Information about Submitting Water Quality Data for Maryland’s Integrated Report

Notice of Public Solicitation of Water Quality Data for the 2018 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality in Maryland. 

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is currently requesting data for the 2018 Integrated Report (IR) of Surface Water Quality in Maryland. If your organization collected water quality data in Maryland within the past five-year period (2012-2016), please consider submitting your data. MDE is particularly interested in water quality data that are comparable to state water quality standards and criteria (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, E. coli or enterococcus bacteria, various toxics, benthic macroinvertebrate and fish community data). Other water quality data, including conductivity, nutrient species, chlorophyll, habitat conditions, and field observations may also be used to assess ambient water quality.

 

Background

As part of the federal Clean Water Act, MDE submits a biennial Integrated Report (IR) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides information on both impaired and non-impaired waters within the State of Maryland. In order to provide the most comprehensive report, the Department relies on water quality data from a variety of sources including Federal and State agencies, local government agencies, researchers, students, and watershed organizations. 
 
MDE accepts data on a continual basis. However, in order to be used for the 2018 IR, all data must be submitted by July 15, 2017. Data submitted after this date will be reviewed in preparation of the 2020 IR. 
 

What not to Submit:

  • Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) data required by an NPDES permit
  • Data already provided MDE for the purpose of TMDL development
  • Data on groundwater quality
 

Requirements for all data:

Format: Data must be submitted in electronic format so as to facilitate statistical analyses.  The Department prefers data to be in Microsoft Excel or Access formats.  Please do not send paper or pdf of individual data sheets.  Data reports are welcome but raw data should still be submitted as a separate spreadsheet (e.g. Excel document).
 
Metadata: Organizations must provide metadata that describe their data submission.  The best way to do this is by providing a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).  If a QAPP is not available, please submit other documentation that describes the following items:
  • Who conducted the sampling?
  • What water bodies were sampled?
  • What parameters were measured?
  • Over what time period were these parameters measured and with what frequency?
  • What was the purpose of sampling? 
  • What specific field and laboratory methods and equipment were used for sample collection, handling, and analysis?
  • What quality assurance/quality control procedures were used? Description of calibration procedures?
To assist organizations in providing this information, MDE provides the 2018 Maryland IR Data Submittal Form.
 
Datasets:  All water quality data should include information such as:
  • Name of the water body sampled
  • Parameters sampled
  • Date and time of measurements
  • Location of measurements in (latitude/longitude and NAD83 projection preferred, please provide projection if something other than NAD83)
  • Units of measurements
  • Field and laboratory measurements and analysis
  • Other relevant field or laboratory notes

 Additional requirements for biological data:

(fish and/or benthic macroinvertebrates)

Datasets:
  • To be used for the Integrated Report assessments, biological data must be collected according to the Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) protocols.  Please see our Biological Data Quality Guidelines.
  • Due to the complexities of biological data submission, data submitters are strongly encouraged to contact Tim Fox prior submitting biological datasets.  Mr. Fox can be reached at 410-537-3958 or alternately through email at Tim.Fox@maryland.gov.

How to Submit Data to MDE

All water quality data should be submitted by email to Rebecca Lang at Rebecca.Lang@maryland.gov, or by mail to Ms. Lang at 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 540, Baltimore, MD 21230. 
 
Because the IR is a regulatory document, some data received may not be suitable for water quality assessments. However, the Department will track all data received and data submitters can contact MDE to inquire how their data were used and why.  Please contact Ms. Lang at 410-537-3947 or Rebecca.Lang@maryland.gov with any questions related to data submission.
 

Need Technical Assistance for your Monitoring Program?

MDE and its partners can help your organization with monitoring program design to ensure the desired purpose is met to let you know state data needs. Please contact Rebecca Lang at Rebecca.Lang@maryland.gov for more information.
 
For additional IR information, please visit MDE’s Integrated Report Web page.