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A Review of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Pilot Program Committee to Review the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Pilot Program Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1990

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a priorate, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal go~re~nment and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and rice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey under Cooperative Agreement No. 14-08-0001-A0565. INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBER 0-309-04292-5 LIBRARY OF CONTRESS CATALOG CARD NUMBER 90-61574 Copies available from Water Science and Technology Board 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Additional copies available for sale from National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 S156 Printed in the United States of America

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COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE U.S.G.S. NATIONAL WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT PILOT PROGRAM RICHARD S. ENGELBRECHT, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chairman KEITH C. BISHOP, III, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., San Francisco, California SANDRA L. BLACKSTONE, University of Denver College of Law, Colorado MICHAEL E. CAMPANA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque MARGARET CONDITT, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio ROBERT C. COOPER, University of California, Berkeley DAVID L. FREYBERG, Stanford University, Stanford, California JAMES GERAGHTY, Geraghty & Miller, Inc., Tampa, Florida JUDY L. MEYER, University of Georgia, Athens DONALD J. O'CONNOR, HydroQual, Inc., Mahwah, New Jersey SUSAN STAFFORD, Oregon State University, Corvallis EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS JAMES HEANEY, University of Florida, Gainesville KENNETH POTTER, University of Wisconsin-Madison NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF SHEILA D. DAVID, Senior Staff Officer ANITA A. HALL, Project Secretary U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PROJECT STAFF WILLIAM ALLEY, Hydrologist, Office of Water Quality PHILIP COHEN, Chief Hydrologist, Water Resources Division ROBERT HIRSCH, Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Research and External Coordination PATRICK LEAHY, Hydrologist, Office of Ground Water DAVID RICKERT, Chief, Office of Water Quality VERNE SCHNEIDER, Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Program Coordination and Technical Support WILLIAM WILBER, Hydrologist, Office of Water Quality

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WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD MICHAEL KAVANAUGH, James M. Montgomery Consulting Engineers, Walnut Creek, California, Chairman NORMAN H. BROOKS, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation, South Charleston, West Virginia JAMES HEANEY, University of Florida, Gainesville HOWARD C. KUNREUTHER, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia G. RICHARD MARZOLF, Murray State University, Kentucky ROBERT R. MEGLEN, University of Colorado at Denver DONALD J. O'CONNOR, HydroQual, Inc., Mahwah, New Jersey BETTY H. OLSON, University of California, Irvine P. SURESH C. RAO, University of Florida, Gainesville PATRICIA ROSENFIELD, The Carnegie Corporation of New York DONALD D. RUNNELLS, University of Colorado, Boulder A. DAN TARLOCK, Chicago Kent College of Law HUGO F. THOMAS, Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, Connecticut JAMES R. WALLIS, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York M. GORDON WOLMAN, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore STAFF STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director SHEILA D. DAVID, Senior Staff Officer CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer SARAH CONNICK, Staff Officer JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Assistant RENEE A. HAWKINS, Administrative Secretary ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Secretary 1V

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COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN, The Johns Hopkins University, Chairman ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution B. CLARK BURCHFIEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology RALPH J. CICERONE, University of California at Irvine PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology GENE E. LIKENS, New York Botanical Gardens JERRY D. MAHLMAN, Princeton University SCOTT ~ MATHESON, Parsons, Behle & Latimer JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University PHILIP A. PALMER, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University DUNCAN T. FATTEN, Arizona State University MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Garrett Corporation LARRY L. SMARR, National Center for Supercomputing Applications STEVEN ~ STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University CRISPIN TICKELL, United Kingdom Representative to the United Nations KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University IRVIN L. WHITE, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority JAMES H. ZUMBERGE, University of Southern California STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director JANICE E. GREENE, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Financial Officer GAYLENE DUMOUCHEL, Administrative Assistant v

