The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects and disseminates information about the Nation's water resources. Surface- and ground-water samples are collected and sent to USGS laboratories for chemical analyses. The laboratories identify and quantify the constituents in the water samples. Random and systematic errors occur during sample handling, chemical analysis, and data processing. Although all errors cannot be eliminated from measurements, the magnitude of their uncertainty can be estimated and tracked over time. Since 1981, the USGS has operated an independent, external, quality-assurance project called the Blind Sample Project (BSP). The purpose of the BSP is to monitor and evaluate the quality of laboratory analytical results through the use of double-blind quality-control (QC) samples. The information provided by the BSP assists the laboratories in detecting and correcting problems in the analytical procedures. The information also can aid laboratory users in estimating the extent that laboratory errors contribute to the overall errors in their environmental data.
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USGS Numbered Series
USGS Blind Sample Project: monitoring and evaluating laboratory analytical quality