Springs are a natural source of fresh, cold, flowing water that have undoubtedly attracted humans to them for millennia. Entire communities have been formed around springs, and many homes built before the 20th century were purposely built near springs.
MWA takes samples at various publicly accessible springs in and around the Youghiogheny River watershed each quarter to assess if they are up to drinking water standards. These springs are assumed to be potable (safe to drink) by the communities around them, but most, if not all, have no easily accessible record of their water quality to make that decision.
Please read the results and descriptions of the parameters before drinking. We will continue to update this page as we do quarterly water sampling at these Roadside Spring locations. If you have any questions, please email Taylor@mtwatershed.com or call 724-455-4200 ext. 5#.
Quarterly Roadside Springs Report
🟢 = safe | = caution | = do not drink
|Spring Site||Month Sampled||Overall Quality||Comments||Acidity to pH 8.3 (mg/L CaCO3)||Specific Conductance (umhos/cm)|
|EPA Drinking Water Standards||-||-||-||-||-|
|Red Dog||March||🔴||E. coli present||-22||118|
|Ore Mines Drill||March||🟢||-96||343|
The Springs We Sample
Red Dog Road
There is a pipe on the hillside near the intersection of Red Dog Road and Calvary Church Road.
This site has shown increased levels of E. Coli, likely from the surrounding farmland.
Ore Mines Drill
There is a stone pillar with a pipe and parking area by the intersection of Park Road on Ore Mine Hill Road.
Beck Springs consists of 2 large pipes by the bridge over Jones Mill Run on Jones Mill Run Road. It flows heavily year round.
This is a small spring flowing on the surface that is directed into a pipe on Bando Road. It’s the pipe on the left.
Blue Hole Spring flows from the streambank into Blue Hole Creek. It’s just downstream from the kiosk and swimming hole on Blue Hole Road.
There is a watering trough at the summit on Route 40.
Coming from Indian Head Road–on Neals Run Road, look for a cooperative hunting access sign with an access road blocked by rocks on your right. There is a black pipe coming out of the hillside on the left past the rocks.
Coordinates: 40.022085, -79.332929
Spring Parameter Explanations
These parameters were chosen since they are some of the common contaminants in waters of our local area. Our sample results are compared to the EPA’s Primary and Secondary Standards (some parameters do not have an EPA standard) to determine “red”—unsafe, “green”—safe status. These are strict safety standards, and we provide explanations of each parameter so you can properly use your judgement when getting water from these springs.
Water’s resistance to upward changes in pH—becoming more alkaline.
Water’s resistance to downward changes in pH—becoming more acidic.
Measured on a scale of 0-14, this number tells how acidic or alkaline water is. pH less than 7 is acidic, pH of 7 is neutral, pH higher than 7 is alkaline.
TSS (Total Suspended Solids)
This is the concentration of solid particles floating around in the water. It’s measured in milligrams of suspended solids per liter of water.
This is a measure of water’s ability to conduct electricity. A higher or lower conductivity correlates to a higher or lower amount of dissolved minerals and metals in the water like calcium or iron. The more minerals and/or metals that are dissolved within the water, the higher the specific conductivity.
This is the concentration of sulfate in water measured in milligrams per liter of water. It’s typically accompanied by a rotten egg odor or salty taste in high concentrations.
This is the concentration of aluminum in water measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water. Aluminum contamination is usually invisible, and any water with aluminum concentration greater than 0.2 mg/L should not be drank as aluminum poisoning can mimic dementia and impact organ functioning.
This is the concentration of iron in water measured in milligrams per liter of water. Iron in drinking water is mostly harmless, but it can make water have a metallic taste and results in orange staining on surfaces.
This is the number of colonies of E. Coli bacteria per 100 milliliters of water. We do not recommend drinking water with any measurable amount of E. Coli since that points to fecal contamination (sewage, manure, wild animal waste etc.) which can results in extreme sickness.
This is the number of total coliform bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters (MPN/100mL) of water. Coliforms are a common type of bacteria present in water and soil that are mostly harmless, but some can cause mild to severe illness (like E. coli). EPA drinking waters standards are 0 MPN/100mL, but given how widespread and numerous these bacteria are, it’s practically impossible for water sources to meet that standard unless ran through some kind of treatment. Naturally, these roadside springs will have some measurable level of total coliform, but use caution.
This is the concentration of manganese in water measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water. In concentrations above 0.05 mg/L it can cause water to have a metallic taste and leave black stains on surfaces. Concentrations much greater than 0.05 mg/L can cause neurological problems. Sources vary on what this dangerous level is, but it’s sighted as anywhere from 0.1 mg/L for infant toxicity to 0.3 mg/L for toxicity to adults.