During water years 1985-91, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) cooperated in the collection and analysis of concurrent and split stream-water samples from selected sites in Illinois. Concurrent samples were collected independently by field personnel from each agency at the same time and sent to the IEPA laboratory, whereas the split samples were collected by USGS field personnel and divided into aliquots that were sent to each agency's laboratory for analysis. The water-quality data from these programs were examined by means of the Wilcoxon signed ranks test to identify statistically significant differences between results of the USGS and IEPA analyses. The data sets for constituents and properties identified by the Wilcoxon test as having significant differences were further examined by use of the paired t-test, mean relative percentage difference, and scattergrams to determine if the differences were important. Of the 63 constituents and properties in the concurrent-sample analysis, differences in only 2 (pH and ammonia) were statistically significant and large enough to concern water-quality engineers and planners. Of the 27 constituents and properties in the split-sample analysis, differences in 9 (turbidity, dissolved potassium, ammonia, total phosphorus, dissolved aluminum, dissolved barium, dissolved iron, dissolved manganese, and dissolved nickel) were statistically significant and large enough to con- cern water-quality engineers and planners. The differences in concentration between pairs of the concurrent samples were compared to the precision of the laboratory or field method used. The differences in concentration between pairs of the concurrent samples were compared to the precision of the laboratory or field method used. The differences in concentration between paris of split samples were compared to the precision of the laboratory method used and the interlaboratory precision of measuring a given concentration or property. Consideration of method precision indicated that differences between concurrent samples were insignificant for all concentrations and properties except pH, and that differences between split samples were significant for all concentrations and properties. Consideration of interlaboratory precision indicated that the differences between the split samples were not unusually large. The results for the split samples illustrate the difficulty in obtaining comparable and accurate water-quality data.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Differences in results of analyses of concurrent and split stream-water samples collected and analyzed by the US Geological Survey and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, 1985-91
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
U.S. Geological Survey-ESIC, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],