Community Drinking Water Monitoring Services
With 13 drinking water monitoring studies successfully implemented and 11 completed, we have led the industry in conducting such studies since 1994. These studies have involved several hundred community water systems (CWSs) across the US. We have worked with the Acetochlor Registration Partnership on the largest such study yet conducted, which involved almost 200 CWSs and spanned a period of seven years. Our smallest study involved just five systems sampled over the course of a year to address a product registration issue in a specific region.
Over the last 10 years, we have developed and refined efficient procedures to select and characterize vulnerable CWSs, train sampling personnel, and manage sampling at participating CWSs. Integral to the system selection process is the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate the CWSs in each state, to delineate watersheds for the source waters used by these systems, and to characterize land use, product use, runoff potential, and other spatial factors that contribute to vulnerability. Stone has created custom tools for use with ArcGIS that that efficiently query, map, and summarize crop data, soils data, land use, and historical precipitation records. The objective is to winnow, through an orderly and defensible process, the approximately 10,000 community water systems relying on surface water sources in the US to a representative number of potentially vulnerable systems.
Since surface drinking water monitoring studies rely heavily on the cooperation of the employees of the CWSs, we place a great deal of emphasis on engaging CWS personnel and supporting them with supplies and logistical help throughout the study period. We make sure these employees are well trained in the sampling procedures and relevant aspects of GLPs. We provide a toll-free number so they can call Stone for assistance at any time and speak with a project scientist. We prepare field notebooks customized for each CWS containing sampling/chain-of-custody forms, bottle labels, prepaid shipping airbills, and sampling instructions. We use FedEx tracking software customized by us to ensure that samples are taken on time and delivered directly to the lab. If there is a problem anywhere in the system, we identify it quickly and make arrangements to correct it. We recently completed a study in which more than 2,400 samples were collected and shipped to an independent laboratory over a three-year period.