Healthy Stream Recreation

Recreational activities like swimming, fishing, and paddling are great ways to be active outdoors and enjoy Chester County streams. When natural water conditions are poor, your chances of getting a water-related illness increase. However, you can prevent these illnesses with a few simple health and safety tips. Use the map below to view current water conditions and potential health risks at five stream locations in Chester County.

Current Water Conditions and Health Risks

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Low Risk

- Low risk for water-related illness (estimated bacteria levels <400 colonies/100mi). Take usual precautions when participating in recreational water activities.
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Increased Risk

- Increased risk for water-related illness (estimated bacteria levels >400 colonies/100ml). Avoid putting your head underwater, swallowing water, and exposing cuts or wounds to water, in addition to taking usual precautions when participating in recreational water activities.

How do we determine these recommendations? 


There is always a chance of getting a water-related illness when you are in a natural body of water. Your chances of getting a water-related illness are higher during heavy rainfall and for approximately three days afterwards. This is because bacteria levels usually increase when stream flows are high.
 
This website is developed in partnership between the Chester County Health Department, the Chester County Water Resources Authority and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Through this partnership, a way to estimate bacteria levels at five stream locations in Chester County has been developed. Based on this information, Chester County Health Department promotes awareness about water related health risks.
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USGS uses statistical models to estimate bacteria levels based on other water quality measures. Measurements are automatically collected every 15 minutes, and bacteria levels are estimated hourly. Estimated levels of bacteria may not represent actual bacteria levels, or upstream and downstream quality.  View project details on the USGS website.

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