Water Quality in Sardis Lake: A Multi-Variate Statistical Method for Analysis of Temporal and Spatial Trends

Author(s): Surbeck, C.

Water quality data from rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water are collected by environmental agencies. These monitoring activities occur because of requirements set by regulations, and data are collected in a systematic way for the intended purpose. Monitoring enables agencies to determine whether water bodies are polluted. Much effort is spent for each monitoring event, resulting in hundreds of data points typically used solely for comparison with regulatory standards and then stored for little further use. This presentation shows a data analysis methodology applied to Sardis Lake in north Mississippi that uses a pre-existing dataset to extract more useful information on water quality trends, without new sample collection and analysis. In this presentation, measured lake water quality data are subjected to statistical analyses including Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to deduce changes in water quality spatially and temporally over several years. It was found that the lake water quality as a whole changed temporally by season, rather than spatially. Storm events caused the greatest shifts in water quality, and the shifts were fairly consistent across sampling stations. This methodology can be applied to similar datasets, especially with the recent emphasis by the U.S. EPA on protection of lakes as water sources. Water quality managers using these techniques may be able to lower their monitoring costs by eliminating redundant water quality parameters found in this statistical analysis.
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Technical Sessions

1 Best Management Practices #1
2 Delta Water Assessment
3 Flood Assessment & Mgmt.
4 Wetlands
5 Watershed Mgmt. #1
6 Non-Point Source Assessment
7 Modeling
8 Water Quality
9 Best Mgt. Practices #2
10 Delta Water Conservation
11 Sedimentation
12 Storm Water
13 Watershed Mgt. #2
14 Public Water Systems
15 Surface Water Assessment & Evaluation

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