Chemical characteristics of Delaware River water, Trenton, New Jersey, to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania

Water Supply Paper 1262
Prepared in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia
By:  and 



This progress report gives the results of an investigation of the quality of water in the Delaware River from Trenton, N. J. to Marcus Hook, Pa., for the period August 1949 to December 1952. The Delaware River is the principal source of water for the many industries and municipal water supplies along this reach of the river and both industries and municipalities use it for the disposal of their wastes. Consequently, a study of the quality of the water and variations in the quality caused by changes in streamflow, tidal effects, pollution and other factors is important to the many users. In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania steps are being taken to abate pollution, thus it is of more than passing interest to measure the effects of waste treatment on the quality of the Delaware River water.

At average or higher rates of streamflow the mineral content of the water increases slightly from Trenton to Marcus Hook. There is little variation in the concentration of dissolved minerals from bank to bank or from top to bottom of the river. At times of protracted low rates of flow the effect of ocean water mixing with the river water may be noted as far upstream as Philadelphia. At such times the salinity is often greater near the bottom of the river than near the top. The increase in chloride concentration upstream from Philadelphia is small compared to the rapid increase downstream from Philadelphia. Temperatures of offshore water vary with the season, but on a given day are substantially uniform throughout the reach of the river from Trenton to Marcus Hook.

The water contains less dissolved oxygen as it flows downstream indicating that oxygen is being consumed by oxidizable matter. From Philadelphia downstream there are periods, especially in late summer, when the dissolved oxygen is barely sufficient to meet the oxygen demands of the pollution load.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Chemical characteristics of Delaware River water, Trenton, New Jersey, to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 1262
DOI 10.3133/wsp1262
Year Published 1954
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Description Report: iv, 173 p.; Plate: 7.73 x 17.85 inches
Time Range Start 1949-08-01
Time Range End 1952-12-31
Country United States
State New Jersey;Pennsylvania
City Marcus Hook;Philadelphia;Trenton
Other Geospatial Delaware River
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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