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Water: Water Quality Standards Academy

Basic Course: Supplemental Topics (b)

Program Elements: Overview

Monitoring and Assessment

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In March 2003, EPA issued national guidance, Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program, to promote and structure consistency in State/Tribal monitoring programs. The objective is to move toward more scientifically defensible water quality information for State/Tribal water management decisions and for tracking status and trends in water quality at various geographic scales:  national, regional, State/Tribal, sub-state, watershed, and segment level. This module focuses upon these elements:

Good Planning

  • Identify monitoring objectives.
  • Design the monitoring and assessment project.
  • Develop a quality assurance plan.

Careful Implementation

  • Collect and analyze data for appropriate indicators.
  • Manage the data.
  • Interpret data to develop the assessment.

Informed Communication

  • Convey information and results.
  • Evaluate monitoring efforts.
  • Plan improvements.
Key Point.EPA recognizes that many States/Tribes are in the process of establishing a more rigorous approach to water quality monitoring and assessment. EPA’s guidance entitled Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program sets a goal of 2014 for these improvements.

For informational purposes only–Not official statements of EPA policy.

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