PA-DEP Unveils Susquehanna River Study Video

PA DEP Release
16 January 2014

Harrisburg – DEP today announced the launch of an all-new educational video about the ongoing water quality study on the Susquehanna River.

“This video illustrates the complexity and rigorous nature of a technical and time-consuming scientific study,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “With a renewed focus on public education, resources like this video are essential to teach Pennsylvanians about this important issue.”  

Since beginning the study in 2012, DEP scientists and staff, in cooperation with other federal and state agency personnel, are conducting an analysis of the Susquehanna River’s water quality, water flow, sediment, pesticide and hormone levels, invertebrates and fish tissue.

The investigation was broadened in 2013 to include tributaries to the Susquehanna River and its West Branch, as well as the Juniata River. The study was also expanded to explore the cause of a number of issues affecting smallmouth bass in certain areas of the river.

In 2012, DEP staff spent 187 cumulative work days sampling on the river. In 2013, that number grew to 927 cumulative staff days. There were more than 2,600 water quality samples collected on the Susquehanna River by DEP staff in 2013.  

Samples are being studied and analyzed by DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories, the U.S. Geological Survey and Central Michigan University. 

DEP continues to work in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat and the Susquehanna River Basin commissions on portions of the study.

DEP staff is currently examining the samples collected in 2013 before the start of the 2014 sampling season. This summer marks the third year of the study, and a sampling plan is being developed in advance of the summer sampling season. Sampling efforts on the Susquehanna River will remain ample until DEP has collected enough data to draw conclusions about the overall health of the river and what, if any, action is needed. 

DEP worked with Commonwealth Media Services to produce this video. It is the second in a new series of educational videos DEP is developing as part of its Public Participation and Education Initiative launched last fall. 

The new video is available on the department’s YouTube channel at

For more information visit and click the “Susquehanna River Study Update” button.

Media contact: Amanda Witman, 717-787-1323