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Students and Senior Citizens Join EPA in Water Monitoring Demonstration at Cobbs Creek

Release Date: 10/29/2003
Contact Information: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – High school and middle school students joined senior citizens and representatives from Environmental Protection Agency today in taking water samples along Cobbs Creek and then testing the water quality in those samples.

“This event is part of EPA’s national commitment to monitor water quality so that we can identify areas that need attention and also track our progress in reducing pollution in rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries and coastal waters. The more we know about water pollution, the more we can protect our valued water resources,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

During the event, students from Lincoln High School and Friends Central School in Philadelphia joined senior citizens from the Senior Environment Corps in demonstrating water-testing techniques along the banks of Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. They conducted four key tests to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity/clarity and temperature.

“Anyone can learn to monitor his watershed, and in the process, develop an understanding of the stressors that can adversely affect water quality,” said Welsh.

The Cobbs Creek sampling was one example of efforts across the country where volunteers monitor the condition of streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, coastal waters, wetlands, and wells. They do this because they want to help protect a stream, lake, bay or wetland near where they live, work, or play.

Volunteer efforts provide quality data and build stewardships for local waters. Volunteers make visual observations of habitat, land use, and the impacts of storms; measure the physical and chemical characteristics of waters; and assess the abundance and diversity of living creatures--aquatic insects, plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife. Volunteers also clean up garbage-strewn streams, count and catalog beach debris, and become involved in restoring degraded habitats. The number, variety, and complexity of these projects continues to increase.

Volunteer monitoring programs are organized and supported in many different ways. Projects may be entirely independent, or may be associated with state, interstate, local, or federal agencies with environmental organizations or with schools and universities. Financial support may come from government grants, partnerships with business, endowments, independent fund raising efforts, corporate donations, membership dues, or a combination of these sources.

More information on water monitoring is available on EPA’s website at