Overview | Utah Water Watch


    Overview, Quality Assurance and Helpful Resources

    Why will you be monitoring?

    There are two types of pollution: Point source (PS) pollution and Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution.  While the amount of pollutants area easy to track from point source pollution, it is more challenging to track and regulate nonpoint source pollution. 
    The State of Utah regulates water quality using a Targeted Watershed approach.  Local Watershed Coordinators work with other agencies, land owners and stakeholders to reduce nonpoint source pollution and employ Best Management Practices (BMPs).  BMPs are ways to manage your land and activities to reduce or limit pollution of surface and groundwater near you.  Each year, a different watershed is targeted on a rotating schedule and receives the bulk of Utah NPS and EPA 319 grant funds for that year. 
    One of the biggest challenges with the NPS program, is tracking its success.  Monitoring before and after BMPs are implemented are necessary to determine whether we have helped improve the water.  

    What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

    Monitoring by the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and Cooperators, such as Utah Water Watch, must follow the Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) Program so that environmental data collected is of known and suitable quality for monitoring goals and objectives.  High quality, or credible data is important for the DWQ to use for decision making.
    Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) describe how the DWQ collects, handles, processes and analyzes data.  A SOP is generated for any routine procedure and ensures the data is comparable, accurate, defensible and limits bias. 
    Data collected in the Tier 2 program follows these SOPs, so it is important to become familiar with these methods and pay attention to detail.

    What is a Sample Analysis Plan (SAP)?

    A Sample Analysis Plans (SAP) is required for all monitoring activity overseen by the DWQ and provides guidance to the people in the field on the required sampling procedures.  The Sample Analysis Plan describes what tests are needed, the frequency of samples, project coordinator contacts, etc.  We will be developing specific SAPs for projects where UWW volunteers are being used.
    Se an example SAP here: Spanish Valley SAP

    What is a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)?

    A TMDL establishes the maximum amount of pollutant that is allowed in the water while still maintaining all of the designated beneficial uses.  The Clean Water Act requires that each state produce water quality standards to protect, restore and preserve water quality.  When a water body does not meet these standards, it is placed on an impaired list, referred to as the 303(d) list the state develops a plan to restore the water quality through the TMDL process.  Utah currently has about 50 developed TMDLs with many more in the process. 

    Helpful Resources:

    *Tip for using the Utah DWQ webpage (waterquality.utah.gov): use the search bar to find what you are looking for