A volunteer takes a water sample on the Crow Indian Reservation. MSU photo.

Water Quality Basics, a free online course highlighting key issues and topics on water quality, is now available as part of Montana NSF EPSCoR's "CREWS-U" professional development program.

The noncredit course explores water quality issues, including primers on the hydrologic cycle and determinants of water quality. It will address key issues for water quality, such as contaminant degradation and movement in the environment, iron and manganese, hard water, fire in the watershed, animal feeding operations, nutrients, wastewater treatment and emerging contaminants.

The course is intended for small systems water operators, however information on hydrology and water quality could benefit a variety of professionals like local and state level policy makers and planners, educators, construction managers, landowners, natural resource managers, real estate professionals and more.

Participants may take a 50-point final quiz to obtain a certificate of completion. A score of 70% must be met to earn the certificate. Participants may be able to earn continuing education units but should inquire with their state’s certifying organization before beginning the program.

This is a self-paced course consisting of nearly 50 short videos, and there are no prerequisites. To register for the course, visit http://eu.montana.edu/noncredit and look for “Water Quality Basics.” Upon registration, participants will receive an automated email from Academic Technology and Outreach with login instructions for Brightspace (D2L).

“Water Quality Basics” is an update of the Water Quality Expedition program that was released by the Montana Water Center in 2005. The course contains the same information as Water Quality Expedition, but with reviewed and updated content to match current standards and regulations. The new version was created by EPSCoR outreach partner Academic Technology and Outreach and the Montana Water Center.