From a pollution management perspective, surface water quality data collection approaches have been characterized as either source or ambient monitoring. Source monitoring involves assessing and evaluating the composition of industrial or municipal effluent discharged into waterways, and of the “mixing zones” where this wastewater merges with the receiving water. Ambient monitoring refers to all forms of monitoring conducted beyond the immediate influence of a “discharge pipe”, including sampling of sediment and living resources.
The District is primarily involved in ambient monitoring; however, source monitoring (i.e., effluent characterization studies) would be utilized if an appropriate situation should arise. The District will typically use the following data collection approaches in conducting its surface water quality data collection activities:
- Long-term fixed station monitoring.
- Intensive surveys.
- Special studies.
- Investigative monitoring.
Long-term fixed station monitoring is intended to provide information that will allow the District to determine the status and trends of surface water quality at District Projects. This type of sampling consists of systematically collecting samples at the same location over a long period of time (e.g., collecting monthly water samples at the same site for several years).
Intensive surveys are intended to provide more detailed information regarding surface water quality conditions at District Projects. They typically will include more sites sampled over a shorter timeframe than long-term fixed station monitoring. Intensive surveys will provide the detailed information to thoroughly understand surface water quality conditions at a Project.
Special studiesare conducted to address specific information needs. Special water quality studies may be undertaken to collect the information needed to “scope-out” a specific water quality problem; apply water quality models; design and engineer modifications at projects; or evaluate the effectiveness of implemented water quality enhancement measures.
Investigative monitoring is typically initiated in response to an immediate need for surface water quality information at a District project. This may be in response to an operational situation, the occurrence of a significant pollution event, public complaint, or a report of a fish kill. Any District response to a pollution event or fish kill would need to be coordinated with the appropriate Tribal, State and Local agencies. The type of sampling that is done for investigative purposes is highly specific to the situation under investigation.