The Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project was initiated in October 1988 to provide long-term water-quality data for six area water-supply reservoirs and their tributaries. In addition, the project provides data that can be used to determine the effectiveness of large-scale changes in water-resource management practices, document differences in water quality among water-supply types (large multiuse reservoir, small reservoir, run-of-river), and tributary-loading and in-lake data for water-quality modeling of Falls and Jordan Lakes. By September 2001, the project had progressed in four phases and included as many as 34 sites (in 1991). Most sites were sampled and analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey. Some sites were already a part of the North Carolina Division of Water Quality statewide ambient water-quality monitoring network and were sampled by the Division of Water Quality. The network has provided data on streamflow, physical properties, and concentrations of nutrients, major ions, metals, trace elements, chlorophyll, total organic carbon, suspended sediment, and selected synthetic organic compounds.
Project quality-assurance activities include written procedures for sample collection, record management and archive, collection of field quality-control samples (blank samples and replicate samples), and monitoring the quality of field supplies. In addition to project quality-assurance activities, the quality of laboratory analyses was assessed through laboratory quality-assurance practices and an independent laboratory quality-control assessment provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Quality Systems through the Blind Inorganic Sample Project and the Organic Blind Sample Project.