This report is an instructional and reference manual that describes methods developed and used by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), New Jersey District, to assure the accuracy and precision of the results of analyses of surface- and ground-water samples received from analyzing laboratories and, ultimately, to ensure the integrity of water-quality data in USGS databases and published reports. A statistical-analysis computer program, COMP.PPL, is used to determine whether the values reported by the laboratories are internally consistent, whether they are reasonable when compared with values for samples previously collected at the same site, and whether they exceed applicable drinking-water regulations. The program output consists of three files -- QWREVIEW, QWOUTLIERS, and QWCALC. QWREVIEW presents the results of tests of chemical logic and shows values that exceed drinking-water regulations. QWOUTLIERS identifies values that fall outside the historical range of values for the site sampled. QWCALC shows values and calculations used for reference purposes.
Because values that are identified by the program as questionable may or may not be in error, the reviewer looks at both qualitative and quantitative relations between analytes during the period of record and then uses technical judgement to decide whether to accept a questionable value or investigate further. Guidelines for, and the use of regression analysis in, making this decision are described. Instructions are given for requesting that the analyzing laboratory reanalyze a constituent or otherwise verify the reported value. If, upon reanalysis or verification, a value is still questionable, consideration must be given to deleting the value or marking the value in the USGS National Water Information System database as having been reviewed and rejected.
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USGS Numbered Series
Methods for quality-assurance review of water-quality data in New Jersey