Swim Guide Monitoring Program

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Bacterial Monitoring in the Cheat River Watershed

Summer Intern Hayden Chadwell tests the water at the Cheat River Festival Site in Albright, WV

Summer Intern Hayden Chadwell tests the water at the Cheat River Festival Site in Albright, WV

Friends of the Cheat has developed a new water quality monitoring program to monitor bacteria levels in the water at several popular public Cheat River access locations. The program monitors for E. coli, which is naturally found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. If found in higher concentrations, it may be an indicator of fecal contamination. Common sources of E. coli include faulty septic systems or sewage systems, and fecal matter from animals and pets.

This program was developed in response to increased concern about sewage pollution from failing municipal sanitary sewers and private homes (read more, Preston County Sewer Issues, Into the Canyon, Winter 2017).  So far, however, none of the samples collected by Friends of the Cheat have exceeded the US EPA’s recommended standard for recreational contact  (swimming). You can check out the latest results at www.theswimguide.org and search for “Cheat” or view the map of all Swim Guide sites.

FOC regularly samples nine public river access sites: Holly Meadows access point on the Cheat River Water Trail, Riverview Lounge in Rowlesburg, Rowlesburg Park (upper and lower), the Cheat Narrows (upper and lower), the Cheat River Festival Grounds access point for the Cheat Canyon, Jenkinsburg Bridge Canyon takeout, and Cheat Lake Millstone Point Beach.

If you would like more information or would like to volunteer for the program, please contact FOC Restoration Program Manager, David Petry, at David@cheat.org.

Click here if you would like to donate to the program or sponsor a monitoring location.