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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Laboratory and Environmental Assessment

Water Quality Monitoring

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Water Quality Monitoring

Statewide Toxics Monitoring Program

Program Overview


This map shows site sampled across the state (2008 to 2013). Sample types collected at each site are indicated on the map.


Basin summary Graph

This chart shows number of unique chemicals detected in water samples by category across Oregon.

In water, detections occur frequently for current-use pesticides and metals.

In 2008, the DEQ Laboratory launched a statewide water quality toxics monitoring program. Lab staff sampled water, fish and sediment on a rotating basin basis. Land use, population pressures, past contamination and discharges were all factors in choosing monitoring sites.

Overall, goals for DEQ's Water Quality Toxics Monitoring Program are to:

  • Gather information to characterize the presence and concentration of chemicals of concern in Oregonís waters.
  • Use this information to identify sources of these chemicals.
  • Present and make available information gathered for public benefit.
  • Work with DEQ internal groups, community groups and Oregon citizens to identify opportunities for reducing these pollutants.

The lab completed its initial survey of the state in 2013. Data analysis and review is continuing. This effort will help DEQ build a more complete water quality toxics monitoring strategy. The next phase of monitoring is expected to begin in mid-2015.

Program News

In April 2015, the program completed its Statewide Water Quality Toxics Assessment. The report summarizes results from water samples collected (over the past several years) at 177 sites across the state. Subsequent reports will be completed in the coming months summarizing tissue and sediment sample results.

Analyzing toxics

The DEQ laboratory analyzes seven major categories of toxics. Read more about the specific toxics categories DEQ investigates.

DEQ laboratory staff collected samples on a rotating basin schedule during spring, summer and fall. Collection of all types of samples did not occur at each site. Access, site appropriateness, species availability and hydrology all determine the types of samples collected. Also, the lab does not analyze all types of samples for all the chemical categories described above.

Some pollutants, because of their chemical structure and behavior in the environment, are more likely to be found in fish and sediment. These pollutants are often bio-accumulative, meaning the concentration of the chemical increases in the tissues of organisms up the food chain. These pollutants have potential impacts on humans through fish consumption. The laboratory analyzes selected water samples, fish tissue and sediments for these pollutants including legacy pesticides (pesticides no longer produced today but still in the environment), flame retardants, industrial intermediates (including PCBs and other industrial compounds) and combustion by-products (including dioxins and furans).

The lab works with other DEQ and state programs, such as the DEQ Toxics Reduction Strategy, to align and summarize chemicals investigated by the water quality toxics monitoring program.

Data Downloads

Follow the links below to download data from the 2008 – 2013 monitoring.


For questions, comments or information about DEQ's Water Quality Toxics Monitoring Program, please contact: Lori Pillsbury Water Quality Toxics Monitoring Program Coordinator.

[print version]

For more information about DEQ's Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Division please email LEAD.


Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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