Environmental Multimedia Laboratory

The Multimedia Chemistry Laboratory serves the department by analyzing nearly all of the samples from the DEQ programs. They provide technical and analytical support to other divisions and sections. The laboratory provides the best possible service in the most cost-effective manner for the state. The 4,750 square foot state-of-the-art laboratory facility operates with a staff of professionals using EPA-approved methods and instrumentation. This kind of lab analysis requires extreme care, a well-trained staff and highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation. Projects include analysis testing for the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) programs. Most of the workload is generated by the ambient water quality monitoring network, accounting for approximately 160 sites sample monthly, in addition to monitoring for special projects. Testing is conducted for more than 40 water quality parameters. Current parameters include pathogens, phosphorus, chlorides, total dissolved solids, turbidity, suspended solids, and trace metals.

Other duties of the multimedia laboratory include analyzing compliance samples from wastewater plants, groundwater samples for aquifer protection, and samples from hazardous waste sites. The lab also analyzes and reports data from samples collected in response to complaints.

Water Quality Monitoring Data

The DEQ's Water Quality Monitoring Program includes the monitoring of the chemical parameters in the water of rivers, streams and lakes within the state.

The monitoring network of rivers and streams includes over 160 stations which are sampled monthly, over 100 stations that are sampled on a bimonthly or quarterly schedule and an additional 30-50 stations that are intensively sampled over a short period of time for special purposes. Some of these stations have been regularly sampled since the 1970s. Laboratory chemists analyze samples that Water inspectors collect, and the results can be found in this database. Data previous to September of 1990 can be found on EPA's website.

The Lake and Reservoir Monitoring Program was formalized in 1989 when the first statewide intensive monitoring of Arkansas’s significant publicly-owned lakes was conducted. This included measurement of approximately 30 chemical parameters plus bacteria and chlorophyll a. At least 80 lakes were included. They range in size from 60 to over 45,000 acres and total 356,254 acres. A limited survey of lakes began in 2011 and additional lake data are collected for reference lakes throughout the state or to support other projects.