Submitting water quality data

These guidelines set forth minimum requirements for data to be used in preparing the “Integrated Report”. They contain requirements that must be met for the data to be used in the impaired streams listing process. If the data do not meet these minimum requirements, it may still be useful for targeting of future monitoring by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). For example, DEP may use a single or limited number of samples, which do not qualify for listing purposes, to prioritize waters for future sampling. In addition, data reported from samples analyzed with methods other than those approved by DEP may be used to target additional sampling with approved methods and required lower level detection limits. The first step for any entity planning a sampling effort should be to have a thorough understanding of our state's Water Quality Standards (WQS).
Another resource for those wishing to submit data to DEP for listing considerations is provided in the Integrated Report.  Here you will find subjects such as what constitutes an sample data set, the different types of designated uses for waters and how the different types of WQS are interpreted. All of this information helps provide insight into how data can be used by DEP in preparing the biennial Integrated Report. Finally, all data submitted for consideration must include the raw data with information such as date, time, location, etc. Anyone with more specific questions regarding these guidelines should E-mail James Laine or call (304) 926-0499 X 1061.

WV Save Our Streams can assist you with your data submissions by making sure the information has the necessary quality.  In general water chemistry samples are to be analyzed by a WV certified laboratory or with the appropriate meter, with the detection limits provided.  Benthic collections need to be properly collected and identified to the family or genus level by a qualified taxonomist. 
Below are some basic considerations.  A thorough explanation for submitting data is provided by the third party guidance document.

Contact information
All data submitted to DEP for evaluation must be accompanied by contact information including organization represented, name, address, and phone number. The contact information may be used to answer any questions that evaluators may have about the data. If the data is approved, the name of the party submitting the data will be identified in the next Integrated Report. 

Sample information: The data package submitted must include the certain information for all sample results. This information must include: sampler’s name, along with date and location of sample. Copies of the chain of custody may substitute for this information if they contain all required information. If not supplied with the initial submittal, copies of the chain of custody may be requested as part of the evaluation process. In addition, the data package should include a description of the types of preservation used, if any, for the different types of samples 

Sample location: ​Either latitude/longitude or UTM coordinates must identify each sample site for which data is submitted. Also, the coordinates need to be identified as NAD 27 or NAD 83. These coordinates can be obtained from a GPS unit or topographic map. GPS coordinates are preferred and they should be checked to ensure accuracy. In addition, verbal descriptions of the sample sites may be helpful for data interpretation. Some examples include Laurel Branch at mouth, Greenbrier Fork immediately above Laurel Branch and Laurel Branch 2.3 miles above mouth. For any questions regarding site description or GPS coordinates, E-mail Chris Daugherty or call (304) 926-0499 X 1097

Additional information: ​In addition to sampler’s name the data package needs to contain a brief description of any training that the sampler has undergone, for example WV Save Our Streams certification, etc. Other required information include the date of sampling and a signed statement verifying that all water quality samples were analyzed by a laboratory certified by the State of West Virginia to perform the particular analysis using approved methods. Any questions about laboratory certification should be directed to the Laboratory Quality Assurance Program. Any data from samples not analyzed by a certified laboratory to appropriate detection limits using approved methods can not be used in the 303(d) listing process, however, this data could be useful in prioritizing future monitoring.
Click-Here to download the third party guidance document.

All information submitted for consideration will be kept on file at DEP’s main office. The information is kept as part of the official record for each Integrated Report and will be subject to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.