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Organization and Establishment of Florida's Statewide Ground Water Quality Monitoring Network


In 1983, the Florida Legislature passed the Water Quality Assurance Act, a portion of which required the Department of Environmental Protection to "establish a ground water quality monitoring network designed to detect or predict contamination of the state's ground water resources" (Florida Statutes, Chapter 403.063). To facilitate this effort, the act requires that the Department work cooperatively with other federal and state agencies, including the five Water Management Districts and other government agencies in the establishment of the network.

The goal of the Ground Water Quality Monitoring Network (GWQMN) is to provide scientifically defensible, statewide information on the important chemical and physical characteristics of water from the three major aquifer systems of the State. The objectives of the program are: 

  • To establish the baseline water quality of major aquifer systems in the state;
  • To determine significant trends in ground water quality;
  • To detect and predict changes in ground water quality resulting from the effects of various land use activities and potential sources of contamination;
  • To disseminate to the Department, local governments and the public, water quality data and interpretations generated by the network.

Organization and Implementation of the Network

The Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency in the network, determining goals and strategies, setting priorities and coordinating the effort. Contracts were developed with the five Water Management Districts and other government agencies to carry out most of the necessary field work. The network consists of two major subnetworks, each of which has unique monitoring priorities and goals. These are:

Background Network - designed to help define background water quality through a network of approximately 1700 wells that tap all major potable aquifers within the state

VISA (Very Intense Study Area) Network - designed to monitor the effects of various land uses on ground water quality within aquifers in selected areas.

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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