In support of EWA’s ocean monitoring requirements, the laboratory performs well over 1,000 tests on ocean samples per year. Results demonstrate that treated water from the EWPCF complies with all regulations and does not negatively impact the local marine environment or contribute to exceeding recreational water quality standards. (Current beach water quality information for San Diego County can be found here.)
EWA’s ocean monitoring program is comprised of the following elements:
Surf Zone Monitoring
To assess bacteriological conditions in areas used for body contact activities, shoreline samples are collected weekly at five stations near EWA’s ocean outfall. These samples are tested for three indicator bacteria that are used to assess the safety of recreational waters for human contact. Over 750 of these tests are performed annually.
Near Shore Monitoring
To assess conditions in areas used for body contact activities and where shellfish may be harvested, samples are collected monthly at five monitoring stations. Three stations are located where the water is 30 feet deep in line with the surf zone stations. The other two stations are located at the edge of kelp beds. Samples are taken at the surface and tested for three indicator bacteria. Over 180 of these tests are performed annually.
To determine compliance with the California Ocean Plan and to determine if EWA’s discharge is causing significant impacts to water quality, samples are collected monthly at five offshore monitoring stations. The stations are located at the point where EWA’s treated wastewater is discharged. Samples are collected at the surface and at a depth of 20 meters, and are tested for three indicator bacteria. Over 350 of these tests are performed annually.
EWA participates in regional monitoring programs. The Region 9 Kelp Consortium performs quarterly aerial flyovers of the kelp beds, using infrared photography to measure their surface areas. Results are compared annually to assess the health of the kelp beds.
Every five years, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) coordinates a study of water quality covering an area from Point Conception to Ensenada, Mexico. Referred to as the Bight Study, this collaborative effort brings dischargers and researchers together to better understand the effects of human activity on coastal ecology, shoreline microbiology, offshore water quality, and rocky reefs. The most recent SCCWRP report can be found here.