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Preface The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to provide information that will assist resource managers and' policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels in making sound decisions. This information is generated through assess- ments of the quantity and quality of the nation's natural re- sources, including minerals, energy resources, and water. In the case of our water resources, the USGS has collected and inter- preted data on water quality for more than 100 years. Initial water quality investigations were directed toward the suitability of water for domestic consumption, irrigation, and industrial use. Since these early investigations, the USGS has performed studies directed at a wide array of water quality issues. These studies have ranged from hydrological investigations to interdisciplinary biogeochemical studies. Issues that have been addressed by the USGS include nutrient enrichment of water bodies, dissolved oxygen depletion in rivers, contamination of streambed sedi- ments, acid rain, and contamination of aquifers and rivers by potentially toxic, anthropogenic organic compounds. Following four years of developing the concepts and ap- proaches for performing an assessment of the quality of the nation's surface waters and ground waters, the USGS was autho- rized by Congress in 1986 to establish a pilot program to test and refine a National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA). In 1987, the National Research Council's (NRC) Water Science and Tech- nology Board (WSTB) was requested to undertake a two-year evaluation of the NAWQA Pilot Program and to make recom- mendations concerning implementation of a full-scale program, including its potential usefulness for establishing and evaluating national policies. The NRC responded to this request in 1988 by appointing the Committee to Review the USGS National Water Quality Assess- ment Pilot Program. The committee's task was to consider the program's usefulness to state, local, and private entities for ~ V11

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P111 Pre face making decisions affecting water resources and its usefulness in advancing the scientific understanciing of water quality. The evaluation also considered current expenditures for gathering water quality information by existing programs as well as through NAWQA. The committee reviewed the extent to which water quality information programs such as NAWQA can be expected to (1) provide a more comprehensive water quality assessment than existing or alternative programs and (2) support more effective and efficient management of our nation's water resources. During the study period 11 members served on the com- mittee, representing the disciplines of hydrology, geology, chem- istry, biology, ecology, statistics, law, hydrogeology, and eco- nomics. Additional expertise in sampling methodology, analyti- cal chemistry, contaminant sources, quality assurance/quality control, and the use and management of various types of en- vironmental data was represented among the committee members. In carrying out its assignment, the committee developed a constructive and cordial working relationship with the USGS staff involved in the NAWQA Pilot Program. In particular, the committee expresses its sincere appreciation to William Wilber, William Alley, Steven Blanchard, David Rickert, and Patrick Leahy for their cooperation, professional presentations of infor- mation covering the concepts and design of NAWQA, and will- ingness to accept extra challenges which the committee presented to them during the course of the study. A very special thanks is due to Sheila D. David, NRC Senior Staff Officer, for her valuable assistance to the committee, along with her patience and humor, without which our assignment would have been much more difficult. The committee also gratefully acknowledges the resource support provided by Anita Hall, Administrative Secre- tary. Richard S. Engelbrecht, Chairman Committee on USGS National Water Quality Assessment Pilot Program

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Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Committee Scope of Work, 3 General Findings, 3 Conclusions and Recommendations, 6 1 OVERVIEW......................... Introduction, 16 Need for a National Assessment of Water Quality, 19 2 NAWQA DESIGN EVALUATION. Introduction, 26 Sampling Design, 35 Analytical Framework, 65 Products, 68 3 IMPLEMENTATION, COORDINATION, AND NATIONAL SYNTHESIS..... Current Status of National Water Quality Assessment and Monitoring Programs, 73 Ancillary Data Bases for National Water Quality Assessments, 84 National Assessments as a Component of Environmental Monitoring Programs, 87 Interagency Cooperation, 89 National Synthesis, 93 REFERENCES. . .~e 16 ~ e ~ e 2 6 . 1X .... 73 . 97

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x APPENDIXES A Interim Report....................... B Documents Reviewed by the Committee. . . C Choice of Chemical Constituents....... D Members, USGS National Coordinating Work Group en E Representatives of State and Federal Agencies Interviewed by the Committee at their February 16-17, 1989 Meeting. F Biographical Sketches of Committee Members. . . e e e ~ ~ e e ~ ~ ~ e ~ G Draft Memorandum of Agreement Between the USGS and the U.Se Fish & Wildlife Service, October 18~ 1989e~ e Contents ~ ~ e 103 113 125 139 125 144 148