Progress and lessons learned from water-quality monitoring networks

Chemistry and Water
By:  and 



Stream-quality monitoring networks in the United States were initiated and expanded after passage of successive federal water-pollution control laws from 1948 to 1972. The first networks addressed information gaps on the extent and severity of stream pollution and served as early warning systems for spills. From 1965 to 1972, monitoring networks expanded to evaluate compliance with stream standards, track emerging issues, and assess water-quality status and trends. After 1972, concerns arose regarding the ability of monitoring networks to determine if water quality was getting better or worse and why. As a result, monitoring networks adopted a hydrologic systems approach targeted to key water-quality issues, accounted for human and natural factors affecting water quality, innovated new statistical methods, and introduced geographic information systems and models that predict water quality at unmeasured locations. Despite improvements, national-scale monitoring networks have declined over time. Only about 1%, or 217, of more than 36,000 US Geological Survey monitoring sites sampled from 1975 to 2014 have been operated throughout the four decades since passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Efforts to sustain monitoring networks are important because these networks have collected information crucial to the description of water-quality trends over time and are providing information against which to evaluate future trends.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Progress and lessons learned from water-quality monitoring networks
Series title Chemistry and Water
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-809330-6.00002-7
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Office of Water Quality
Description 98 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title The science behind sustaining the world's most crucial resource
First page 23
Last page 120
Country United States
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