|The answer to your question
is best answered by a water chemistry specialist and/or public health specialist. The water
chemistry specialist can offer some description about the foam phenomenon, and public health
specialist can provide advice about contact with surface water in your area. As a fisheries
biologist I cannot advise you how to use or play in the water you describe, for more on the safe use
of the water, you should contact the PA Department of Environmental Protection and/or PA Department
Some foam on streams is naturally occurring, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
provides the best explanation I have seen offered for this sometimes common phenomenon on their
website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/lakes/foam.html.
Generally, foam on natural waters is often caused by natural phenomenon unless it has a perfume
smell typical of many soaps and detergents. Natural materials occurring in water (algae) or leached
from the soil that reduce the surface tension of water have the ability to produce foam.
These explanations are very general based upon your descriptions without any water chemistry
Robert M. Lorantas
Warmwater Unit Leader