The laboratory for analysis of low-ionic-strength water at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Science Center in Troy, N.Y., analyzes samples collected by USGS projects throughout the Northeast. The laboratory's quality-assurance program is based on internal and interlaboratory qualityassurance samples and quality-control procedures that were developed to ensure proper sample collection, processing, and analysis. The quality-assurance and quality-control data were stored in the laboratory's Lab Master data-management system, which provides efficient review, compilation, and plotting of data. This report presents and discusses results of quality-assurance and quality control samples analyzed from July 2003 through June 2005.
Results for the quality-control samples for 20 analytical procedures were evaluated for bias and precision. Control charts indicate that data for five of the analytical procedures were occasionally biased for either high-concentration or low-concentration samples but were within control limits; these procedures were: acid-neutralizing capacity, total monomeric aluminum, pH, silicon, and sodium. Seven of the analytical procedures were biased throughout the analysis period for the high-concentration sample, but were within control limits; these procedures were: dissolved organic carbon, chloride, nitrate (ion chromatograph), nitrite, silicon, sodium, and sulfate. The calcium and magnesium procedures were biased throughout the analysis period for the low-concentration sample, but were within control limits. The total aluminum and specific conductance procedures were biased for the highconcentration and low-concentration samples, but were within control limits.
Results from the filter-blank and analytical-blank analyses indicate that the procedures for 17 of 18 analytes were within control limits, although the concentrations for blanks were occasionally outside the control limits. The data-quality objective was not met for dissolved organic carbon.
Sampling and analysis precision are evaluated herein in terms of the coefficient of variation obtained for triplicate samples in the procedures for 18 of the 22 analytes. At least 85 percent of the samples met data-quality objectives for all analytes except total monomeric aluminum (82 percent of samples met objectives), total aluminum (77 percent of samples met objectives), chloride (80 percent of samples met objectives), fluoride (76 percent of samples met objectives), and nitrate (ion chromatograph) (79 percent of samples met objectives). The ammonium and total dissolved nitrogen did not meet the data-quality objectives.
Results of the USGS interlaboratory Standard Reference Sample (SRS) Project indicated good data quality over the time period, with ratings for each sample in the satisfactory, good, and excellent ranges or less than 10 percent error. The P-sample (low-ionic-strength constituents) analysis had one marginal and two unsatisfactory ratings for the chloride procedure. The T-sample (trace constituents)analysis had two unsatisfactory ratings and one high range percent error for the aluminum procedure. The N-sample (nutrient constituents) analysis had one marginal rating for the nitrate procedure.
Results of Environment Canada's National Water Research Institute (NWRI) program indicated that at least 84 percent of the samples met data-quality objectives for 11 of the 14 analytes; the exceptions were ammonium, total aluminum, and acid-neutralizing capacity. The ammonium procedure did not meet data quality objectives in all studies. Data-quality objectives were not met in 23 percent of samples analyzed for total aluminum and 45 percent of samples analyzed acid-neutralizing capacity.
Results from blind reference-sample analyses indicated that data-quality objectives were met by at least 86 percent of the samples analyzed for calcium, chloride, fluoride, magnesium, pH, potassium, sodium, and sulfate. Data-quality objectives were not met
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USGS Numbered Series
Quality-Assurance Data for Routine Water Analyses by the U.S. Geological Survey Laboratory in Troy, New York - July 2003 through June 2005