SC AAS Workshop Description

Mayor of a SC city participates in water quality monitoring.

The SC Adopt-a-Stream program currently certifies individuals in monitoring freshwater rivers and streams. Soon, the program will expand to include trainings and certifications in a tidal saltwater monitoring protocol. In freshwater systems, volunteers can be certified to monitor physical and chemical parameters, as well as bacteria, typically taught in one training session. Macroinvertebrate population and diversity is also monitored to gage ecosystem health and pollution; this certification is provided in a separate training. All monitoring includes an assessment of the stream, riparian zone, and habitat conditions.

The SC AAS program operates in accordance with a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) written by SC DHEC and with approval from EPA Region 4.

Physical/Chemical Monitoring Workshop: Volunteers will collect the five basic water quality parameters including air temperature, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. Volunteers will learn why the chemical parameters are important to aquatic life, the significance of different levels, and how these levels can be affected. Trainers will lead the volunteers through field techniques and check techniques in collecting the sample and using the kits properly. Volunteer monitors will be trained to take duplicate samples for DO and pH, and to evaluate and check measurements, equipment, and reagents. In order to become certified, volunteers will achieve results within the acceptable duplicate precision range of those obtained by the certified Trainers and take a written test. Volunteers are encouraged to sample monthly and must attend a recertification workshop annually. The recertification workshop includes a field based test in addition to a written test.

Bacteria Monitoring Workshop: focuses on sample collection, plating samples onto 3M Petrifilm™ plates to culture E. coli, and counting the E. coli colonies. The water samples and controls are plated on 3M Petrifilm Plates™ and incubated for 24 hours +/- 1 hour at 35o C +/- 1o C. At the end of the incubation period, volunteers count and record the bacteria results as well as the maximum and minimum temperatures on their data sheet.

In order to become certified in bacterial monitoring, volunteers will be tested on their ability to count bacterial colonies, and demonstrate collecting, plating, and reading the 3M Petrifilm™ plates. Volunteers are encouraged to sample monthly and must attend a recertification workshop annually. The recertification workshop includes a field based test in addition to a written test.

Macroinvertebrate monitoring workshop: Volunteers will learn to identify macroinvertebrates and will collect samples from a stream. Sample collection methods and habitat types are reviewed, and the rocky bottom and muddy bottom methods for collection sampling are demonstrated. The workshop participants will process the collection, complete the SC AAS data form and tally the macroinvertebrate water quality index value to assign the rating for the health of the stream.

In order to be certified, volunteers will be tested on their ability to identify macroinvertebrates and interpret the results. Volunteers are encouraged to sample quarterly and must be recertified annually to maintain certification. The recertification workshop includes a field based test in addition to a written test.

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