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DEP to launch another effort to study Susquehanna River

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | May 8, 2014 4:21 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The state Department of Environmental Protection will be back on the Susquehanna River for the third straight year, part of a project aimed at keeping the river healthy.

Susquehanna River

DEP staff combined to spend about 925 work days collecting samples from the water, testing for dissolved oxygen, temperature, and PH levels, plus fish, and insects. 

"We examine different types of fish, invertebrate and insects in order to determine levels of pesticides, PCBs and metals within the water," says Amanda Witman, spokeswoman for the DEP.

"All these things are indicators of the overall quality of the water."She says the data helps form a better picture of the river.

DEP will gather samples at three sites along the Susquehanna: Sunbury, City Island, and Marietta.

It will use samples from the Delaware and Allegheny Rivers to serve as a baseline for the testing.

"We are spending a lot of time on the river, and will continue to do so until we feel like we have enough data to justify our next move," says Witman.

DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo says it will use the samples to create policy based on science.

In 2013, the DEP and Fish and Boat Commission feuded over whether the lower Susquehanna River was impaired, based on the health on smallmouth bass in the river.

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