Reliable information on catchment scale suspended sediment sources is required to inform the design of management strategies for helping abate the numerous environmental issues associated with enhanced sediment mobilization and off-site loadings. Since sediment fingerprinting techniques avoid many of the logistical constraints associated with using more traditional indirect measurement methods at catchment scale, such approaches have been increasingly reported in the international literature and typically use data sets collected specifically for sediment source apportionment purposes. There remains scope for investigating the potential for using geochemical data sets assembled by routine monitoring programmes to fingerprint sediment provenance. In the United States, routine water quality samples are collected as part of the US Geological Survey's revised National Stream Quality Accounting Network programme. Accordingly, the geochemistry data generated from these samples over a 10-year period (1996-2006) were used as the basis for a fingerprinting exercise to assess the key tributary sub-catchment spatial sources of contemporary suspended sediment transported by the Ohio River. Uncertainty associated with the spatial source estimates was quantified using a Monte Carlo approach in conjunction with mass balance modelling. Relative frequency weighted means were used as an alternative way of summarizing the spatial source contributions, thereby avoiding the need to use confidence limits. The results should be interpreted in the context of the routine, but infrequent nature, of the suspended sediment samples used to assemble geochemistry as a basis for the sourcing exercise. Nonetheless, the study demonstrates how routine monitoring samples can be used to provide some preliminary information on sediment provenance in large drainage basins. ?? 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.