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Water Quality: Chemical and Physical Properties

The objective of the Water Quality Monitoring Program of the Estuario de la Bahía de San Juan is to look after the quality of the water of the Estuario de la Bahía de San Juan through physical-chemical characterization of the bodies of water. The evaluation is done through quantification and monthly measurements of environmental indicators, allowing for data collection and analyses that provide opportunities to learn about the ecosystems in the water. The program is an essential part of the Estuario de la Bahía de San Juan Program (PEBSJ) because it allows us to study the impact of the activities we are doing in the PEBSJ’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan.

EBSJ’s Water Quality Monitoring Program has the following main objectives:

  • Determine the current condition of the estuary and how it changes through time.
  • Identify and correct contamination sources.
  • Be alert of any contaminants found so we can notify the corresponding agencies.
  • Create a database for studies and publications.
  • Educate and train volunteers in environmental monitoring.

During the monthly monitoring, we collect data from eight physical chemical parameters with tools from the field: temperature, dissolved oxygen, haziness, pH, transparency, specific conductivity, saltiness, and saturated dissolved oxygen. Some of these parameters have goal values, which indicate if the collected data from that day meets the water quality standards of the PESBJ. Twice a year we take samples for laboratory testing. These tests include 11 new water quality parameters to help us further analyze the current status of the water quality at the EBSJ.

EBSJ’s Water Quality Monitoring Program includes 25 monitoring stations covering 14 bodies of water, including rivers, ravines, estuarine canals, lagoons, and the bay. Data is collected one week per month. Field trips were designed to maximize the workday into four days, and therefore stations are grouped by monitoring day into four groups: Río Piedras stations, Bahía de San Juan stations, Laguna San José and Torrecillas stations, and land stations.

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