The protocols and procedures described in this report are designed to be used by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field teams for the collection of environmental data and samples in coastal areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This sampling protocol focuses specifically on sampling for water, sediments, benthic invertebrates, and microorganisms (ambient bacterial populations) after shoreline arrival of petroleum-associated product on beach, barrier island, and wetland environments of the Gulf of Mexico coastal states.
Deployment to sampling sites, site setup, and sample collection in these environments necessitates modifications to standard USGS sampling procedures in order to address the regulatory, logistical, and legal requirements associated with samples collected in oil-impacted coastal areas. This document, therefore, has been written as an addendum to the USGS National Field Manual for the Collection of Water-Quality Data (NFM) (http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/twri9A/), which provides the basis for training personnel in the use of standard USGS sampling protocols. The topics covered in this Gulf of Mexico oil-spill sampling protocol augment NFM protocols for field-deployment preparations, health and safety precautions, sampling and quality-assurance procedures, and decontamination requirements under potentially hazardous environmental conditions. Documentation procedures and maintenance of sample integrity by use of chain-of-custody procedures also are described in this protocol.