2018 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report -
Call for Level 3 Credible Data

Information about submitting Level 3 credible data to Ohio EPA is organized as outlined below. More information about the Integrated Report is on the Ohio Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report page.

  • What kind of data does Ohio EPA want?
    • Microbiological Data
    • Biological and Physical Data
    • Chemical Water Quality Data
  • Do I have Level 3 data?
  • Have I already given Ohio EPA my data?
  • What will be needed in addition to data?
    • Microbiological Data Requirements
    • Biological, Chemical and Physical Data Requirements
  • How do I send the data?
  • To whom do I send the data?

To access the information, click on the relevant link below.

What kind of data does Ohio EPA want?

Ohio EPA is asking for biological, physical habitat and/or chemical data you may wish to submit for consideration as the Agency prepares its 2018 Integrated Report. Both the state and federal governments have an interest in utilizing all available data to make informed decisions about managing Ohio’s aquatic resources. Ohio EPA is soliciting data primarily from NPDES major permit holders, level 3 qualified data collectors and others that may be in possession of level 3 credible data. The data can be of various types (bacteria, biological, physical and chemical water quality data) and must have been collected during the following time frames:

  • Bacteria = 2016 – 2017 (recreation season)
  • Biological, physical habitat, and chemical = 2015 – 2016

Microbiological Data

Ohio EPA measures recreation use attainment by comparing the level of indicator bacteria present in ambient water samples against the bacteria criteria contained in rule 3745-1-37 of Ohio’s water quality standards.

These indicator bacteria serve as predictors for the possible presence of enteric pathogens in the water that can cause a variety of illnesses. The type of indicator bacteria that Ohio EPA is utilizing in the 2018 Integrated Report is E. coli.

Data collected by NPDES discharge permit holders at ambient stream sites upstream and downstream of discharge locations and reported in discharge monitoring reports will be extracted from the SWIMS database. It is unnecessary to resubmit data already submitted into SWIMS. However, if bacteria data were collected at additional ambient stations and not reported through SWIMS, permit holders may voluntarily submit this data to the Agency. Data must have been collected between May 1, 2016, and September 15, 2017, and must meet the basic terms of acceptability found in the requirements listed below.

Biological and Physical Habitat Data

Ohio EPA measures aquatic life use attainment in Ohio streams and rivers by comparing indices generated from fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate data against the biological criteria contained in Ohio’s water quality standards, OAC 3745-1-07, Table 7-1. Field collection and data analysis methodologies for fish and macroinvertebrate community assessments are strictly adhered to and must follow procedures as outlined in documents available from Ohio EPA’s biological criteria website. Physical habitat data should be in the form of the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) and must be submitted if fish community data are being submitted. QHEI procedure manuals and forms can also be found at the above website location.

Chemical water quality data collected in conjunction with biological data is of interest to Ohio EPA. Data should follow the parameters discussed below.

Chemical Water Quality Data

Ohio EPA primarily uses sampling methods described in the 2015 “Surface Water Field Sampling Manual.” Sample collection and analysis method references are listed in paragraph (C) of OAC 3745-4-06. Ohio EPA is interested in other chemical water quality data collected and analyzed by these methods or others of similar quality control/quality assurance rigor.

Do I have Level 3 data?

Credible Data rules (OAC 3745-4-01 to 06), developed in accordance with the 2003 credible data law (ORC 6111.50 to 6111.56), established a water quality monitoring program for the purpose of collecting credible data under the act and required qualified data collectors to follow plans pertaining to data collection. The law further required that collectors submit a certification that the data were collected in accordance with such a plan. Furthermore, as required by the law, a computerized database was developed to track and maintain all credible data in the director’s possession.

Additionally, the law established that external data found to be compliant with the specifications for “level 3 credible data,” which generally means data from a level 3 qualified data collector, can be used for certain regulatory and reporting purposes, such as the Section 303(d) list of Ohio’s impaired waters.

If you have collected data following these procedures, then you may have level 3 credible data eligible for inclusion in the Integrated Report

.

Have I already given Ohio EPA my data?

External data Ohio EPA has received and may use for 305(b)/303(d) reporting:

What will be needed in addition to data?

Specific guidelines for submission of data are listed below. While these guidelines correspond to the regulations regarding credible data, they are not verbatim. To see the regulations, please go to OAC 3745-4-06.

