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Starting in 1996, the FDEP initiated an effort to re-design its water resource monitoring efforts. The purpose was to create an efficient, multi-resource, comprehensive monitoring network, designed to fulfill many of the Department's monitoring needs.

This effort, the Integrated Water Resource Monitoring Network (IWRM) Program, is a multi-level or  "tiered " monitoring program designed to answer questions about Florida's water quality at differing scales. The program is supported by several FDEP water quality monitoring groups in Tallahassee and in regional (district) offices. In general, Tier I addresses statewide and regional questions, Tier II focuses on basin-specific to stream-segment-specific questions, while Tier III answers site-specific questions.

Tier I monitoring is comprised of two monitoring efforts, status, and trend monitoring, which are both designed to answer state-wide to regional questions. Tier II monitoring includes basin assessments and monitoring required for TMDL (total maximum daily load) development . This monitoring is more localized in nature than that occurring under Tier I monitoring, yet may encompass a broader area then that employed in Tier III. Tier III includes all monitoring tied to regulatory permits issued by DEP, and is associated with evaluating the effectiveness of point source discharge reductions, best management practices or TMDLs. The program addresses both surface and ground waters of the state.

In Ft. Pierce, the are two separate monitoring groups.  The IWRM group that is based out of Tallahassee.  This group does all Tier I monitoring and gets all of its direction from Tallahassee.  An overview of IWRM can be found in the state of Florida Water Quality Monitoring Strategy document.

The Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Section, based in Ft. Pierce, provides the more specific tier II monitoring for Southeast Florida.     This group is also responsible for the collection and analysis of data required in support of the florida TMDL program.  All data gathered is placed in the national EPA database known as STORET - an acronym for STORage and RETrieval database - is a national water quality database created and administered by the EPA to serve as the central repository for the nation's water quality data. For over 30 years, scientists across the nation have been storing their water quality data in STORET. The EPA STORET data retrieval website is located at http://www.epa.gov/storet/dbtop.html LEGACY STORET, which contains historical groundwater data, is found at http://www.epa.gov/storpubl/legacy/gateway.htm

Florida STORET is designed to meet the tenets of the "Impaired Waters Rule" (Chapter 62-303, Florida Administrative Code). The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) STORET gathers and maintains statewide water quality data, consisting of springs and surface water data from Florida. To facilitate data acquisition, Florida makes its STORET software available at no cost through the Florida STORET Program. In turn, the Florida STORET Program provides the national water quality database  with annual updates.  The Florida STORET data retrieval website is located at: http://storet.dep.state.fl.us

The Division of Water Resource Management is working on a more comprehensive approach to protecting Florida water quality involving basin-wide assessments and the application of a full range of regulatory and non-regulatory strategies to reduce pollution.  The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is the heart of this comprehensive approach.

Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to submit lists of surface waters that do not meet applicable water quality standards (impaired waters), implement technology-based effluent limitations, and establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for these waters on a prioritized schedule. TMDLs establish the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can assimilate without causing exceedances of water quality standards. As such, development of TMDLs is an important step toward restoring our waters to their designated uses. In order to achieve the water quality benefits intended by the CWA, it is critical that TMDLs, once developed, be implemented as soon as possible.

Chapter 99-223, Laws of Florida, sets forth the process by which the 303(d) list is refined through more detailed water quality assessments.  It also establishes the means for adopting TMDLs, allocating pollutant loadings among contributing sources, and implementing pollution reduction strategies.

Implementation of TMDLs refers to any combination of regulatory, non-regulatory, or incentive-based actions that attain the necessary reduction in pollutant loading. Non-regulatory or incentive-based actions may include development and implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), pollution prevention activities, and habitat preservation or restoration. Regulatory actions may include issuance or revision of wastewater, stormwater, or environmental resource permits to include permit conditions consistent with the TMDL. These permit conditions may be numeric effluent limitations or, for technology-based programs, requirements to use a combination of structural and non-structural BMPs needed to achieve the necessary pollutant load.

 

Water Quality Monitoring Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Where can I find water quality data for the region?

    • All water quality data is available through STORET.

 

Ft. Pierce Water Quality Monitoring Contacts

 

 

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Last updated: December 02, 2013
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