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505 Site Assessment Form

2010-03

Site Assessment Checklist


A Guide to information that should be gathered during
the site assessment & incorporated into project design

I) General Information..........................................................................................................................2
1. Overview..................................................................................................................................2
2. History Aspects.........................................................................................................................2
3. Logistical Support....................................................................................................................2
4. Environmental Aspects.............................................................................................................2
5. Socio-Cultural Aspects.............................................................................................................3
6. Outcome Assessment Questions...............................................................................................3
7. Health Assessment....................................................................................................................3
II) Water Projects..................................................................................................................................4
1. Water Quality Testing...............................................................................................................4
2. Supply/Distribution..................................................................................................................4
3. Water Treatment.......................................................................................................................5
III) Sanitation........................................................................................................................................7
1. Background Data......................................................................................................................7
2. Wastewater Management..........................................................................................................7
3. Waste Treatment.......................................................................................................................8
4. Construction, Collection and Conveyance...............................................................................8
5. Environment.............................................................................................................................9
6. Overall Considerations.............................................................................................................9
IV) Construction Projects...................................................................................................................10
1. Materials Availability/Testing.................................................................................................10
2. Constructability Issues:..........................................................................................................10
3. Loading...................................................................................................................................10
4. Labor & Community..............................................................................................................10
5. Bridges....................................................................................................................................11
6. Buildings.................................................................................................................................11
V) Energy...........................................................................................................................................12
1. Solar........................................................................................................................................12
VI) Recommended Reading...............................................................................................................14
APPENDIX A Various Forms for Data Collection..........................................................................15

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I) General Information
Note: Please refer to the Submittal Deadlines webpage for important report submission deadlines
1. Overview
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

How large is the community total population, distribution in the town and vicinity
What is the makeup of the community ethnic groups, ages, economic status
What social events should the chapter plan around (tribal holidays, Western holidays, , etc)
Are there other EWB chapters in the region/country
Review applicable guidelines (wastewater, survey, etc.) developed by EWB for particular
assessment strategies as applicable.\

2. History Aspects
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

What is the history of the problem/need


If more than one need, what is the priority of the needs
Have similar problems been addressed elsewhere
Have other groups attempted to resolve the problem(s)
Are there other appraisals available for this area (Peace Corps, NGOs) published, web

3. Logistical Support
a. Note status of existing utility systems (water, wastewater, power, phone), if any, and sources
b. Investigate availability and cost of materials and tools in the region for use in alternatives
analysis and budget development
c. Where will volunteers stay during trips to the community
i. How many can comfortably be supported by the community
ii. Where will volunteers eat; what water can they drink safely
iii. Please keep in mind that large numbers of visitors put an undue burden on the
community
d. Contacts in the area or community that can be used throughout your program
i. Translators, skilled labor etc.
e. Is there a significant contribution by the host community to the project
i. How can the community contribute to the project
ii. A written Memorandum of Understanding may help define roles
f. How will the EWB-USA project be supported over time
i. Who will maintain the system
ii. What financial mechanisms will be established for M&O costs
iii. Should a board be set up to govern the project and manage fees
iv. Will this project serve as a model for other communities in the area

4. Environmental Aspects
a. Where are project materials derived from; where is waste disposed
i. Does the project encourage waste generation or natural resource depletion
b. Does the project promote excessive material use and consumerism
c. Are sensitive ecosystems being adversely impacted by the project, e.g. for a well project:
who will monitor the aquifer and watershed
d. Would natural resources be conserved even if the project is widely adopted
e. If the project was applied in all villages in the entire watershed/region, what could happen
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f. If the project was used long-term, what impact is expected on the environment
g. What is the end-of-life for the engineered product: is it biodegradable, non-toxic, reusable

