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Water Quality Program Purpose

The purpose of Storm Water Service's Water Quality Program is to protect and restore the quality and usability of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's surface water resources in accordance with applicable federal, state and local regulations.

History of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Water Quality Monitoring Program

Storm Water Services' Water Quality Program was established in 1969 for the purpose of identifying and eliminating sewer discharges to inner city streams that were generating numerous odor complaints from citizens.

Initially water quality data was collected to assess bacteria levels in these streams to identify sewer overflows and assess potential human health impacts.  As the Program's responsibilities increased, so did its monitoring activities. Lake monitoring was initiated in 1973. By 1980, an increased number of parameters had been added to routine lake and stream monitoring runs, including BOD, COD and nutrients in addition to continued monitoring to assess bacteria levels. Biological monitoring was added to the program in 1985.

Water Quality Monitoring

With the development of the City's Phase I Storm Water Program in 1993, there was a significant increase in monitoring activities, including monitoring during storm water flows beginning in 1995 followed by the monitoring of structural best management practices (BMPs) for pollutant removal efficiency in 1997. In 2003, Mecklenburg County and the Towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville developed a Phase II Storm Water Program that resulted in a significant increased in monitoring activities in these jurisdictions.

Goals of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Water Quality Monitoring Program:

1.    Identify general water quality conditions.
2.    Track long and short term trends.
3.    Assess the overall effectiveness of program activities.
4.    Assess whether streams are fulfilling their designated uses.
5.    Identify sources of water quality degradation.
6.    Measure compliance with TMDLs.
7.    Assess the effectiveness of BMPs at removing pollutants.
8.    Support watershed management initiatives.
9.    Communicate water quality conditions to the public.