Water Science

An innovative index for evaluating water quality in streams

You are viewing information about the paper An innovative index for evaluating water quality in streams.

Journal: Environ Manage 2004/11/03
Published: 2004
Authors: Said, A.;Stevens, D. K.;Sehlke, G.
Address: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620-5350, USA. asaid@cc.usu.edu

A water quality index expressed as a single number is developed to describe overall water quality conditions using multiple water quality variables. The index consists of water quality variables: dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, turbidity, total phosphorus, and fecal coliform. The objectives of this study were to describe the preexisting indices and to define a new water quality index that has advantages over these indices. The new index was applied to the Big Lost River Watershed in Idaho, and the results gave a quantitative picture for the water quality situation. If the new water quality index for the impaired water is less than a certain number, remediation-likely in the form of total maximum daily loads or changing the management practices-may be needed. The index can be used to assess water quality for general beneficial uses. Nevertheless, the index cannot be used in making regulatory decisions, indicate water quality for specific beneficial uses, or indicate contamination from trace metals, organic contaminants, and toxic substances.

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