William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


This Article explores the issue of quality of citizen data through the lens of Potomac Riverkeeper v. Wheeler, a recent impaired waters listing case concerning the Shenandoah River in Virginia. Part I of this Article provides a brief overview of citizen science data in regulation and policymaking under the CWA. Part II discusses Potomac Riverkeeper v. Wheeler, examining Virginia’s water quality-related data standards and DEQ’s use (and non-use) of citizen water quality-related data and information in that case. Finally, Part III argues that Virginia should establish clear, reasonable, and specific data quality standards for qualitative citizen data so as to not only ensure DEQ’s valid use of such water quality-related data and information in supporting impaired waters determinations, but also enhance agency transparency in regulatory decision-making.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.