Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Citizen-Based Water Quality Monitoring Programs
More and more citizens are taking an active role in protecting local watersheds, yet in many cases insufficient monitoring data is available to properly identify water quality problems.
EPA's Laboratory in Richmond, California offers communities support for citizen-based water quality monitoring programs throughout the Region. The goal is to produce monitoring information needed to protect water resources, encourage stewardship of watersheds, and inform concerned citizens about potential water quality issues.
This innovative program includes:
- providing technical support to volunteer monitoring groups by
supplying EPA manuals and newsletters designed for volunteer monitors;
- assisting in the development of quality assurance plans, including
sampling and analytical methods to ensure that valid data is collected;
- loaning monitoring equipment to citizen groups for use in the field;
- conducting conferences, workshops, and presentations for volunteer
monitoring groups, and;
- conducting microbiological analyses on water samples collected
by citizen monitoring groups.
- conducting diazinon pesticide analyses on San Francisco Bay area water samples collected by citizen monitoring groups.
Volunteer water quality monitoring programs have produced some significant advances in watershed protection in the Pacific Southwest Region.
- Water samples collected by volunteer monitors from several San Francisco
Bay urban creeks contained no detectible diazinon, a common organophosphate
pesticide found in watersheds throughout the United States. EPA's recent
restrictions in diazinon uses may be the reason for its decline in the
urban creeks. For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/diazinon.htm.
- EPA presented a poster at the annual Bay Area Creeks group meeting
in February, 2002. The poster showed results of bacterial analyses conducted
on samples collected by volunteers at 11 watersheds in the San Francisco
Bay Area. The meeting stimulated greater networking and partnerships between
San Francisco Bay Area volunteer groups.
- The EPA Region 9 Lab donated used field equipment to the Hanalei Heritage River in Kauai, Hawaii. The group is using equipment to monitor Enterococcus bacteria to identify the quantity and sources of bacterial contamination in the Hanalei River and nearby Hanalei Bay. Early suspicion of the sources include leaking septic tanks and portable restrooms at the beach.
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