Our monitoring seasons begin during the second week of May and conclude on the second week of September. Each year we complete 10 weeks of testing on a bi-weekly schedule. Testing occurs on Monday through Friday by 9:00 am.
Starting the third week of June and through Labor Day, select sampling sites that are utilized for recreational purposes, are tested every week for E. coli to ensure the safety of swimmers and other recreational users. In the case that E.coli analysis comes back above the acceptable limits, the SRCC continues to resample at each site of concern until the limits have receded to the acceptable state limits.
A typical volunteer’s day begins around 7:00 am as they report to their designated sites. For those doing multiple sites, testing days begin as early as 6:00 am. Remember that dissolved oxygen levels reach a low just before dawn, therefore, obtaining readings at this time gives us the most accurate measurement of that parameter. There are no time of day constraints for the other water quality indicators tested.
The average time to complete all testing at one monitoring site is 30 to 45 minutes. Each volunteer has a field data sheet for recording information, including weather, wildlife observations, water odor, precipitation amounts, and surrounding area conditions. Once all readings are taken and all water samples for lab analysis are gathered, volunteers meet with Commission staff to return the equipment, field data sheets, and water samples before beginning their own busy days.
There is a network of steps, called our standard operating procedures, involved for each parameter to arrive at usable data. Volunteers must go through all these steps at each site they visit to monitor in the morning.