Microbiological Data Requirements

An individual or organization that submits bacteria data to Ohio EPA for consideration in the 2018 Integrated Report shall attest to the validity of the data and adhere to the data quality specification listed here. The submission of data must cover the following:

  • Sampling and test methods, QA/QC specifications: Sampling must be conducted in a manner consistent with procedures contained in Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater or the 2015 “Surface Water Field Sampling Manual.”
    Analytical testing must be conducted in accordance with U.S. EPA approved methods under 40 CFR 136.3. Acceptable references for methods for qualified data collectors are given in paragraph (C) of OAC 3745-4-06 and include Ohio EPA references, U.S. EPA references and Standard Methods. Data submissions must include a description of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) plans under which the bacteria sample analysis occurred. This should address topics such as sample handling and preservation, sample holding time, chain of custody, precision, accuracy, etc.
  • Description of Sampling Program: A brief description of the purpose of data collection and the sampling design considerations should be provided. Were specific sources of potential contamination under investigation? Were samples collected at fixed station locations? How often and under what kinds of environmental conditions were samples collected? Have the results been published in a report or the scientific literature?
  • Minimum Data Submission: Ohio EPA is requesting only bacteria data (E. coli) collected during the recreation season (May 1st to October 31st) for 2016 and (May 1st to September 15th) for 2017. The following information must be included in the data submission in an electronic spreadsheet or database format:
    • Sample collection date
    • Sample collection method (with reference)
    • Sample site location including waterbody name, county, river mile (if known), latitude/longitude (decimal degrees or degrees, minutes, and seconds)
    • E. coli count
    • Identification of units associated with bacteria counts
    • Any applicable data qualifiers (as received from the lab, if applicable)
    • Contact name, address, telephone number and email address of the person submitting the data set
    • Identification of the laboratory performing the sample analysis.

Biological, Chemical and Physical Habitat Data Requirements

An individual or organization who submits biological, chemical and/or physical habitat data to Ohio EPA for consideration in the 2018 Integrated Report shall attest to the validity of the data and adhere to the data quality specifications listed here. The submission of data must cover the following:

  • Analytical and sampling procedures (examples):
  • Description of Sampling Program: A brief description of the purpose of data collection and the sampling design considerations should be provided. Were specific sources of potential contamination under investigation? Were samples collected at fixed station locations? How often and under what kinds of environmental conditions were samples collected? Have the results been published in a report or the scientific literature?
    If the data have been or will be submitted as part of the Credible Data Program and there is an approved project study plan, this requirement is potentially waived, pending a successful data review that confirms study plan was adhered to as written.
  • Minimum Data Submission: Ohio EPA is requesting biological, chemical and physical habitat data collected from 2015-2016. The following information must be included in the data submission in an electronic spreadsheet or database format:
    • Sample collection date
    • Sample collection method (with reference)
    • Sample site location including waterbody name, county, river mile (if known), latitude/longitude (decimal degrees or degrees, minutes and seconds)
    • Type of data collected (fish, macroinvertebrate, chemical and physical parameters)
    • Analytical and collection methodologies used (include references)
    • Any applicable data qualifiers (as received from the lab, if applicable)
    • Contact name, address, telephone number, and email address of the person submitting the data set
    • Identification of the laboratory performing the sample analysis (if applicable)
    • Weather conditions, flow and precipitation (all optional)

How do I send the data?

If you have bacteria data collected from surface waters in Ohio, Ohio EPA would be interested in discussing its possible use in the Integrated Report. Contact Chris Skalski at (614) 644-2144 or chris.skalski@epa.ohio.gov before preparing and submitting any information.

The Agency’s capacity to accept and utilize the data in preparation of the Integrated Report is dependent upon a variety of factors and the use of all data brought to our attention may not be possible. Data must have been collected after May 1, 2016, and must meet the basic acceptability specifications listed above. Data must be provided in electronic format such as STORET, Excel or Access.

Ohio EPA already has data from some credible data collectors, as listed in the table above. Additional data may be available and Ohio EPA is soliciting these data. If you have biological, chemical or physical habitat data collected from surface waters in Ohio, Ohio EPA would be interested in discussing its possible use in the Integrated Report. Contact Jeff DeShon at (614) 836-8780 or jeffrey.deshon@epa.ohio.gov before preparing and submitting any information. The Agency’s capacity to accept and utilize the data in preparation of the Integrated Report is dependent upon a variety of factors and the use of all data brought to our attention may not be possible. Data must have been collected after January 1, 2015, and must meet the basic acceptability specifications listed above. Data must be provided in an electronic format such as STORET, Excel or Access.

To whom do I send the data?

Submit microbiological data and supporting information listed above by Sept. 15, 2017, to:

Chris Skalski, chris.skalski@epa.ohio.gov
Ohio EPA/DSW
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049.

Submit biological, physical habitat and chemical water quality data and supporting information listed above by July 15, 2017, to:

Jeff DeShon, jeffrey.deshon@epa.ohio.gov
Ohio EPA/Groveport Field Office
4675 Homer-Ohio Lane
Groveport, Ohio 43125