Click on “Download PDF” for the PDF version or on the title for the HTML version.

If you are not an ASABE member or if your employer has not arranged for access to the full-text, Click here for options.


Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 49(4): 937-948. (doi: 10.13031/2013.21745) @2006
Authors:   R. D. Harmel, K. W. King, B. E. Haggard, D. G. Wren, J. M. Sheridan
Keywords:   Agricultural runoff, Water quality sampling, Nonpoint-source pollution, Urban storm water

Many sampling projects have been initiated or modified in recent years to quantify the effects of water quality protection and enhancement programs. Although comprehensive references on the theory and procedures related to discharge data collection have been published, similar guides to water quality sampling are not available. Several sources provide general guidance on sampling project design and on manual sampling procedures, but only recently has detailed information on automated storm water quality sampling been developed. As a result, a compilation of available information on the design of water quality sampling projects is needed to support sound decision-making regarding data collection resources and procedural alternatives. Thus, the objective of this article is to compile and present practical guidance for collection of discharge and water quality constituent data at the field and small watershed scale. The guidelines included are meant to increase the likelihood of project success, specifically accurate characterization of water quality within project resource constraints. Although many considerations are involved in establishing a successful sampling project, the following recommendations are generally applicable to field and small watershed studies: (1) consider wet-weather access, travel time, equipment costs, and sample collection method in the selection of sampling site numbers and locations; (2) commit adequate resources for equipment maintenance and repair; (3) assemble a well-trained, on-call field staff able to make frequent site visits; (4) establish reliable stage-discharge relationships for accurate discharge measurement; (5) use periodic manual grab sample collection with adequate frequency to characterize baseflow water quality; (6) use flow-interval or time-interval storm sampling with adequate frequency to characterize storm water quality; and (7) use composite sampling to manage sample numbers without substantial increases in uncertainty.

(Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)