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Philadelphia Water Resources Monitoring Program
A cooperative project with the Philadelphia Water Department

Definitions

PADEP Water Quality Standards Definitions

All surface water in Pennsylvania, including rivers and streams, are rated according to their use and quality. For example, a stream can be rated according to the type of fish habitat it supports. Water-quality criteria (the environmental laws and regulations that apply to the chemical and physical properties of surface waters) follow these ratings, or "use designations". In this way, the water-quality rules can match more closely the needs of the indigenous biological communities found in different types of waters. For example, PADEP water-quality criteria for DO and temperature depend on what types of fish and aquatic life are found in each characteristic habitat. Since it would be difficult to measure the exact needs of each aquatic species found throughout the state, water-quality criteria mostly focus on trout, which belong to the salmon family. Waters are rated according to whether trout can tolerate the natural dissolved oxygen and temperature conditions found in a stream.

Cold Water Fishes (CWF)
Maintenance or propagation, or both, of fish species including the family Salmonidae and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a cold water habitat.

Trout Stocking(TSF)
Maintenance of stocked trout from February 15 to July 31 and maintenance and propagation of fish species and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a warm water habitat.

Warm Water Fishes (WWF)
Maintenance and propagation of fish species and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a warm water habitat.

Migratory Fishes (MF)
Passage, maintenance and propagation of anadromous and catadromous fishes and other fishes which ascend to flowing waters to complete their life cycle.

Description of Water Quality Parameters

pH
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Dissolved oxygen (DO)
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Discharge (Q)
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Gage Height (GH)
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Specific conductance at 25 °C (K)
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Precipitation (PPT)
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Turbidity
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Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)
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