Straight From the River — Continuous Water Quality Data


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).


Summary of Data from In-Stream Continuous Data Loggers

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



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




Cheat River Above Albright, WV

April – May, 2014





Cheat Canyon

November – December, 2013





Cheat Canyon

April-May, 2014