Surface Water Quality Monitoring


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.


  • In 2016, 3,004 chemical and microbiological laboratory tests were performed to determine the water quality of rivers, lakes and ponds in Rhode Island. This includes testing cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae to support decisions to close bodies of water when harmful algal blooms are observed.