The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Branch of Quality Systems operates external quality assurance programs for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/Mercury Deposition Network (NADP/MDN). Beginning in 2004, three programs have been implemented: the system blank program, the interlaboratory comparison program, and the blind audit program. Each program was designed to measure error contributed by specific components in the data-collection process. The system blank program assesses contamination that may result from sampling equipment, field exposure, and routine handling and processing of the wet-deposition samples. The interlaboratory comparison program evaluates bias and precision of analytical results produced by the Mercury Analytical Laboratory (HAL) for the NADP/MDN, operated by Frontier GeoSciences, Inc. The HAL's performance is compared with the performance of five other laboratories. The blind audit program assesses bias and variability of MDN data produced by the HAL using solutions disguised as environmental samples to ascertain true laboratory performance. This report documents the implementation of quality assurance procedures for the NADP/MDN and the operating procedures for each of the external quality assurance programs conducted by the USGS. The USGS quality assurance information provides a measure of confidence to NADP/MDN data users that measurement variability is distinguished from environmental signals.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
External Quality Assurance Programs Managed by the U.S. Geological Survey in Support of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/Mercury Deposition Network