5. Socio-Cultural Aspects
a. Does the EWB-USA project also help preserve indigenous culture and knowledge
b. Are you capitalizing on existing indigenous knowledge
c. Does the EWB-USA project support and respect the local cultural structures. Could local
traditions be interrupted or lost, e.g. TV is attributed to a decline in community story-telling
d. Do local social structures exist in the village to approve or veto a project of this type; are
these local social structures and elders respected within the local community
e. Are there segments of society that may be marginalized by the project (they may not
necessarily have a voice); how may they be integrated into the project
f. Does the project preserve continuity and enhance self-reliance and self-image of the
community by integrating new technologies with existing successful traditions
g. Are there regional or national governmental permits or approval needed
h. How do gender roles affect the successful implementation of the project

6. Outcome Assessment Questions


a. Is the community aware of the anticipated engineering outcome of the project; can they
assist in defining a metric for this and monitoring it
b. Who among the community may be trained to gather data on project outcomes
c. Who among the community is observant and would notice any unexpected negative
consequences of the project on the community or the ecosystem

7. Health Assessment
a. An initial health assessment is necessary for your first assessment trip to establish a
baseline of health indicators. The baseline indicators will be compared to the data of future
health assessments to determine if the project is successfully improving the quality of
peoples lives. It is also useful for determining future statistics on how much the project
helped the community.
b. There are resources on our website, such as a Community Health Assessment Guidelines
document, which you may use as a resource. This document is only intended to be a guide
with examples of questions used by health professionals in development projects. You
should draw off of these guidelines to develop a health survey tailored to the community and
your projects needs. The questionnaire has items that people are typically uncomfortable
talking about in person, such as how sick are you and how do you treat the illnesses. You
may want to consider having a local health professional perform the survey before you
arrive, You may also want to consider including a health professional on your team.
c. Can the community discuss anticipated human health/societal benefits of the project and
define metrics for evaluating these.
d. Some projects dont see the need for this because they feel that their project does not affect
health, however, it is important to have this benchmark anyway; e.g. a bridge can affect
peoples nutrition because of the new goods available, improperly disposed batteries from an
energy project can negatively affect peoples health.

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II) Water Projects


1. Water Quality Testing
Testing must be performed for ALL water supply and treatment projects as part of the assessment
trip. Bacterial testing: either plate count or Most Probable Number (MPN) should be used;
presence/absence (P/A) tests are not advised because for most EWB projects the treated water
quality may always contain bacteria. Water samples should be tested within 4 hours of taking the
sample, or they should be kept on ice.
a.We recommend the following tests kits:
i. 3M Petrifilm is an inexpensive water quality test which requires incubation. All
university students are eligible for up to 100 free tests each year. Follow the link for
more information about ordering as well as educational videos about using Petrifilm.
Chapters have reported that expedited requests are sent 2nd day air
ii. Micrology Laboratories Coliscan tests do require an incubator.
iii. LaMotte Coliform Test is a MPN test that works at room temperature, and does not
require an incubator. While a P/A test is not recommended, P/A tests can be used to
statistically determine the number of coliforms in a sample
iv. Hach MEL/850 Potable Water Laboratory and the OXFAM DelAgua Water Testing
Kit. Both of these kits are designed for field use and test for general parameters
needed for a basic water quality assessment
b.Other recommended tests:
i. pH
ii. Turbidity
iii. Nitrate
iv. Pollutants? Petroleum (TPH), VOCs
Additional information on water quality testing is available in the Water Testing Guidance Sheet, which
is available on the website under EWB-USA Guidelines.

2. Supply/Distribution
a. Supply/Demand analysis
i. What is the capacity of your source dry season flow rates or productivity of aquifer
ii. What is the demand now and in the future

How will the water be used drinking and cooking only?

Will there be public taps that still require hauling water or household taps?

Typical values range from 20 lppd (for drinking and cooking only) to 100+
lppd for all uses including laundry, bathing, cleaning, pour flush latrines, etc.
b. Site topography for pipeline (elevation changes)
i. A good handheld GPS is only accurate to +/- 3ft in XY and +/- 10ft in Z at best; see
your owners manual for information on your GPS unit, a hand level will provide
better accuracy
ii. Make sure to check with a local university on the possibility of borrowing surveying
equipment and having students volunteer their time to help out with the surveying
i. Whose land will the pipeline cross; are there any ownership rights that need to be
addressed
b. Water rights- who owns the water

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c.

