Pennsylvania Water Science Center


USGS Waterwatch:
Maps of Current Conditions

Pennsylvania Streamstats

Delineate watersheds and estimate streamflow

National Water Information System (NWIS)

View current and historical streamflow, groundwater level, and water-quality data for Pennsylvania

Real-time data

Historical data


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Answers

I.  Water Information


How can I obtain streamflow and groundwater level data?

Much of the historical data and current data for many stations in Pennsylvania can be accessed on the Pennsylvania Water Science Center Home Page at Links are provided for stations nationwide. If you do not have access to the World Wide Web, call or write the Information Specialist:

U.S. Geological Survey, WRD
215 Limekiln Road
New Cumberland, PA 17070
(Tel: 717-730-6979)
(Fax: 717-730-6997)

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How do I get low-flow and flood frequency statistics?

Streamflow statistics are available online. This web page also provides more information about streamflow statistics.

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Where can I get climatic data (precipitation, air temperature, windspeed, etc...)?

Contact NOAA at:

National Climatic Data Center
Room 120
151 Patton Avenue
Ashville, NC 28801-5001
(Tel: 704-271-4800)
(Fax: 704-271-4876)

Pennsylvania State Climatologist
503 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
(Tel: 814-865-8732)
(Fax: 814-865-3663)

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Where can I get river-stage forecasts?

River stage forecasts for Pennsylvania are available from NOAA on-line at:

National Weather Service Forecast Office, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

Note – Forecast for some site are issued routinely year-round, while others are issued as needed during times of high water, but are not routinely available.

The Ohio River Basin forecasts are made by the:

Ohio River Forecast Center
National Weather Service
1901 South State Route 134
Wilmington, OH 45177

For the Susquehanna, Potomac, and Delaware River Basins forecasts are made by the:

Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center
National Weather Service
227 West Beaver Avenue
Suite 402 State College, PA 16801

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How do I get information on wetlands?

For information on wetlands, the laws that impact them, and ideas for protecting wetlands, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website at

For information on wetlands available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit

State Distribution Centers

National Wetlands Inventory Maps can be viewed/downloaded at:

Other wetlands information may be available from:

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands
PO Box 8460
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8460


or contact U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at its appropriate District Office:

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Where can I get information on tides and charts?

For nautical charts and navigation information and products visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site:

Tide and ocean current information is provided at: National Ocean Service

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How can I get information on flood plains?

Contact: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Order flood plain maps and studies

To create your own online hazard map available from FEMA and ESRI, visit

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For Pennsylvania contact:

Chief of Floodplain Management
Dept of Community & Economic Development
Room 318, Forum Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(Tel: 717-720-7445)


Where can I get information on drought-related issues?

For drought monitoring conditions across the state, visit Pennsylvania Drought Watch

II.  Water Quality and Health Issues


Where can I get the water from my local well tested?

Look under laboratories in the yellow pages of your local telephone book for water testing services. Prices vary among companies and will depend on the test you request. Laboratories certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are listed in Excel or PDF format.

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Where can I get information on the health effects of radon and other substances in water?

Call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visit the EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water web site at

For information on radon you may also call the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Radon Division at 800-23RADON, or visit their web page at .

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Where can I find water-quality standards that apply to streams in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania water-quality standards are published in the Pennsylvania Code, Title 25, Chapter 93. These standards are compiled in a book available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at 717-783-2959. Information on water quality assessment and standards are available on the web at

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Where can I find standards for drinking water in Pennsylvania?

Drinking-water standards, both primary maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and secondary MCLs can be found on the WWW at,_standards___resources/21161#Standards.
Look under "Resources".

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Where can I find consumption advisories that are in effect for fish in Pennsylvania?

Look on the WWW at

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III.  Mapping and Related Topics


How do I obtain a USGS topographic map?

First identify the quadrangles you need from the state index, which can be obtained from the USGS by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS or from the Pennsylvania Geological Survey by calling 717-787-2169. Index maps for Pennsylvania and surrounding states are also available in local USGS offices for viewing only (see question26).

Online USGS facilities to assist in finding and ordering maps are available at

Pennsylvania quads are available online through Penn State University at

Maps may be purchased locally from commercial dealers (see your yellow pages or

For more information or ordering assistance, contact

USGS Information Services
Box 25286
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
(Tel: 888-ASK-USGS or 303-202-4700)
(FAX 303-202-4693)

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How do I obtain satellite images?


Customer Services
EROS Data Center
Sioux Falls, SD 57198
(Tel: 605-594-6151)

Or see the EROS Data Center's web page at

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How do I obtain an aerial photograph?


