Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment
Just looking at a lake or stream is not enough when trying to measure water quality. Sampling for
specific water quality variables will give you proper insight into the health of a surface water. In
turn, land management practices can be evaluated for changes that will positively influence the health
of the water body. If a stream sample has results indicating a high fecal coliform count, practices such
as livestock feedlot location, municipal wastewater treatment and urban runoff should be examined.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) outline the proper methods for sample collection and preservation in
order to obtain scientifically valid results from water quality sample collection.
Equipment (i.e., meters)
Stage & Flow
Chain of Custody Forms
List of Common Analytes Requested
Sample Log Forms
Ambient Stream Monitoring Network
Typically, surface water samples are taken for the following variables: total suspended solids, dissolved
oxygen, nitrates, phosphorus and fecal coliform bacteria. One variable that is becoming more widely used is
biological indicators. Biological indicators are the animals and plant life that inhabit a particular
surface water. Additional variables may be examined if they are thought to be present or cause a problem.
River factsheets were created to summarize the characteristics, water quality trends, river health, and
on-the-ground efforts being done to improve water quality in the major river systems in North Dakota.
These factsheets can be viewed by using the drop-down menu below.
Lake Water Quality Assessment (LWQA)
Once samples are taken and have been analyzed by a laboratory, the results must be interpreted. Results are
compared to the State Water Quality Standards, and individual stream characteristics are taken into
consideration. Reports generated from sampling results will list suspected causes of and solutions for
excess pollutants that may be found.
Reports can be found here: Lake Water Quality Assessments or by using the interactive map below.
Water Quality Division Employee Email List (click to expand)