Flow rates and current pipe sizes - what are the current flow rates and usage patterns.
This data should be recorded first-hand if possible as existing data is often times
unreliable
d. Material availability
i. what type of pipes and valves are available
ii. what is the maximum pressure for these pipes/valves
iii. how will they be replaced if they break
e. Tap locations
i. Where will the taps be located; how many people will use each tap
ii. Will taps be installed in households or in a central location
iii. If household taps are used:

Chapter must consider wastewater issues, impact of additional water usage,


who gets water first, etc.

f.

Wastewater
i. With more water, there is more wastewater, consider how will this be
treated/channeled; are there any additional health risks associated with this water
(i.e. Malaria)
g. Water source
i. River

Who is downstream of the community that may be affected by this diversion


or water

What are flows and water elevations during high and low flow conditions

ii. Spring:

Is a spring box needed; what materials are available for the spring box

What does the spring look like in the low and high flow conditions

Ownership of spring

Does a tap need to reside on the spring box for people who used that spring
for watering their animals etc
iii. Groundwater (Wells)

Are there wells in the area; how much do their water levels fluctuate

What kind of pumping rates can be achieved

What is the depth to potable water, is there more than one aquifer, is the
aquifer protected

Who will monitor the well

Distance to latrines in the area, surface water intrusion on the well

Are there local drillers

3. Water Treatment
a. What kind of source water protection measures are possible
b. What materials are available locally; what are their costs?
i. Chlorine (are trained personnel available as well?)
ii. Sand or carbon filtration
iii. Pumice or gravels
iv. UV light bulbs; these contain mercury how will they be disposed UV bulbs are
rarely available locally, eliminating this technology as an option for an EWB-USA
proejct

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v. Solar Disinfection (SODIS) suitability of household rooftops and availability of


safe bottles. How will bottles be disposed?
b. What treatment technologies is the community familiar with
c. Technical skills of community who is qualified to maintain treatment
d. Operational costs can the community afford to operate and maintain treatment system
c. Understanding of water supply system supply/demand, elevations, flows, etc.

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III) Sanitation
1. Background Data
a. What is the source of the wastewater, i.e. toilets, washwater, greywater
b. Can sources of wastewater be segregated to simplify or reduce costs of construction and
maintenance
c. Source separation or segregation of wastes can reduce the volume of water requiring
treatment and the resulting expense and influence the type of treatment needed to purify the
water, for example:
i. Feces could be collected and separately treated in a pit or composting latrine
ii. Urine can be separated and beneficially used for fertilizer
iii. Greywater (water only used for washing dishes and bathing) may require less
treatment or a smaller treatment area that water bearing feces.
d. What quantities of waste (solid or water borne) will be generated; volume/mass of feces and
urine, as well as materials used for anal cleansing (paper, water, plant materials, etc) need to
be considered
e. All systems generate solid waste materials or biosolids - methods to collect and reuse
biosolids needs to be included:
i. What quantities of biosolids will be generated?
ii. Are there adequate systems to collect the biosolids?
iii. Can biosolids be composted?
iv. Have odors and vectors (flies and rodents), and contamination of storm water been
considered
v. Can the biosolids be beneficially used (applied to amend soils)?.
f. site topography for (elevation changes)

2. Wastewater Management
Both social and technical alternatives should be considered a. Social issues include:
i. The need for separate mens and womens facilities
ii. The locations of facilities and the ability of children to use the facilities
iii. Accessibility of the facilities
iv. It is possible to design a great system that will not get used, due to cultural habits,
taboos, fears and inconvenience
b. Technical alternatives to be considered and evaluated include, but are not limited to:
i. Pit latrine
ii. Ventilated pit latrines
iii. Composting latrines
iv. Water privy
v. Pour flush latrines
vi. Flushing toilets with treatment

Septic tanks followed by soils based absorption systems (SBAS), a.k.a.


leachfields

Media filters, e.g. textile, peat, sand

Recirculating sand filters (if pumps are available)

Aerobic plants (require electricity)

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c.

