The U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment program includes extensive data- collection efforts to assess the quality of the Nations's streams. These studies require analyses of stream samples for major ions, nutrients, sediments, and organic contaminants. For the information to be comparable among studies in different parts of the Nation, consistent procedures specifically designed to produce uncontaminated samples for trace analysis in the laboratory are critical. This field guide describes the standard procedures for collecting and processing samples for major ions, nutrients, organic contaminants, sediment, and field analyses of conductivity, pH, alkalinity, and dissolved oxygen. Samples are collected and processed using modified and newly designed equipment made of Teflon to avoid contamination, including nonmetallic samplers (D-77 and DH-81) and a Teflon sample splitter. Field solid-phase extraction procedures developed to process samples for organic constituent analyses produce an extracted sample with stabilized compounds for more accurate results. Improvements to standard operational procedures include the use of processing chambers and capsule filtering systems. A modified collecting and processing procedure for organic carbon is designed to avoid contamination from equipment cleaned with methanol. Quality assurance is maintained by strict collecting and processing procedures, replicate sampling, equipment blank samples, and a rigid cleaning procedure using detergent, hydrochloric acid, and methanol.