WATER QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM
The Bishop Paiute Tribe (BPT) Water Quality Control Program began in 1998, just 2 years after the Tribal Environmental Management Office (EMO) was established. During the formation of the Water Quality Control Program the EMO initiated a complete assessment of waters within the exterior boundaries of the Bishop Paiute Reservation. In April 2006, the Bishop Paiute Tribe was granted "Treatment in the Same Manner as a State (TAS)" under §518(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for purposes of administering CWA §303(c) and §401. This approval awards the Tribe authority to administer water quality standards and issue certifications (401) on the surface and groundwater of the Bishop Reservation.
The Water Quality Control Program monitors surface waters to protect a number of uses, particularly but not limited to municipal and domestic supply, agricultural supply, groundwater recharge, recreation, wildlife habitat, and cultural. Surface water samples are currently collected and analyzed for bacteria (E. coli) and nutrients (total phosphorus and nitrates). In situ surface water measurements are made to determine temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen parameters. Samples of fish tissue, sediment, and benthic macroinvertebrates are also collected annually for water quality purposes. Present uses for groundwater are municipal and domestic supply, industrial service supply, agricultural and cultural. The water level of the uppermost, unconfined aquifer is monitored at numerous shallow wells scattered across the Reservation. Two deeper wells are monitored to determine the water level of a deep aquitard and even deeper confined aquifer. Groundwater is sampled on a bi-annual basis and analyzed for bacteria (E. coli), chemical constituents, and radioactivity to monitor potential sources of contamination.
With increased grant funding in 2008, the Water Quality Control Program established and maintains multiple continuous surface water monitoring stations along both the North and South Forks of Bishop Creek within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation. This advancement in technology provides the Water Quality Control Program with a more complete data set and a more robust data management system. Want to know about our monitoring efforts? Click on the MONITORING tab above.
BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBAL ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY (BPTEL)
The BPTEL was established in 1999 to provide bacteria (total coliform and E. Coli) analyses by the Colilert method. We currently analyze domestic water samples from tribal utility organizations for compliance with federal regulations and ambient water samples for recreational purposes.
Drinking Water Analysis Certification
BPTEL first received this certification in August 29, 2006. On July 26, 2006, Andrew Lincoff, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 9 Laboratory Certification Officer conducted an on-site evaluation of the BPTEL. The on-site evaluation was conducted for the purpose of renewing certification for analyzing drinking water samples under the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Program. Following Mr. Lincoff’s on-site evaluation, BPTEL was awarded full certification for the analysis of total coliforms and E. Coli by the Colilert procedure. Full certification will remain until December 1, 2009, provided BPTEL notifies Region 9 of any significant change in personnel, equipment, or laboratory location within 30 days of such change. Mr. Lincoff’s report and certification to perform microbiological analysis of drinking water have been included as an attachment.
Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sorting
BPTEL also processes aquatic insect samples collected annually from surface waters. These samples are commonly referred to as benthic macroinvertebrates. The Water Quality Control Program has been collecting these samples since 2001. With these data we can determine the species diversity as an index of the health of our streams.
The Environmental Management Office has employed high school biology interns since 2000. One of the main responsibilities of our interns has been to aid in the processing of the benthic macroinvertebrate samples since we first began collecting them. Click here to view a complete description of intern requirements and responsibilities.
If you know someone who may be interested in participating in the Bishop Paiute Tribe Environmental Management Office High School Biology Intern Program, make sure that they meet the requirements, complete an application and submit that along with their resume.
WATER QUALITY MONITORING EFFORTS
The Water Quality Control Program (WQCP) staff monitors the surface waters of Bishop Creek, within the Bishop Paiute Reservation. Four water quality monitoring stations are programmed to continuously collect the following physical parameters:
Real-Time Data on TREX
The WQCP staff is currently working to make the data available real-time and on the web through the Tribal Environmental Exchange Network (TREX).
During irrigation season (April 1st - October 31st), WQCP staff collects weekly surface water samples at six sites to determine the coliform bacteria levels. A geometric mean value is calculated for each site from the analyzed E. coli data and compared to the Tribe's adopted E. coli criteria. Click here to view graphs of the most recent E. coli data.
Staff also monitor groundwater levels regularly within the Bishop Paiute Reservation.
Want to know more? Check out the Tribe's Water Quality Standards on the WQ Standard link above.
Water Quality Coordinator
50-B Tu Su Lane
Bishop, California 93514
(760) 873-3584 ext. 255
50-B Tu Su Lane
Bishop, CA 93514
(760) 873-3584 ext. 246
Environmental Technician - Intern
50-B Tu Su Lane
Bishop, CA 93514