Finding the right fit: Modeling US water quality criteria, with Brad Barnhart

Credit: terovesalainen/Adobe Stock

 No water, no life. No blue, no green.

– Sylvia Earle

Water is the most important substance on earth. Without it, life would not exist. To ensure that water is safe for drinking, swimming, fishing, and to support wildlife, scientists are constantly updating the criteria that determine if a body of water is protective for biota health or “safe” for human consumption, recreation, or other designated use. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends using environmental models in the development of water quality criteria; however, a variety of models exist, and they differ in their strengths, limitations, assumptions, and data requirements. In this podcast, we talk with Brad Barnhart, lead author on an IEAM article that reviews environmental models used in developing water quality criteria. The article summarizes the types of models recommended by the USEPA, their attributes, and advantages and disadvantages with each approach, providing readers with a roadmap to help navigate regulatory environmental modeling frameworks. Access the article in the January 2023 issue of IEAM.

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