The U.S. Geological Survey uses continuous water-quality monitors to assess the quality of the Nation's surface water. A common monitoring-system configuration for water-quality data collection is the four-parameter monitoring system, which collects temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH data. Such systems also can be configured to measure other properties, such as turbidity or fluorescence. Data from sensors can be used in conjunction with chemical analyses of samples to estimate chemical loads. The sensors that are used to measure water-quality field parameters require careful field observation, cleaning, and calibration procedures, as well as thorough procedures for the computation and publication of final records. This report provides guidelines for site- and monitor-selection considerations; sensor inspection and calibration methods; field procedures; data evaluation, correction, and computation; and record-review and data-reporting processes, which supersede the guidelines presented previously in
U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report WRIR 00-4252. These procedures have evolved over the past three decades, and the process continues to evolve with newer technologies.