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Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training

water quality emblemAdvanced monitoring involves performing tests for E. coli bacteria, nitrate-nitrogen, orthophosphate, turbidity, and streamflow using the Advanced kit which can be performed at the same sampling time and location as your monthly Core monitoring.



Advanced Water Quality Parameters

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  • Nitrate-Nitrogen is a compound containing nitrogen which can exist as a dissolved solid in water. Nitrates are produced as a result of the decomposition of animal and human waste and can often be an indication of pollution levels of the water. Excessive amounts of nitrate-nitrogen can have harmful effects on humans and animals.

  • Testing for the water quality parameter Orthophosphate detects the amount of readily available phosphate in water itself. It does not include any phosphate bound to plant or animal tissues. Excess phosphate can cause massive growth of algae, which reduces the sunlight available to other plants and other aquatic live. Once the algae die, the bacteria that breaks down the algae uses up a lot of dissolved oxygen, lowers oxygen levels in the water, ultimately depriving it from other aquatic life. In worse case scenarios, aquatic life can suffocate and die.

  • Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid, caused by dissolved or suspended solids that scatter light, making the water appear cloudy or murky. These solids are usually invisible to the naked eye.

    High Turbidity is harmful to aquatic life because it inhibits photosynthesis, degrades spawning beds, and clogs the gills of aquatic organisms. Turbidity also increases the cost of water treatment for drinking and food processing. On top of this, turbidity is aesthetically unpleasing, resulting in a harmful impact to recreation and tourism.


Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training

Texas Stream Team Standard Advanced citizen scientists are certified by completing a two-phase training that measures the physical and chemical parameters of water mentioned above.

We ask citizen scientists to make a commitment to monitor at least one site monthly for at least one year.

  • Citizen scientists must have completed either the Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training or the Probe Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training in order to attend this training. It is also recommended that citizen scientists have at least 6 months of experience actively monitoring a site.

  • Phase I Citizen scientists receive instructions on the significance of monitoring for the Advanced parameters mentioned above and cover topics such as the sources of excessive quantities, standards, screening levels, and relevant natural processes.

  • Phase II The group travels to a suitable site for monitoring E.coli collection and the streamflow monitoring procedures are demonstrated and practiced. These procedures are simulated indoors when weather hinders outdoor accessibility. 

    Citizen scientists then travel back indoors with their E. coli sample water and a bucket of sample water to learn the procedures for analyzing E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen, orthophosphate, and turbidity. After practicing with the sample water, citizen scientists perform their nitrate-nitrogen and orthophosphate tests against a standard with a value unknown to them.

    When citizen scientists successfully complete the two training phases and the training packet is completed and signed, the trainee is then considered a certified Texas Stream Team Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist.