Since 1962, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has operated the Standard Reference Sample Project to evaluate the performance of USGS, cooperator, and contractor analytical laboratories that analyze chemical constituents of environmental samples. The laboratories are evaluated by using performance evaluation samples, called Standard Reference Samples (SRSs). SRSs are submitted to laboratories semi-annually for round-robin laboratory performance comparison purposes. Currently, approximately 100 laboratories are evaluated for their analytical performance on six SRSs for inorganic and nutrient constituents. As part of the SRS Project, a surplus of homogeneous, stable SRSs is maintained for purchase by USGS offices and participating laboratories for use in continuing quality-assurance and quality-control activities.
Statistical evaluation of the laboratories results provides information to compare the analytical performance of the laboratories and to determine possible analytical deficiences and problems. SRS results also provide information on the bias and variability of different analytical methods used in the SRS analyses.
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USGS Numbered Series
U.S. Geological Survey Standard Reference Sample Project: Performance Evaluation of Analytical Laboratories