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Center for Watershed Protection Releases Stormwater Monitoring Guidance

Ellicott City, MD, August 23, 2008 --( Local stormwater managers are often in need of quantifiable information to meet mandatory stormwater permit requirements or to justify their stormwater management budgets. Monitoring to track the effectiveness of local stormwater programs is one of the best ways to collect such information, such as determining what pollutants need to be targeted, identifying the sources of pollutants, and demonstrating which practices can best control pollutant sources.

Phase I NPDES MS4 localities are already required to conduct monitoring, but they often find that trying to quantify the impact of MS4 stormwater program activities can be both challenging and expensive. Municipalities that fall under the Phase II NPDES Stormwater regulations are required to meet six measurable goals such as Public education/outreach and Construction site sediment and erosion control. Typically, the measurable goals are output-based (e.g. number of stormwater treatment practices installed, number of educational brochures distributed), which is useful from a program accounting standpoint, but does not allow changes in water quality as a result of these activities to be quantified.

As part of an EPA grant, the Center for Watershed Protection and the University of Alabama prepared six monitoring study designs, outlined in the project's final manual, Monitoring to Demonstrate Environmental Results: Guidance to Develop Local Stormwater Monitoring Studies Using 6 Example Study Designs. This guidance is designed to navigate the stormwater manager through the complexities of implementing a monitoring program so they can be confident in their results and get the most out of their limited stormwater dollars. The six study designs address the following questions:

What is the quality of the stormwater at the outfall?
What are the sources of pollutants in stormwater?
What is the effectiveness of individual stormwater treatment practices in reducing pollutants?
Do implementation and maintenance factors affect stormwater treatment practice function over time?
What is the effect of public education programs on water quality?
What is the cumulative effect of treatment within a watershed?

Each study design covers such essential elements as scoping, budgeting, and staffing needs as well as equipment and sampling requirements. Special issues associated with each monitoring study design are also covered for those unforeseen but inevitable monitoring challenges.

This manual is available for free download from the Center for Watershed Protection's website:

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Center for Watershed Protection
Lauren Lasher, Communications Manager

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