will be heading into the Allegheny National Forest to collect water quality data. The goal, according to the program’s flyer, is “to assess water quality conditions throughout the forest and establish a baseline for future comparison.”

Samples taken on Tuesday, between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., will be analyzed at Penn State. “The samples could show if there is contamination,” said Carroll, but he said that “just as importantly, collecting samples from places across Pa. gives us a better idea of baseline water quality in the state. This is something that will help us better understand how water quality in the state changes over time,” he added.

The day will begin with a 9:30 a.m. meeting in Sheffield where volunteers will sign in and receive monitoring instructions. At 10:30 a.m., teams of two or more will be assigned between 4-8 monitoring sites and provided with detailed directions for each site, where they’ll be gathering samples until 3:30 p.m., when they will meet back in Sheffield to drop of samples and data.

Among the data collected will be standard streamside measurements for things like conductivity, pH, and water temperature, acid neutralizing capacity and alkalinity, a survey of dissolved metals and nutrients, and how much, if any methane is in the water.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find out if spots are still available by providing their name, email address, phone number, and mailing address to Jake Lemon at or calling (814) 779-3965.