Water Quality Studies


Water Quality Studies

Johnson Engineering’s water quality team of scientists, engineers and geologists has what it takes to meet our clients’ monitoring needs. Our strong working relationships with regulators and familiarity with FDEP regulations allow us to efficiently prepare and carry out successful monitoring programs. We maintain a variety of vessels and sampling equipment in-house to ensure that the needs of each project are met as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Our established working relationships with several state certified laboratories ensure that our clients benefit from efficiency without sacrificing quality. From monitoring turbidity to installing event-triggered, automated sampling systems, our team has the knowledge, experience, technology and expertise to get the job done.

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What We Provide

There are a vast number and types of water bodies throughout Florida, each with its own unique set of properties and characteristics. We can provide everything needed to create a successful water quality monitoring program. Our vast array of instruments includes multi-parameter meters, submersible data sondes, continuous recording water level dataloggers, tipping bucket rain gauges, rainfall collection systems, portable refrigerated sampling systems, Doppler flow meters, and data telemetry systems. From collecting samples for analysis to evaluating the results, our team has the knowledge, experience, technology, and expertise to meet our clients’ needs. Our established relationships with several state certified laboratories provide our clients efficiency without sacrificing quality.

Florida groundwater provides us with vital drinking and irrigation water. Water quality monitoring provides assurances that the integrity of this supply is maintained. Our experienced team specializes in designing and implementing groundwater quality monitoring programs based on a strong knowledge of water quality regulations, and a client’s particular project needs. We enjoy strong working relationships with local regulatory agencies and can expertly and efficiently carry out their monitoring requirements. From measuring conductivity to collecting samples for laboratory analysis, our team can handle the monitoring needs throughout the life of a project, allowing our clients to successfully address regulators’ concerns and manage their project’s groundwater resources in a sustainable manner.

In a state with over 2,200 miles of shoreline, Florida’s coastal waters require special attention to protect these fragile ecosystems. The estuaries along our coasts are comprised of many different habitats including mangroves, tidal flats, sea grass beds and oyster reefs. Each of these different habitats is a vital part of the overall health and stability of our coastal waters. Our team of environmental and coastal scientists understands the complexities of these marine environments. Our monitoring experience within Outstanding Florida Waters and national estuaries strengthens our ability to meet the regulatory needs of our clients efficiently and effectively.

Our clients’ water quality monitoring needs sometimes extend beyond the actual water bodies themselves. State-issued Environmental Resource Permits (ERP) often require sediment samples to be collected from lake bottoms, in addition to traditional water quality samples, to assess deposition. Our team of scientists has assisted clients with a variety of projects including channel dredging and marina expansions. Our strong working relationships with regulators and familiarity with FDEP sediment assessment regulations allow us to efficiently carry out successful monitoring programs. We maintain a variety of vessels and sampling equipment in-house, which allow us to quickly and thoroughly meet the needs of each project.

Many of Southwest Florida’s water bodies have been listed as “impaired” by FDEP, meaning they fail to meet one or more state water quality standards. As a result, the FDEP will establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for those water bodies. We help our clients approach the TMDL process in a proactive manner. By developing scientifically sound water quality monitoring programs, we can evaluate the impacts of a project on the watershed basin. We then make recommendations as to how these impacts can be reduced through a variety of Best Management Practices (BMP) tailored to suit our clients’ needs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) offer cost sharing programs to assist clients with funding for certain types of water quality projects. Two such programs are the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant and the State Water-quality Assistance Grant (SWAG). The rules governing those programs vary and require a great deal of understanding to be used effectively. Our team is familiar with the eligibility requirement for each of these funding mechanisms and can help our clients match their needs to the funding program that is best suited for their project. We can then help them to prepare a proper application that includes the parts needed to be considered for funding.

Federally funded projects often require the development of a comprehensive Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). We have vast experience preparing and implementing these plans for clients throughout Florida. As a requirement of the Grant Work Plan, the QAPP is instrumental in explaining how monitoring and water quality sampling will be used to determine the project’s success. The sampling locations, parameters to be tested, frequency, and duration of sampling are critical components that are outlined as part of this document.

Numerous rivers, streams, and lakes throughout Florida have been labeled “impaired” based on water quality criteria for bacteria indicator organisms. However, bacteria come from many sources, which may or may not pose a serious health hazard to humans. Tracking the source of the bacteria is crucial to addressing the problem. By sampling for specific substances used by humans, along with extracting DNA from the samples to be tested and compared to the DNA from animals, birds, humans, and other known markers, we can help our clients determine the source of impairment so that they can take appropriate action.

Determining the source of pollutants in water is relatively simple if you can point to the end of a pipe where the polluted water is coming from. Unfortunately, most of the water quality issues we face today are much more complex and require sophisticated methods of testing and analysis to help evaluate the sources of pollution. Our experienced water quality scientists work in conjunction with laboratories equipped to analyze samples for a vast array of chemicals, including isotopic forms of nitrogen that can help determine sources of nutrient pollution. Proper sampling and analysis is critical to providing this non-point source evaluation.

