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Surface Water Monitoring

Surface water is any body of water above ground, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and reservoirs. Surface water monitoring involves collecting water and biological samples from rivers, streams, and lakes and analyzing those samples to assess the status of water quality across the state. The Office of Water Quality conducts this work in accordance with the Indiana Surface Water Quality Monitoring Strategy, which guides and prioritizes the type of monitoring IDEM must do to meet Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

Staff collect water chemistry, E. coli, fish, macroinvertebrate, aquatic habitat, and algae data on a rotating basin and, in some cases, seasonal basis. The data are analyzed and used for statewide and watershed specific surface water-related assessments, for development of the Integrated Water Monitoring and Assessment Report, and for planning and restoration projects. The collected and assessed data also supports water quality standards development; NPDES permitting and compliance activities; public health advisories for fish consumption and blue-green algae; volunteer monitoring efforts through the Hoosier Riverwatch and Clean Lakes programs, and the IndianaMap. The 2020 Watershed Assessment & Planning Activities story map provides a quick look at the monitoring activities underway in 2020.

A portion of Indiana’s surface waters are sampled annually, either by IDEM or through U.S. EPA support. That data is included in the National Aquatic Resource Surveys, a national overview of water quality. The IDEM Watersheds programs - Nonpoint Source and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) , contribute data and information about pollutant loads that staff and watershed groups use when collaborating on planning and implementation activities that will improve water quality. To better share this data with the public, IDEM provides web map applications such as the Fixed Station Water Quality Monitoring Locator, the Impaired Waters (e303d) Tool, and the Upper White River Water Quality Story Map.

Each year, staff draft work plans that describe the activities for the coming year, what parameters and pollutants will be sampled and tested, when and where these activities will take place, and for which programs the data will be used. Past and current work plans are provided below. When new work plans are generated for the upcoming monitoring season, they will be posted here

Monitoring Programs Work Plans

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