Water Chemistry Monitoring

Water Chemistry Monitoring

We now have seventeen monitoring sites established in every major subwatershed in the Bad River watershed. The monitoring sites are chosen on each main tributary (head waters, midstream and confluence) for what information they would add to the currently running Bad River Natural Resources Department (BRNRD) water quality monitoring, safe access year round and volunteer availability. We are using Lamotte Surface Water Monitoring kits to sample water chemistry at all sites.

Sampling occurs once a month on a specified date (with some leeway) so that we have some weather comparisons between sites.  At least one rain event a year will be sampled for each sub-watershed, depending on localized weather.  This is especially important as one of the main impacts to water quality in this watershed is erosion and sedimentation, which happens mostly during high water events.  Bridges are used for year-round access to midstream sampling.

Volunteers undergo training with the chemistry kits and guidance for correct sampling at their sampling locations.  Quality control check workshops are held annually to ensure the volunteers are getting good data. Data is taken in the field on data sheets that are sent to the technical advisor.  Data includes analysis results, weather for the last 48 hours, habitat observations (bank erosion, vegetation), flow observations, and water characteristic (color, turbidity, odor, algae) observations.

SRWA now has 17 sampling kits for volunteer use.  A special thanks goes out to Trout Unlimited for their donation that purchased our first set of test kits.

Table 1. Test Parameters and Criteria


Lamotte test

Tests per kit

Surface water Benchmark

pH Range 3.0 – 10.5 at 0.5 100 6.5 – 8.5
Dissolved Oxygen 0 – 10 mg/L at 0.2 intervals 50 >5 mg/L, 6 for Trout streams
Chloride 0 – 200 mg/L at intervals of 4 50 Establish baseline
Turbidity 5 – 100 JTU at intervals of 5 50 Establish baseline
E. coli Lab test or kit (Easygel) 126 colonies/100 ml water sample (USEPA)

Benchmarks from:
USGS Water Supply Paper 2254, Study and Interpretation of the Chemical Characteristics of Natural Water
Wisconsin State Water Quality Standards
USEPA Criteria for Indicators for Bacteriological Contamination, 1986