Surface Water Quality Monitoring

Mission

To analyze microbiological and chemical contaminants in surface water from lakes, rivers and ponds in the state to help monitor environmental pollution.

What we do

  • Analyze chemical contaminants and water quality indicators in the lake, river and pond samples collected and submitted by the RIDEM Programs.
  • Reports the concentration of metals, nitrates, phosphorous, cyanide, hardness and fecal bacteria found in the water samples so that RIDEM can monitor the source and spread of pollutants and to determine if the water meets the standards defined by the Clean Water Act.
  • Identify and quantify toxins produced by the cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) when they concentrate or bloom in the ponds and lakes and trigger public health advisories for recreation and consumption.

Accomplishments

  • In 2015, microscopic identification of cyanobacteria in the harmful algal blooms was added to the laboratory’s list of critical tests used support the decision making process for issuing and lifting public advisories when blue green algal blooms occur.