The U. S. Geological Survey conducts research and collects hydrologic data relating to the Nation's water resources. Seven types of natural matrix reference water samples are prepared for use in the Survey's quality assurance program. These include samples containing major constituents, trace metals, nutrients, herbicides, insecticides, trace metals in a water and suspended-sediment mixture, and precipitation (snowmelt). To prepare these reference samples, natural water is collected in plastic drums and the sediment is allowed to settle. The water is then filtered, selected constituents are added, and if necessary the water is acidified and sterilized by ultraviolet irradiation before bottling in plastic or glass. These reference samples are distributed twice yearly to more than 100 laboratories for chemical analysis. The most probable values for each constituent are determined by evaluating the data submitted by the laboratories using statistical techniques recommended by ASTM.
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USE OF NATURAL WATERS AS U. S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY REFERENCE SAMPLES.