Water Quality Monitoring

The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department has established a robust water quality sampling and monitoring program on the Little Menomonee River and Creek, Mole Creek, and Ulao/Kaul Creek through grant funding beginning in 2016.  A series of discrete water quality sampling events and continuous water quality monitoring using stationed units is providing data necessary to establish a baseline and provides insight into water quality trends associated with stream and habitat restoration pre- and post-construction, potentially validating the numerous benefits of the Department’s restoration projects.

Discrete water quality samples are collected and analyzed for chloride, E. coli, orthophosphate (dissolved reactive phosphorus), total phosphorus chloride and total suspended solids (TSS) by the Wisconsin SLOH approximately every 30 days from May – October. Additional quantitative abiotic parameters are measured at time of water sampling using a handheld instrument, including: water temperature, pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), dissolved oxygen concentration and percent saturation, turbidity, salinity, atmospheric pressure, air temperature, wet and bankfull width of the stream, and water depth and velocity (at one foot increments across the stream). Visual observations regarding water clarity, condition of riparian habitat, and presence of animal species are also noted. Deployable continuous water quality monitoring units are deployed seasonally (May – October) and are designed to measure water temperature, water depth, dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, and conductivity and programmed to record readings every 30 minutes.

Various water quality contaminants are closely tied to many of the BUI’s (Beneficial Use Impairments) listed for the Milwaukee River Estuary, particularly those related to algal blooms and exposure to bacteria and other pathogens. Poor water quality and excessive nutrient loading adversely affect benthic organisms, fish, wildlife, and plankton. Eutrophic conditions caused by excessive nutrient levels often lead to large algal blooms, which can result in low dissolved oxygen levels, fish kills, and poor aesthetics. Influxes of pathogens into the system, particularly during high flow events, can have a direct effect on fish and wildlife populations and are a major concern for safe public enjoyment of affected waterbodies.

The Department and partners monitor water quality in the County to detect baseline low-flow conditions and to assess changes following rain events.  The parameters include:
Water Quality Parameters
Water Quality Monitoring

Continuous Water Quality Monitoring System

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Probes are protected by PVC pipe

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A combination of the Milwaukee Riverkeeper monitoring data, Ozaukee County data, and other sources will be useful for future water quality improvement planning by providing baseline and highlighting potential pollution hotspots, significant load contributions and trends overtime.

View the Final Water Quality Report Submitted to the WDNR: