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Water Quality

Water Quality Monitoring
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The City of Naples, Natural Resources Division, currently monitors surface estuarine waters in Naples Bay, the Gordon River, and Moorings Bay. Prior to January 2006, limited water quality monitoring in Naples Bay had been carried out by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Collier County. However, in January of 2006, the City’s Natural Resources Division established a scientific and technically valid water quality sampling program. Since that time, the water quality of Naples Bay and the Gordon River has been sampled on a monthly basis at 16 different locations; 8 one month and 8 different sites the next month. In October 2008, 4 sites were added in Moorings Bay. Sites were revamped in January 2011 for Naples Bay and the Gordon River so that a total of 8 sites are sampled every month and some relocated sites are sampling water coming into the City from creeks and outfalls that drain County lands. This will allow staff to determine what pollutants are entering the City limits and where they are coming from.

Parameters that are measured include turbidity, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and other physical parameters, and water samples are laboratory-tested for various nutrientWater Testings, bacteria, and heavy metals. Having met the vigorous quality assurance and quality control requirements of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the data is entered into the official State of Florida data storage system (STORET). The City analyzes this data to assess trends and make management decisions concerning the restoration of Naples Bay.

As a result of this systematic sampling, data analysis by DEP revealed that nutrient concentrations were not as high as previously shown by the limited data that had placed the bay on the DEP’s impaired waters planning list for nutrients. Consequently, Naples Bay was delisted for nutrients by the State of Florida. The bay is still impaired though for dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform bacteria, copper and iron.

Through the analysis of years of data and by utilizing GIS, staff were able to identify copper as a major pollutant in Naples Bay and to locate “hot spots” at the stormwater outfalls that drain the City’s 28 stormwater ponds, streets, and other impervious surfaces. These stormwater ponds have been treated with the algaecide, copper sulfate, for decades in order to kill algae, and are likely one source of copper to our natural waterways. A report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tested oysters in Naples Bay and identified them as having one of the highest sampled levels of copper in the nation. The copper issue was also validated by DEP, which placed Naples Bay on the impaired waters list for this metal.