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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manuals are important tools for achieving quality assurance practices in the Division of Water (DOW).  SOPs describe specific methods and procedures used in all aspects of environmental planning and monitoring projects. Most SOPs utilized in DOW activities are developed internally. These procedures were written to meet state obligations and requirements for monitoring and analyzing data.

The use of these SOPs by outside organizations and agencies should be coordinated with a DOW scientist to ensure that the correct application of these protocols and templates is performed.

If a procedure is not listed in the current table, it is possible that it was covered in a prior document and can be located in the historic SOP section beneath the table.

Contact the specific project biologist or Lisa Hicks (the quality assurance officer) for assistance in identifying the most current document to use.

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Current SOPs

The following tables provide the most current SOPs used in biological, physical, chemical and habitat monitoring and assessment.


 Biological and Laboratory Analysis SOPs

Sampling and collection of macroinvertebrates in wadeable streams
Processing and identification of macroinvertebrates
Processing and identification of fish
Sampling and collection methods of fish in wadeable streams
Identification and enumeration of diatoms
Processing of diatom samples
Sampling and collection procedures for benthic algae in wadeable streams
Assessment of habitat for benthic algae in wadeable streams

​Evaluating habitat conditions in wadeable waters in support of water quality assessments.​


​​SOP for collecting fish tissue in determining selenium concentrations under a KPDES permit


​Procedures for processing and preparing fish tissue for analysis


​SOP for macroinvertebrate sampling and collection for Watershed-based Planning


Prodedure for Collection of Fish in Large Wadeable and Non-wadeable Streams and Rivers​


​Collecting and analyzing Chlorophyll a


 Bacteria Sampling and Analysis SOPs

Laboratory procedures for the analysis of total coliforms and E coli bacteria.​

 Sample Control and Field Measurements SOPs


​The procedure to sample lakes and reservoirs for water quality.

Document, track and control all types of samples
Process of calibration and use of in-situ water quality meters
Sampling surface waters in streams
Procedure for measuring stream discharge

 Water Quality Assessments SOPs


​Section 305(b) assessment procedures for designated uses of surface waters. Included is an overview of water quality standards data requirements, applicable designated uses, and the waterbody assessment units


 Index Calculation Documents

This document is used to make macroinvertebrate assessments statewide. The four MBI templates listed below are multi-metric indices that use macroinvetebrates as bioindicators for stream health. Each template includes a description of how to use the metric.
This document outlines a multi-metric index that uses fish as the bioindicator for assessing stream health.  The KIBI provides a numerical value and corresponding narrative classification for headwater and wadeable streams.  A  KIBI template has been developed to simplify the calculation process.  An  overview of the KIBI document and template is also available.

Historical SOPs

If a procedure or method is not found in the current section of SOPs, then the use of the historical SOPs listed below may be necessary. Check with your project scientist for use of appropriate documents.

 2002 Methods for Assessing Biological Integrity of Surface Waters in Kentucky -- This SOP is a version from 2002 for all biological monitoring and should only be used in reference for past projects.
2008 Methods for Assessing Biological Integrity of Surface Waters in Kentucky -- This SOP is a version from 2008 of all biological monitoring methods. This file includes the  main document and the  appendices.
 A Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment Index (MBI) for Headwater Streams of the Eastern Coalfield Region, Kentucky -- This document delineates the methods DOW uses to assess streams for macroinvertebrates in the eastern Kentucky coalfield region.
 Kentucky Ambient/Watershed Water Quality Monitoring Standard Operating Procedure Manual -- This manual describes how water samples are collected, preserved and delivered to a laboratory for analysis, and should generally only be used for reference purposes.