Water Quality Workgroup

Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership

Understanding which contaminants are in the river, where they are, and in what quantities is essential to addressing water quality concerns and protecting source waters. The Water Quality Workgroup addresses this need by maintaining a list of water quality resources and by helping other workgroups with analysis and mapping.

Workgroup Objectives

  • Facilitate the water quality data needs related to ongoing DWSPP projects.
  • Facilitate discussions on the water quality parameters related to source water protection.
  • Track issues related to source water protection and water quality.
  • Support other DWSPP workgroups with data analysis as required.
  • Support and collaborate with other DWSPP workgroups on source water protection and water quality related efforts.
  • Maintain information on water quality data collected by the utilities.
  • Identify possible sources of contaminants in the watershed.
  • Organize information sessions, exercises, and workshops as needed on Water quality issues and preparedness

Partnership Activities

  • The PFAS in the Potomac River Basin website and interactive monitoring map were published in April, 2023. It provides background and current information for PFAS in the Potomac River basin, including a review of federal regulations and the regulatory status in each state in the basin—Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 
  • 2022 National Capital Region (NCR) Utility Laboratory Coordination Workshop – In June 2022, U.S. EPA Region 3 sponsored a one-day utility laboratory coordination workshop with National Capital Region (NCR) stakeholders. The workshop’s focus was to raise awareness of the utility and response partner laboratory resources and capabilities available in the NCR during an emergency. A summary of the workshop is attached.
  • Report: Potomac Spill Response Protocol Exercise – In July, 2019, the WQ Workgroup collaborated with the Emergency Response/Early Warning Workgroup to conduct an online exercise of the recently developed Potomac Spills Listserv Protocols.
  • Water Quality Information – List of resources available for locating water quality data.
  • Water Quality Data Inventory – This is an ever-evolving list of water quality data collection efforts in the basin being coordinated by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. If you know of additional efforts or have a correction, send them to the Water Quality Workgroup Chair Niffy Saji.
  • Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Monitoring – An interactive map and list of HAB monitoring locations in the basin.
  • Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Monitoring in the Potomac Watershed – SAVs can have a link to water quality issues. During some years the utilities along the Potomac River have experienced water quality issues in Spring. It is possible that the problems were due to SAV die-off. Experts say that the presence of SAV is inversely related to algal populations. When a healthy SAV population is established in the spring, we can expect to see fewer issues with algae in the summer and fall. Also, a wet spring is expected to promote healthy SAV growth.  Therefore, information on SAV monitoring can be helpful. Here are some available resources:

Previous Partnership Activities