The Susquehanna River is the longest river on the American east coast. It flows from upstate New York and western Pennsylvania for over 440 miles before entering the Chesapeake Bay. It is considered one of the oldest river systems in the world.

The Susquehanna has been subjected to various forms of pollution, including agricultural runoff, urban stormwater runoff, and raw sewage. The U.S. government has pushed for the cleanup of the river and proper monitoring of water quality.

Leading this effort is the Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, made up of faculty and students from Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University, Kings College, Lycoming College, Susquehanna University, and EcoAnalysts, Inc. Additional support is provided by the Pennsylvania American Water and Danville Municipal Water Authority. This collaborative effort is geared toward collecting data on water quality, ecological habitat, and geology of the river and selected tributaries in central Pennsylvania.

NexSens Technology was contacted to provide a water quality data telemetry system. Students and staff from Bucknell and Bloomsburg universities maintain the instruments and equipment. This system collects water quality and flow data from the Susquehanna River on the North Branch at Danville, the West Branch at Milton, and the Susquehanna River Confluence near Selinsgrove, Penn.

A 3-point monitoring system

YSI multi-parameter sondes measure water quality at three river locations. The sondes are connected to NexSens iSIC data loggers equipped with cellular telemetry. Every five minutes, the sondes measure water temperature, pH, ORP, turbidity, specific conductance, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, and depth.

This remote data is acquired wirelessly by a computer at Bucknell University running NexSens iChart software. iChart is used to communicate with the data loggers and serves as the centralized database for the monitoring network. The software also relays incoming data to a NexSens WQData website.

WQData is a secure web datacenter hosted by NexSens that provides an online interface for viewing environmental data. It allows anyone to view real-time water quality data being transmitted from the Susquehanna. Visitors may also view statistics and plots of the data, as well as download tables in Microsoft Excel format.

 

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