Population growth and urbanization affect the landscape, and the quality and quantity of water in nearby rivers and streams, as well as downstream receiving waters (Ellis, 1999). Typical impacts include: (1) disruption of the hydrologic cycle through increases in the extent of impervious surfaces (e.g., roads, roofs, sidewalks) that increase the velocity and volume of surface-water runoff; (2) increased chemical loads to local and downstream receiving waters from industrial sources, nonpoint-source runoff, leaking sewer systems, and sewer overflows; (3) direct or indirect soil contamination from industrial sources, power-generating facilities, and landfills; and (4) reduction in the quantity and quality of aquatic habitats.
The City of Atlanta's monitoring network consists of 21 long-term sites. Eleven of these are 'fully instrumented' to provide real-time data on water temperature, pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (intended as a surrogate for suspended sediment concentration), water level (gage height, intended as a surrogate for discharge), and precipitation. Data are transmitted hourly and are available on a public Web site (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/). Two sites only measure water level and rainfall as an aid to stormwater monitoring. The eight remaining sites are used to assess water quality.