Customer Services
EROS Data Center
Sioux Falls, SD 57198
(Tel: 605-594-6151)

Or see the EROS Data Center's web page at


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How do I get data on map projections and other data on how USGS maps are made?

See the book "Maps for America" published by the USGS. (See question 14 to order this book).

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Where can I get information on benchmarks?

USGS survey benchmark data is not yet available on the Internet.

For vertical and horizontal control information on all USGS survey benchmarks in the eastern U. S., contact USGS - Rolla, MO by telephone at (573) 308-3500 or (573) 308-3511

For control information on all USGS benchmarks in the western U.S., contact USGS

- Denver, CO by telephone at: (303) 202-4400

If you need information on a National Geodetic Survey (formerly Coast and Geodetic Survey [C & GS] ) benchmark contact:

National Geodetic Survey, N/NGS12
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
(Tel: 301-713-3242)
(Fax: 301-713-4172)
( - Click on products and services)

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Where can I get information on datums and coordinate conversions?

The national Geodetic Service (NGS) programs NADCOM and UTMS are available for free downloading at:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has information on coordinate conversions and geospatial application software available at:

More sites with information on datums and coordinate conversions:

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Where can I get correction data for Global Positioning System (GPS) field files?

The National Geodetic Service (NGS) has GPS correction data available at:

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Where can I get information on the official names of physical and cultural geographic features or how to have unnamed features named?

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) is a Federal body authorized to establish and maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. Geographic name information for the United States, including how to have an unnamed feature named, is available at the BGN web site. A searchable database contains information about almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States. The Federally recognized name of each feature described in the database is identified, and references are made to a feature's location by State, county, and geographic coordinates.

IV.  Geology and Related Topics


How can I get information on earthquakes?

Historical data on major earthquakes in the U.S. (including Pennsylvania) is published in Professional Paper 1527. For other earthquake information contact:

National Earthquake Information Center
Box 25046, DFC, MS967
Denver, CO 80225
(Tel: 303-273-8500)
(Fax: 303-273-8450)

More information is available on the WWW at

Information about the September 1998 Pymatuning Earthquake is available at /projects/groundwater/pymatuning/ .

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Where can I get data on soils?

For data on trace metals in soils see USGS Professional Paper 1270; for other soils data contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service at:

State Conservationist
1 Credit Union Place, Suite 340
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(Tel: 717-237-2200)

A list of on-line soil surveys is available on the WWW at

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Where can I get geologic maps?

Generally, Pennsylvania Geological Survey Map 61 is the best source for geological maps of Pennsylvania. This is out of print but available in many libraries and on the WWW at The Pennsylvania Geological Survey, 3240 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown, PA 17057, Tel. 717-702-2017, Fax 717-702-2065 can provide a price list of geological maps that can be purchased from:

The State Book Store
1825 Stanley Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17103
(Tel: 717-787-5109)

To order maps published by the USGS contact USGS Information Services (see question 14).

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Where can I get information on mineral resources?

For information on minerals visit the USGS Mineral Resources Program at

V.  USGS Activities in Pennsylvania and USGS Publications


How do I obtain a USGS publication?

A list of publications for Pennsylvania is available on the Publications Page. To obtain copies of Pennsylvania Water Science Center publications contact the Information Specialist, or the USGS Publications Warehouse. Copies of other USGS publications may also be available from the USGS Publications Warehouse.

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How do I obtain information on projects and activities of the USGS in Pennsylvania?

Online information about Pennsylvania Water Science Center interpretive studies is provided here.

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How can I get information on job openings in the USGS?

Information about USGS careers and employment opportunities is provided at the USGS Employment Home Page. Current openings in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are posted at

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Where are USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center offices located?

The Pennsylvania Water Science Center Main Office is located at:

215 Limekiln Road
New Cumberland, PA 17070
PHONE: (717) 730-6900
FAX: (717) 730-6997

Other Pennsylvania WSC offices are located at:

Eagleview Corporate Center
770 Pennsylvania Drive, Suite 116
Exton, PA 19341-1129
PHONE: (610) 321-2434
FAX (610) 321-2509

1000 Church Hill Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
PHONE: (412) 490-3800
FAX: (412) 490-3828

Hepburn Plaza
439 Hepburn Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
PHONE: (570) 323-7127
FAX: (570) 323-2137

The Office of the Delaware River Master is located at:

Milford Professional Park
10 Buist Road
Bldg. 3, Suite 304
Milford, PA 18337
PHONE: (570) 296-7213
FAX: (570) 296-9414

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