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USGS Washington Water Science Center

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Water-Quality Records

Project Summaries

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9722-9EC - Collection of Basic Water Quality Records

Problem - Water resources planning and water-quality assessment require a base level of relatively standardized information. The chemical and physical quality of the rivers and streams must be defined and monitored for intelligent planning and realistic assessment of the water resource.

Objectives - The objectives of this study are to provide a bank of water-quality data from which the responsible local, State, and Federal agencies may develop and later assess their planning and action programs, and to provide data for Federal management of interstate and international waters.

Relevance and Benefits - An important part of the USGS mission is to provide scientific information to manage the water resources of the Nation. To effectively assess the quality of the Nation's surface-water and ground-water resources, the USGS collects water-quality data from rivers, lakes, estuaries, and ground-water aquifers. Water-quality data are published in annual data reports, and an increasing amount of real-time and historical water-quality data are available on the World Wide Web. The data, collected using standardized instruments and procedures, contribute to a nationally consistent data set for assessment of the water quality of the Nation. Long-term water-quality data characterize the physical, chemical, and biological changes in our water resources in response to natural processes including climatic variations, storms, floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, and a variety of human activities that exert an influence on water-quality conditions. The data are useful in designing programs to protect watersheds, sensitive aquatic habitats, biota, and drinking water sources from urban and agricultural runoff, sewage, and industrial and mining wastes. The data are also useful in designing programs to maintain waterways for other designated beneficial uses such as navigation, aesthetics, contact recreation, and to meet national and international treaty obligations. The water-quality data collected in this State are an integral part of the nationwide water-quality data program.

Approach - Operation of a network of water-quality stations to provide average chemical concentrations, loads, and time trends as required by planning and management

WA197 - Ground-Water Quality Network for the State of Washington - Completed FY1986

Problem - There are few water-quality analyses for many important aquifers in the State of Washington. In some aquifers, water-quality problems are becoming evident. There is also the legal requirement of Public Law 92-500 for the State to establish a ground-water-quality network.

Objectives - Develop a ground water network and establish a better ground-water-quality data base in each of the important aquifers; extra emphasis on known problem areas is also planned.

Approach - First and second years: Code and store all back data and design a network. Third year: Begin sampling of 200 wells per year for five years. After five years of sampling, from the 1,000 wells sampled, about 500 wells will be retained in the repetitive network, of which about 100 wells or springs will be sampled each year.

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