Surface Water Quality

Monitoring​

Monitoring surface water quality is one of the best ways to protect streams and lakes. It helps identify problems, determ​ine whether streams and lakes are improving or declining over time, and most importantly it helps protect quality of life and public health.

Each year, a wide range of surface ​water quality monitoring data is collected from streams and lakes throughout the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

  • Almost 15,000 water samples are collected per year and over 20 different parameters are routinely screened
  • Automated samplers at 35 locations measure five parameters per hour, 24 hours a day. This equals approximately 1.5 million measurements a year
  • Fish communities are assessed at five locations
  • Macroinvertebrate communities are assessed at 34 locations

​To learn about techniques used to monitor local streams and lakes, please see the following videos:

​This webpage is organized into four interest areas related to Surface ​Water Quality Monitoring. Please view any of the following links for more information about these topics.

Additional Monitoring Programs

Questions?
Contact:

Olivia Edwa​rds

Environmental Supervisor

​Monitor​ing Dat​a​

​Monitoring data being collected currently and in the past is available. Please scroll down for more information.

  • Request for data records
  • Data collected every hour/ 24 hours a day

Request for data records

​The following records are available upon request and at no cost. Only electronic versions of data are available from 1985 to present.

  • 1969 – 1984:  Hand written into logs. Many are still on file.
  • 1984 – 1993:  Lotus database
  • 1994 – 2004:  FoxPro based data management network
  • 2004 – Present: Custom water quality database application.

Staff follows strict Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) practices when collecting field measurements or surface water quality samples. When samples are delivered to a laboratory, the laboratory is required to provide finalized data electronically and in hard copy to the QA/QC officer within forty-five days. All field and laboratory data received by the QA/QC officer is compiled, reviewed, verified, validated, and warehoused.

Questions about data management and QA/QC?
Contact:

Robert Sowah

Mecklenburg County Environmental Analyst

Continuous Monitoring - Data collected every hour 24 hours a day

Questions about CMANN? Contact:

Ryan Spidel​​

Mecklenburg County Senior Environmental Specialist​​

​Monitor​ing Techniques​

​​Staff performs six different types of monitoring in local streams and lakes. Information about what is monitored, how it's done, and where it occurs is organized as follows. Please scroll down for more infor​mation about these topics.​

  • Fixed Interval Monitoring
  • In-Stream Stormwater Monitoring
  • Lake Monitoring
  • Biological Monitoring
  • Stream surveys
  • Continuous Monitoring and Alert Notification Network

Fixed Interval Monitoring

  • Temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Enterococcus Bacteria
  • Ammonia Nitrogen
  • USGS Suspended Sediment Test (SSC)
  • Zinc (dissolved)
  • Arsenic
  • Nickel
  • Silver
  • Chromium
  • Beryllium
  • Conductivity
  • Fe cal Coliform Bacteria
  • pH
  • E-coli Bacteria
  • Nitrite and Nitrate
  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen
  • Total Phosphorous
  • Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • Suspended Solids
  • Turbidity
  • Hardness
  • Copper (dissolved)
  • Lead (dissolved)
  • Cadmium

In-Stream Stormwater Monitoring

  • Temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Enterococcus Bacteria
  • Ammonia Nitrogen
  • Turbidity
  • Chromium
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • USGS Suspended Sediment Test (SSC)

  • Conductivity
  • Fecal Coliform Bacteria
  • pH
  • E-coli Bacteria
  • Nitrite and Nitrate
  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen
  • Total Phosphorous
  • Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • Copper

Lake Monitoring

  • Secchi Disk depth
  • Conductivity
  • Alkalinity
  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen
  • Nitrate + Nitrite

  • Temperature
  • ​​Dissolved Oxygen
  • pH
  • Fecal Coliform Bacteria
  • Ammonia Nitrogen​

Biological Monitoring

Stream Walks

For Stream Walks, approximately 20% of all streams in watersheds over 50 acres throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are walked by staff in an effort to find illicit discharges and document watershed conditions. This equals an average of approximately 270 miles per year.  This allows staff to walk all these streams every five years. During these walks, the following activities are performed:

  • Documentation of the location, condition, and flow of all outfalls (aka pipes) that are over 12 inches in diameter.
  • Testing of water flowing from an outfall during dry weather. (Stormwater outfalls should typically not have flow during dry weather) 
  • Testing surface water quality at stream junctions and documentation of watershed conditions.

Continuous Monitoring and Alert Notification Network 


Report Pollution


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