2010-03

Sand filters (closed and open bottom)

Constructed wetlands, overland flow

Lagoons

For latrines consider the following:


i. The type of superstructure and materials to utilize
ii. Venting to control odors and enhance biodegradation of the feces and evaporation
of urine
iii. Insect and rodent proofing
iv. Adequate slope to drain away from the superstructure
v. Type of covering over the vault
vi. squat plate
vii. Depth, volume and lining for the pit
viii. Distance from water sources and wells

3. Waste Treatment
a. Water privys and pour flush latrines rely upon treatment and dispersal of wastewater into the
surrounding soils
i. If the system will rely upon soil treatment (e.g. a leach field, pour flush latrine,
seepage pit), are the soil conditions and available area for infiltration conducive to
this type of treatment
ii. Subsurface conditions that impact performance and must be considered are:

Soil types/percolations rates - soil can be classified using the U.S.


Department of Agriculture (USDA) textural triangle into sandy loams, loams,
and sandy clay loams or using the Unified Soils Classification System
(USCS) into SW, SC, CL, CH, etc. In areas where pan evaporation exceeds
precipitation for most months soils classified as clays (CL, CH) may require
large absorption systems or the use of an evapotranspirative type of
system.; A quick perc test can be performed in possible disposal area(s)

Depth to groundwater - a minimum of 12-18 separation between the


infiltrative surface of the leach field and groundwater is required; if depth to
groundwater is unsatisfactory, a mound system may be utilized, provided
there sufficient quantity of fill soils to create a mound

4. Construction, Collection and Conveyance


a. Are sufficient materials, labor, and equipment available to construct the components of the
treatment systems; for example:
i. Concrete and wood forms for a septic tank,
ii. Sand for sand filters
iii. Mortar and bricks for a seepage pit or vault.
iv. Piping to convey wastewater to the treatment system
v. Labor and equipment to excavate pits, pipeline trenches, leach fields
vi. Wood or brick for privy superstructures
b. How much pipe will be required to convey the wastewater from the source to the treatment
system - the cost and labor of a system will increase significantly with systems that require a
lot of piping
i. Latrines require little piping,
ii. Septic tanks with SBAS may require more piping
iii. Lagoons and constructed wetlands may require even more pipe to deliver the
wastewater from the source to the treatment system
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5. Environment
a. Will the system prevent or minimize contamination or further degrade the receiving waters
(surface lakes, streams and groundwater)
b. Is the level of treatment provided by the system sufficient to prevent degradation of receiving
waters
c. Can water be re-used for beneficial uses, e.g. crop irrigation
i. In areas with plenty of rainfall, reuse of the wastewater may not be worth pursuing;
however, in areas where water is scarce, reuse should be carefully considered
ii. If wastewater will be re-used, the uses of the water will significantly influence the
degree of treatment and performance assurance of the system must be carefully
considered.
iii. If the water can be re-used, how will the water be stored and applied to crops
d. Consider whether gas from biological treatment processes can be collected and used for
cooking and heating (biogas plant), possibly including animal waste

6. Overall Considerations
a.
b.
c.
d.

Is the project feasible from a social, economic, technical, standpoint


Is the project buildable
Have several alternatives been considered
The ideal solution for a project may require a single system, e.g. vault privy, while other
situations may require a combination of systems; several alternatives should be considered
following the site assessment

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IV) Construction Projects


Assuming some sort of structure is being contemplated, such as: water tanks, buildings of any sort,
culverts, bridges, pole support structures, modifications to existing structures, etc.

