National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Mandated Water Quality Monitoring
The Engineering Division monitors the quality of the county’s major watersheds. The NPDES water quality monitoring sites include Bear Creek, Anclote River, Cypress Creek, New River, Pithlachascotee River, Withlacoochee River and Hillsborough River. As part of the requirements for the county’s NPDES permit, sampling is performed on a quarterly basis.
Other monitoring includes U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) installed webcams at several stream gauging sites. The webcams show live video that allows the viewing of real-time river conditions.
Bacteria Source Tracking Studies
The New River Bacteria Source Tracking Study is part of the Hillsborough River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for fecal coliform bacteria. New River is a tributary of the Hillsborough River. This study was implemented in coordination with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and involved collecting water and sediment samples from the river during an eleven month period from October 2010 to September 2011. Microbial Source Tracking and enumeration of Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) was performed at the University of South Florida’s Department of Integrative Biology.
Hudson Beach Bacteria Source Assessment
The county’s Hudson Beach Bacteria Source Assessment Effort began in 2009 to identify potential sources of FIB at Hudson Beach. A water quality assessment was conducted which included the collection and review of historical monitoring data, land use data and wastewater infrastructure mapping information from both public and private entities. The results of the water quality assessment identified multiple potential sources of FIB including untreated stormwater runoff, failing septic systems, sewage discharge from vessels and a private wastewater treatment facility. Work is underway to help inspect underground sewer lines in the study area.