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Two students smile at the camera as they hold their water specimen

For 20 weeks starting in May, nearly 70 volunteer citizen scientists from local boathouses and community groups collect weekly water samples for the Citizens’ Water Quality Testing Program (CWQTP) at boat launches and docks from Yonkers to Jamaica Bay. All samples are tested for microbes of the genus Enterococcus using the US EPA approved IDEXX Enterolert protocols.

You can view the map here.

Enterococci live in the feces of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Their presence in the water is an indication of fecal pollution and the possible presence of pathogens that could be harmful to human health. Combined sewer overflow discharges and storm water runoff from streets are the primary contributors to fecal pollution in the Hudson River. By gathering this information it is sought to create a baseline of data that, when correlated with rain and tide information, can help better inform boaters and other recreational users of the harbor of likely water quality at their preferred access points and launch sites, that they may interpret our results and make informed decisions about utilizing the harbor safely.

Specimens lit up under blue lights

Results are disseminated to the public via the New York City Water Trail Association website, social media, and email blast every Friday evening throughout the boating season.

If you would like to volunteer or be added to the water testing email list please send an email to

To download or view a list of sampling Do’s and Don’ts, click here.

To watch a video on How to Take a Water Sample, click here.

We invite all interested parties to join the CWQTP google group at

Partner Labs:

Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the Columbia University Earth Institute
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Department of Sciences
Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Brooklyn College
Rocking the Boat
LaGuardia Community College Biology Department
Bronx River Alliance
St. Francis College Biology Department
SUNY Maritime College

A Park educator looks at the specimens brought in from the Hudson River

Data from Hudson River Park Testing Sites

Pier 26
Pier 40
Gansevoort Peninsula
Pier 66
Pier 84
Pier 96

Reports & Data