Water Quality Projects

Water Quality Studies Team

Andy Tilton, PE

Director of Water Resources

Andy joined Johnson Engineering in 1978 and is the director of the Water Resources Group. He is the office manager for the LaBelle office. Andy is currently providing quality control on the projects under design and permitting for the Bluehead Town of Fort Myers Beach and recently completed engineering design of the Jack’s Branch Mitigation Bank.

Andy was District Engineer for Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District and has been the engineer of record for several districts, which are special governments under the laws of the State of Florida. Work within the districts includes annual inspections of water management facilities for the annual report required under Chapters 189, 190 and 298 Regulations and annual certifications as required by the Water Management District permit. Experience with these special governments is very similar to working for a city or county.

Tim Denison

Environmental Scientist

Tim joined Johnson Engineering in 2003 as an environmental scientist. He currently manages water quality monitoring projects for our water resources group. Tim has developed project specific water quality monitoring programs for several of our clients including Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Lee County Natural Resources, Collier County Stormwater, Hendry County, Lee County Port Authority (LCPA), and City of Bonita Springs. His current projects involve testing best management practices (BMPs), total maximum daily load (TMDL) monitoring, stormwater runoff characterization, flow monitoring, and calculating pollutant load reductions. Tim is proficient in Florida Department of Environmental (FDEP) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for surface water/groundwater sampling, is active in the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA), and has presented project findings at a variety of stormwater conferences. He has also been published in Florida Scientist. In addition, he has completed the Environmental Site Assessment Standards for Commercial Real Estate course and has 5 years of experience providing Phase I and Phase II ESA services for our clients.

Mike Lohr, PSM

GIS Director

Mike began working for Johnson Engineering in 1984. His responsibilities included construction inspection and materials testing for various agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Charlotte County, Lee County, Big Cypress Basin, and the City of Fort Myers as well as many private construction projects. He is a registered Surveyor and Mapper licensed to practice in the State of Florida.

In 1995, Mike began performing geographic information system (GIS) work for the State of Florida, Bureau of Survey and Mapping. This work included ownership mapping for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s C.A.R.L. land acquisition program, cataloging more than 70,000 parcels slated for purchase by the State of Florida Since then he has overseen many large GIS specific projects as well as continuing to support other efforts in the Water Resource Group at Johnson Engineering. Some of those major surface water efforts include Lee County Surface Water Master Plans in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1997, The South Lee County Water Management Plan for SFWMD in 1999, and Six Mile Cypress Water Management Plan 1990.

Jordan Varble, PE

Water Resource Engineer

Jordan joined Johnson Engineering in 2015 and is a Professional Engineer in the company’s Water Resources group. Jordan earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in 2011 and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Missouri S&T in 2009. Jordan’s experience as an engineer includes regional watershed modeling, groundwater modeling, data analysis, hydraulic pipe modeling, observation and analysis of geophysical logging programs, construction inspection, well design, groundwater testing and analysis, water demand calculations, regulatory permitting, surface water design, technical report writing, land surveying, agricultural irrigation system evaluation, engineering due diligence and expert witness engineering reports.


Abe Elizarraraz

Environmental Scientist

Abe joined Johnson Engineering in 2014 and has been working as an Environmental Scientist since 2015. In this position, he has led surface water and groundwater sampling for a myriad of water quality projects in southwest Florida. Abe received training from FDEP on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for surface water, groundwater, and drinking water. Abe’s continued efforts include water quality sampling for the City of Sanibel NPDES Surface Water monitoring, City of Bonita Springs Water Quality monitoring, Collier County Gordon River Water Quality Park (Freedom Park), as well as numerous others in South Florida. Abe has also assisted in Protected and Endangered Species Surveys for the Babcock Ranch Development. In addition, he has contributed to numerous Phase I Environmental Site Assessments within south Florida.

Abe has performed many Phase I ESA’s on several types of properties including active and inactive mines, large agricultural lands, operating airports, auto repair shops, gas stations, strip malls, vacant lots, commercial, and residential properties. He has been certified by the FAA to operate a small unmanned aircraft system (drone). The drone has assisted in touring large-scale properties and areas that are difficult to access. The view from the drone lets us see and uncover items that might be of interest.

Jess Schroeder

Environmental Scientist

Jess joined Johnson Engineering in 2019 and is an Environmental Scientist in the company’s water resources group. She is responsible for assisting in the applications for water use permits, and dewatering plans and permits. She is also responsible for compiling the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) annual reports, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) updates, and writing reports and performing on site investigations of environmental site assessments and groundwater sampling according to the FDEP Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Jess has completed the training for the Environmental Site Assessments for Commercial Real Estate through ASTM and Florida Stormwater Management Inspector Training through FDEP. She is responsible for assisting in current projects with the water resources team, focusing on groundwater. Previously, Jess worked for Florida Gulf Coast University as a laboratory manager while finishing her master’s degree in Environmental Science. She has taken many courses that gave her the knowledge to perform water quality monitoring, groundwater sampling, and sediment sampling that has helped in her position at Johnson Engineering, Inc.


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