Peak Discharge

Peak Discharge is a revelatory bioacoustic soundscape - a sound and video piece that utilizes live environmental water quality data to modulate an underwater field recording of the Lower Schuylkill River. This data sonification piece illustrates how stormwater runoff impacts the health of our water systems. The underwater recording of the river is manipulated in real time with live water quality data pulled directly from the US Geological Survey water monitoring website. Individual ambient water quality markers are directly represented by sound wave modulations.

As we construct more impervious surface in the built environment we increase the amount of and lower the quality of stormwater runoff that flows into our rivers. The amount and quality of stormwater runoff has a tremendous detrimental impact on the health of our freshwater ecosystems.

Peak Discharge immerses the viewer into an underwater recording that reveals the shifts and changes to the environmental health of the Schuylkill River. These changes to the sound reveal the direct impact the constructed environment has on our living systems.



"Art installation interprets water pollution with sound" - Susan Phillips on Peak Discharge through NewsWorks Tonight Show, WHYY through StateImpact Pennsylvania, January 16, 2017.

"NATURAL SELECTIONS: Learning the names, and more, of rivers through art" - Christina Catanese, Montgomery News, January 18, 2018.

“Art and data marry to illuminate stories of life on the Schuylkill River” - Patricia E. Kim, NewsWorks, StateImpact Pennsylvania, March 3, 2017.