DEQ monitors and assesses the quality of the state’s rivers, streams, and lakes. This information is used to report to EPA and make decisions regarding water quality management.
Ambient Monitoring Program
We collect and integrate ambient water quality monitoring data from various monitoring programs, including the Beneficial Use Reconnaissance Program (BURP), National Aquatic Resource Surveys, and special studies.
Our seasonal BURP crew monitors Idaho’s surface waters and collects biological (e.g., fish and aquatic insects) and habitat data each year. DEQ also collects data through special projects and TMDL development. We also solicit and considers data submitted from outside sources such as the US Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and EPA.
Using data from the BURP crew and the methods described in the Water Body Assessment Guidance (WBAG), Version 3, we determine if water bodies meet water quality standards and support beneficial uses. We document our findings through the Integrated Report, which is submitted to EPA approximately every two years. The report describes the quality of all of Idaho’s water bodies and identifies and prioritizes the state’s water quality problems.
Where water quality fails to meet state water quality standards (as documented in the Integrated Report), we evaluate the water body to determine the causes and sources of pollutants. Additional data are collected to develop a water quality improvement plan, known as a total maximum daily load (TMDL).