A person using scanning spectrofluorometers to detect tracer dye in water samples

Water traces have been performed throughout Missouri for a number of years and for many different reasons. Tracers such as feathers and wheat chaff were used in an effort to determine the water source of springs and cave streams. However, early water tracing techniques offered questionable results and they caused water supplies to be unusable for periods of time. Technological advances incorporate the use of nontoxic fluorescent tracer dye and scanning spectrofluorometers into the science of water tracing and provide a safe and effective alternative to previous methods.

Groundwater investigations, cave exploration, well installation methods, and engineering aspects related to leaking dams are a few instances when water traces are performed today.

A person conducting water tracing adding nontoxic fluorescent green tracer dye to a creek

Each person conducting a water trace in Missouri must be registered and must register each trace as required by Missouri State Statute 256.621, RSMo. This is an effort to collect and store data, prevent interference or overlapping of traces, and increase public awareness and knowledge about the importance of water tracing.

Register as a Water Tracer

Use the Geologic Evaluation Data Gateway Exchange (GeoEDGE) tool or submit a Water Trace Information Sheet Water Tracer Registration Application MO 780-1695

Submit and Display Water Trace Data

Additional Reading