Stormwater sampling is a vital part of urban infrastructure management. Sampling helps municipalities identify contamination or other pollutants that enter their systems. By monitoring the water quality of stormwater systems, management agencies are better able to design solutions to prevent future issues and ensure clean water supplies for residents.
Regular testing also helps local governments comply with environmental standards set by state agencies. It is an important step toward making all communities healthier. Though it may seem daunting, this process is easier with the right knowledge and information. In this blog, we will define stormwater sampling and explain how to conduct it properly. We’ll wrap it up with tips to ensure you get meaningful data from your sample site.
What is Stormwater Sampling?
Stormwater sampling is a process of collecting and analyzing water samples from stormwater systems to assess the water’s quality. To do it right, you must take multiple samples from different locations around a city’s stormwater system such as catch basins, ditches, streams, rivers, lakes, or ponds. Samples are then tested for physical characteristics (such as pH levels), chemical parameters (including dissolved oxygen levels), and biological parameters (like fecal coliform). The results are used to create an overall health assessment of the watershed and inform decisions about how best to manage it to protect public health.
An example of a location that needs stormwater sampling is a construction site. The relatively large amount of pollutants that can accumulate in its sediments will later flow away with stormwater runoff and negatively affect streams and other water bodies. An important step in your effort to combat this problem is to conduct a stormwater sampling test on the site. Most ecology monitoring agencies require that all facilities monitor factors such as pH, the presence of zinc, visible oil sheen turbidity, and other substances that are likely to wash into water bodies.
Steps in Conducting Stormwater Sampling
Listed below are the steps for conducting stormwater sampling:
- Determine the Areas for Evaluation: The first step in the stormwater sampling process is to determine the areas that need evaluation. This includes identifying any potential sources of contamination, such as nearby industrial sites or agricultural runoff. You must also assess the physical characteristics of the site, such as topography and vegetative cover.
- Prepare Equipment Used for Stormwater Sampling: Some pieces of laboratory equipment used for stormwater sampling include transparency tubes, pH meters, turbidity meters, etc.
- Notify Laboratory In Advance: The testing laboratory should be contacted ahead of time. They need time to source the necessary sampling bottles or specially-cleaned containers for an effective test.
- Collect Samples From Multiple Locations: Once a sample site has been identified, it’s important to collect samples from multiple locations within the area to get an accurate representation of water quality for the entire system. Samples should be collected with clean containers that are compliant with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards using appropriate sampling equipment like pumps, buckets, or syringes. Be careful not to leave any objects behind in the sample sites that could interfere with testing results and contaminate future samples.
- Analyze Samples: Some samples can be analyzed on-site with probes, sensors, or through other analytical methods. This is called on-site sampling. In other cases, you must take the samples to a laboratory for analysis.
These steps will ensure that you receive reliable data regarding contaminants in your local watersheds. The next task is to take proactive steps toward maintaining healthy urban infrastructure systems for years to come.
Tips for a Successful Stormwater Sampling Process:
In addition to proper sample collection, the following additional tips can ensure your stormwater sampling process nets you meaningful data:
- Make sure all equipment is properly calibrated.
- Document every step during the collection.
- Store samples at proper temperatures.
- Test the samples immediately after collection.
- Use certified laboratories for analysis whenever possible.
- Compare results against past recordings or baseline information from similar systems to track changes over time.
Stormwater Sampling Experts
Stormwater sampling is an important step in the process of keeping waterways safe and clean. The steps of this sampling process must be followed correctly to obtain accurate results. Proper stormwater sampling demands knowledge and resources; it’s wise to consult experts or certified laboratories when conducting your tests so you know you’ll receive reliable results. With the right information, equipment, and protocols in place, this sample collection from your local watershed leads to better water quality for everyone. Contact a Burrell representative today for expert guidance on stormwater sampling.
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