Straight From the River — Continuous Water Quality Data

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Curious about the water in ¬†Cheat River? Check out the graphs below to get an idea of what’s going on in the main-stem of the Cheat!

What was measured:

Conductivity is a measure of how easily a solution, in our case river water, conducts an electric current. Conductivity is affected by the presence of dissolved inorganic compounds, and is used as a general indicator of water quality. According to the US EPA, conductivity in rivers generally ranges from 50-1500 microSiemens/cm. The presence of Acid Mine Drainage generally causes conductivity to increase, due to the presence of dissolved metals like iron and aluminum.

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, and is represented on a scale from 1-14, where pH = 7 is neutral, pH < 7 is acidic, and pH > 7 is basic. The acceptable pH range for West Virginia rivers is between 5-9 pH units.

The conductivity and pH data shown was collected by Friends of the Cheat using two in-stream data loggers which logged measurements every thirty minutes for deployment periods ranging between 2-6 weeks. Discharge and temperature data was downloaded from the online USGS surface water database, from the gauge on the Cheat River in Albright, WV (USGS Water Data).

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Summary of Data from In-Stream Continuous Data Loggers

Cheat River above Albright, WV & Cheat Canyon – Fall 2013 & May 2014

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The range of pH values collected from both locations was between 6.2-7.6 which is considered acceptable according to EPA narrative standards for american rivers. The conductivity values measured in both locations ranged between 52-161 microSiemens/cm, which is also within the acceptable range of conductivity values according to EPA standards.

Cheat River Above Albright, WV which exceeds the EPA standards for conductivity (15- 1,500 microSiemens/cm). Conductivity values measured in the Cheat Canyon ranged between 581-15,200 microSiemens/cm, the maximum value exceeding EPA standards by a factor of ten.

October – November, 2013

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Cheat River Above Albright, WV

April – May, 2014

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Cheat Canyon

November – December, 2013

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Cheat Canyon

April-May, 2014

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