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Confluence of Susquehanna and Lackawanna Rivers

Mine drainage pollution from the Lackawanna River entering the Susquehanna River near Pittston, Pa. (above); Water quality monitoring equipment (below)

Equipment Panel


Susquehanna River Basin Commission
4423 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110
phone (717) 238-0423; fax (717) 238-2436

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) designed the Early Warning System (EWS) to help protect our nation’s water supply. Safe drinking water is a basic need for everyone and the first step towards safe drinking water is to have a clean source of water. The EWS provides a framework for innovative partnerships and protocols for fostering communication and data sharing among public water suppliers, state/local agency personnel and the emergency response community for the purpose of enhancing drinking water protection efforts.

The current EWS enhances protections for public drinking water supplies serving about 850,000 people, provides a monitoring network that helps minimize the impact from contaminant spills, and provides data for improving day-to-day treatment operations, further ensuring a continuous and safe supply of drinking water. Furthermore, with heightened national security concerns, SRBC’s EWS has become an important tool for participating water suppliers and emergency management officials.

The EWS was established for Pennsylvanian water suppliers with intakes in the Susquehanna River in 2003 and was expanded into the New York portion of the basin in 2006. The goal of the system is to monitor the river for changes in water chemistry and the presence of contaminates. The system consists of nine stations that monitor a minimum of pH, turbidity, and temperature. Four of the nine stations have enhanced monitoring for organic carbon contamination. Several of the stations also monitor for conductance and/or dissolved oxygen. The data collected by the nine stations help to minimize the effect of contamination events and improve day-to-day treatment operations.

Platform Image

Data platform for remote stations (above); Total organic carbon analyzer (below)

EWS Equipment

***During the winter season, data transmission schedules to the web site may be reduced for select stations to conserve power, since the stations are powered by solar panels which can be affected by snow/ice conditions and shorter daylight hours. In addition, water quality observations may be affected at times by ice buildup and/or blockages.