The goal of environmental monitoring is to support the management process: “monitoring is most useful when it results in more effective management decisions, specifically management decisions that protect or rehabilitate the environment” (NAS (1991).
What is Water Quality?
Water quality can be defined by both a set of concentrations, speciations, and physical partitions of organic and inorganic substances, and the composition and state of aquatic biota found in a waterbody (Meybeck and Helmer, 1992).
Why Monitor Water Quality?
Monitoring is intermittent surveillance carried out in order to ascertain compliance with a standard or deviation from an expected norm (Roberts, 1991); which accomplishes to:
Determine compliance with standards,
Construct, adjust and verify predictive models,
Provide information to evaluate abatement measures and identify progress against control objectives, and
Provide early warning of future problems.
Type of Water Quality Monitoring:
Core Monitoring – Routine, ongoing water quality monitoring within the regulatory framework of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) monitoring programs. This type of monitoring addresses clearly defined questions related to point, non-point and targeted pollutant levels with a commitment to improving our understanding of County specific environmental issues.
Unified Program Effective Assessment (PEA) report - The Unified PEA is an annual report provided by the County of Orange as the Principle Permittee in collaboration with the cities / co-permittees within the county. The water quality data and their analyses are presented in Section C-11 of the Unified PEA.
Regional Monitoring – Periodic, collaborative, and larger-scale multi-agency surveys.
Southern California Bight Studies – The Bight studies, coordinated by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP), utilize standardized sampling and analytical methods to produce a wide range of data from both impacted and reference areas.
Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) – The SMC often use exploratory data analysis methods to investigate new measurement methods, improve basic understanding, characterize problems, or provide one-time measurements of important parameters or processes.
Coastal Receiving Water Regional Program – A model monitoring program that consolidates coastal receiving waters pathogenic indicator bacterial monitoring efforts for OC Public Works, OC Sanitation District, South Orange County Wastewater Authority, and OC Health Care Agency.
Special Studies/ Research – OC Watersheds along with cities, governmental agencies, NGOs and/ or universities have a strong commitment to advancements in water quality science through focused special studies to answer specific issues of concern related to Orange County. For further information on current studies or studies of interest, please go to OC Watersheds Research.