1. Materials Availability/Testing
a. What building materials are readily available; keep in mind that it is not enough to just know
if ready-mixed concrete is available, you also have to form the concrete so are forming
material (i.e. plywood) must be available
b. Are local materials available such as sand, gravel, or wood
c. Can you ascertain the strengths of the available building materials? I.E. grade of reinforcing
bars, strength of concrete mix, grade or strength of concrete masonry blocks, grade or
strength of corrugated metal panels, etc.
d. Materials cannot be assumed to be the strength in text books
i. Conservative estimate for concrete strength is 2300PSI if it is mixed by hand
ii. All rebar should be tested for large construction
e. Can materials be reproduced by others

2. Constructability Issues:
a. Can materials be delivered to a remote site
b. If heavy equipment of any kind (backhoe) is required, where will it be obtained
c. Can concrete trucks access the site and be emptied in 90 minutes; hot, windy weather will
shorten this time
d. Where are materials going to be stored and stockpiled
e. How will materials be protected from rain and/or theft
f. Is testing necessary; if so, how will this be done
g. What will you do with waste
h. What is the condition of the road to the site; is it useable by cargo vehicles
i. Is power available for using powered equipment

3. Loading
a. If your structure will generate even moderate loadings to the soil, can you determine some of
the soils properties in order to make a valid judgment about the allowable soil bearing
pressure
b. Can you make valid assumptions about the environmental loadings to your structure such as
for wind and seismic

4. Labor & Community


a. Depending on the type of structure you are contemplating, does the community have the
skills to assist you with the construction and learn from you and then be able to replicate this
type of construction
b. Contemplate and evaluate the potential for future expansion to your proposed structure;
plan and design for this, if needed, from the very start
c. What is the common construction method for houses in the country, i.e. masonry, concrete,
adobe, etc
d. Are technicians available from the local government or NGOs for the project
e. Take photos of site from various angles for reference later; photos of other construction
techniques in city or villages will be helpful later.

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5. Bridges
a. For sophisticated structures such as a bridge or culvert crossing, you must have team
members that are well versed in obtaining the detailed information for the bridge or culvert
crossing. These detailed items include:
i. Stream hydrology
ii. Highest level of flooding
iii. Scour-out protection
iv. Roadway alignment
v. Detailed foundation study/evaluation
vi. Vehicle loading
vii. Impact loading
viii. Construction sequencing
b. Survey longitudinally for bridge sites; check high flow and erosion problems up stream

6. Buildings
a. Dimensions
b. Location

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V) Energy
1. Solar
a. The following primary guidelines MUST be considered for the assessment of any solar
project:
i. The risk of theft and vandalism is inherent to any solar project. As such, many
NGOs have a policy of not implementing solar projects in developing communities.
Chapters must develop a comprehensive plan for mounting and securing panels in
order to prevent theft and damage
ii. The brand and model of panel being installed must be available from an in-country
distributor. Additionally, all maintenance and replacement materials must be
available locally including mounting, sealant and electrical equipment.
iii. A cost-benefit analysis must be carried out for all energy alternatives.
b. Other considerations:
i. What equipment will be poweredis this considered a basic need?
ii. What is the needed kWh output and how will this vary throughout the year What is
the latitude and longitude of the community
iii. How will the output of the system vary throughout the year
iv. How many cloudy days
v. What equipment is available locally
vi. Where will the solar panels be placed

What angle will result in maximum efficiency

Can the panels be roof mounted or will some sort of ground mount be
needed

What materials are available for this

For roofs: can the roof support a workers weight, what reinforcement will be
needed for the roof so that the panels can be mounted

Is there any shading (even a very small amount of shading can severely
reduce the panels output make sure to read about this)

c.

If there is shading, can the obstruction be removed (i.e. cut down the tree),
is yes, who will do this and what impact will it have
vii. Distance from the panels to the batteries or grid tie
viii. How will the power be routed to the batteries, converters, loads
Batteries
i. Where will the batteries be stored

What ventilation is available (the build up of hydrogen gas is a hazard)

How will they be secured against damage and theft

ii. How will the batteries be disposed; batteries contain undesirable materials such as
lead and cadmium that would be harmful if they leaked into water supplies
iii. How many days of backup are needed
iv. What batteries are available locally for replacement; at what cost: batteries are going
to be the main maintenance cost for the system, and it has to be affordable for the
community or the system will simply stop working when the batteries fail in 3-5
years.
d. Grid connected
i. Who is the AC electrician who will connect this system to the grid
ii. What is the demarcation point going to be
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iii. What type of metering is available


e. Who will be in charge of maintenance
i. Is distilled water available for the batteries

