Pathogen Testing

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Are you adopting native seedlings from the Adams County Planting Partnership? 


Here are instructions for getting them off to their best start!

(Photo: Carol Deardorff)


Learn about our summer pathogen-testing project!

Most people know it can be unsafe to drink unfiltered water out of a stream or lake, even if the water is visibly clear. This is true almost anywhere, including Adams County. Places where public swimming is encouraged are required to test the water to make sure it isn’t overly contaminated. But in Pennsylvania we have many waterways—more than 1,000 miles in Adams County alone—and most of them are not tested regularly.

The Watershed Alliance has just wrapped up a water-testing program aimed at this issue. Thanks to a grant from the South Mountain Partnership, we sampled streamwater at 21 sites around the county this summer and tested them for harmful pathogens. Were currently analyzing the results—stay tuned to see what we found out! In the meantime, you can learn more here.


What to do if you see a spill in a local stream or creek

If you’re out enjoying one of our beautiful Adams County waterways and you notice something amiss—significant clouding, a strange color or odor in the water, a lot of dead fish—anything that could indicate that a spill has occurred upstream, here are some ways you can help protect your stream:

Call 911. One of the first concerns when you see a spill is to make sure the incident is reported immediately to the proper authorities—by calling 911 and reporting what you’ve seen, you’ll set those wheels in motion.

Take lots of photos. It’s important to document the spill with photographs, as early and as thoroughly as possible. You might try taking multiple photos at locations moving upstream toward the spill, if it’s safe to do so. Be sure also to photograph any dead fish or macroinvertebrates you observe. The photos may be useful to the DEP or the PFBC as they investigate the spill.

If possible, return to the scene after a few days to document any changes. Has the water cleared? Do you see any dead fish or insects? Take photos!


Protecting the waters of Adams County

The Watershed Alliance of Adams County is a member-based organization whose goals are to:

  • Help residents better understand the complex watershed issues affecting Adams County.
  • Encourage sound water management and land use practices that will promote a sustainable watershed resource.
  • Support a county-wide water monitoring program and data base to use for evaluating water resources.
  • Identify and carry out watershed improvement projects.
  • Maintain the viability and sustainability of the Watershed Alliance of Adams County.

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Read our most recent column in the Gettysburg Times!