Citizen's Water Quality Testing (CWQT)


For Weekly Water Quality Data please visit The New York City Water Trail Association Website

 

For 20 weeks starting in May, volunteer citizen scientists from local boathouses and community groups collect weekly water samples for the CWQT program at boat launches and docks from Yonkers to Jamaica Bay. The River Project, the primary lab for the program, works with scientists at Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the Columbia University Earth Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Department of Sciences, Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College, Rocking the Boat, and LaGuardia Community College Biology Department to test the samples for microbes of the genus Enterococcus using US EPA approved protocols.

Enterococci live in the feces of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Their presence in the water is an indication of fecal pollution and the possible presence of pathogens that could be harmful to human health. Combined sewer overflow discharges and storm water runoff from streets are the primary contributors to fecal pollution in the Hudson River.

 

                                          Sample data for 2016 CWQT results at Pier 4 beach and Pier 40

                                          Sample data for 2016 CWQT results at Pier 4 beach and Pier 40

Results from The River Project and partner labs are disseminated to the public via the New York City Water Trail Association website, social media, and email blast every Friday evening throughout the boating season.

 

Locations of the over 60 sites that are tested by TRP and partners

Locations of the over 60 sites that are tested by TRP and partners

The goal of our program is to create a baseline of data that, when correlated with rain and tide information, can help better inform boaters and other recreational users of the harbor of likely water quality at their preferred access points and launch sites. We include basic tide and rainfall information along with our results to give boaters, other recreational water-users, and public interest groups the information they need to interpret our results and make informed decisions for utilizing the harbor safely.

Staff members incubate samples in TRP's lab

Staff members incubate samples in TRP's lab

Water sample analysis occurring under UV light in TRP’s lab

Water sample analysis occurring under UV light in TRP’s lab