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VI) Recommended Reading


1) Field Guide to Appropriate Technology by Christopher Bull and Barrett Hazeltine
2) Engineering in Emergencies by Jan Davis and Robert Lambert
3) EWB-USA Guidelines by various EWB-USA Technical Advisory Committee members. Available on
the EWB-USA website

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APPENDIX A Various Forms for Data Collection

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Construction
Project Location:
GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation

Tool
Shovel
Hammer
Wheelbarrow
Screen
Wire
Trowels
Buckets
Pick
Screw Drivers
Saws

Transportation
Jeep
Pickup Tuck
3t truck
5t truck
Porter
Access Road
Map/Directions:

2010-03

Date:
deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

Cost / Unit
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/

Cost / Day or Distance


/
/
/
/
/
type, condition

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sec
sec

Material
Cement
Lime
Sand
Gravel
Rock
Screen
Wire
Metal Roofing
Reinforcing Bars
Wood
Paint
Nails
Screws
Bolts
Glass

Labor
Unskilled Lborer
Skilled Laborer
Technician
Engineer
Other

Notes:

Cost / Unit
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/

Cost/Day
/
/
/
/
/

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TOPOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY
Project Location:
GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation
Geology:

2010-03

Date:
deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

sec
sec

Notes:

Maps or Reference:

General Notes on Terrain & Vegetation:

Map:

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WELL

Project/Location:
GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation

Date:
deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

GENERAL CONDITIONS
Depth to Groundwater
(high/low if seasonal)
Depth to Top of Sediments
Depth of Sediments in Well
Diameter of Well

sec
sec

Notes:

WATER QUALITY
(ft or m?)
(ft or m?)
(ft or m?)
(ft or m?)

Units
pH
Alkalinity
Chlorides
NH3
Nitrate

mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L

Nitrite

mg/L

Units
Copper
Lead
Mercury
Arsenic
Hardness
Coliform
Bacteria

SOIL PROFILE: Describe Soil/Rock Subsurface

USE:
How Many People Use the Well?
Does the Well Go Dry/When?
What is Proximity of Livestock?
Well Priority (high/med/low)?
Can the aquifer support this use?
Who will monitor the aquifer?
Can the wellhead be protected?
ADDITIONAL NOTES:

NOTES:

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mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
MPN

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LATRINE
Project/Location:
GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation

Date:

deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

sec
sec

Notes:

GENERAL CONDITIONS
Diameter of Latrine
Depth to Top of Waste
Depth of Latrine
Percolation Rate of Soil?

(ft or m?)
(ft or m?)
(ft or m?)
min/in

SOIL PROFILE:
Describe Soil/Rock Subsurface:

USE:
How Many People Use the Latrine?
What is the Level of Waste in Latrine?
Do Women/Men/Children Use Latrine?
Distance/Direction to Well?
Well Priority (high/med/low)?
Wind Direction? Who will smell it?

NOTES:

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

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SURFACE WATER

Project/Location:
GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation

Date:

deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

sec
sec

Notes:

WATER QUALITY
Units
pH
Alkalinity
Chlorides
NH3
Nitrate

mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L

Nitrite

mg/L

Pollutants:
VOCs
MAP:

g/L

Notes:

Copper
Lead
Mercury
Arsenic
Hardness
Coliform
Bacteria
TPH
Pesticides

Units
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
MPN
mg/L
g/L

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RIVERS/STREAMS

Project/Location:

Date:

Name of Water Body:


GPS ID:
Longitude
Latitude
Elevation

deg
deg
(ft or m?)

min
min

sec
sec

Notes:

RIVER/STREAM:
Width
Depth
Velocity
Flow Rate

m
m
m/s
m3/s

WATER QUALITY
Units
pH
Alkalinity
mg/L
Chlorides
mg/L
NH3
mg/L
Nitrate
mg/L
Nitrite

mg/L

Sketch Cross Section of River/Stream:

Notes:
Copper
Lead
Mercury
Arsenic
Hardness
Coliform
Bacteria

Units
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L

MAP:

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