Water Quality Testing

For the purposes of monitoring water quality, sources of water "pollution" are categorized into two groups - point sources and non-point sources.

Point Source Pollution

Point source pollution is basically wastewater that is discharged (e.g. through a pipe) directly into a body of water. Examples of point source pollution include industrial or business wastewater discharge, municipal wastewater (i.e. treatment of human sewage), stormwater discharge, and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) waste where CAFO is defined as a large livestock operation housing more than 1000 head of beef cows, 700 head of dairy cows, or 125,000 chickens for example. Point sources of pollution are regulated through the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) and each source must be issued a permit by the WI DNR. The triangles in the graphic below, which was created using the WI DNR water condition viewer, designate each of the WPDES permits issued within the Maunesha River Watershed boundaries which is represented by the yellow line with the black border. You can read more about examples of point source pollution on the WI DNR's website here.

Non-point Source Pollution

According to the WI DNR, "Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, also known as polluted runoff, is a leading cause of water quality problems in Wisconsin. Polluted runoff is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground picking up natural and human–made pollutants, depositing them into rivers, lakes, wetlands and groundwater. Pollutants include fertilizers, nutrients, oil, grease, sediment and bacteria from agricultural, urban and residential areas."

Maunesha River Alliance Water Testing Strategy

We believe that addressing both point and non-point sources of pollution is critical to improving the water quality of the Maunesha River and it's tributaries within the watershed, and therefore, our water quality testing approach will take both types into consideration.

Below are a map of the proposed sampling sites and a list of collection parameters for monitoring both the physical and water quality characteristics of the Maunesha River. The sampling sites have been strategically selected to enable the identification of water quality changes from both point and non-point pollution sources while also maximizing volunteer accessibility to the site.

Initial Parameter Collection List

    • Air Temp
    • Water Temp
    • Turbidity/Transparency
    • Oxygen
    • pH
    • Flow
    • Water Depth - Secchi Disk or Height?

Potential Additional Parameters to be added in the future

    • Nitrogen
    • Phospohorus