The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Water Resources Division (WRD), requires that quality-assurance/quality-control (QA/QC) activities be included in any sampling and analysis program. Operational QA/QC procedures address local needs while incorporating national policies. Therefore, specific technical policies were established for all activities associated with water-quality project being done by the Ohio District. The policies described in this report provide Ohio District personnel, cooperating agencies, and others with a reference manual on QA/QC procedures that are followed in collecitng and analyzing water-quality samples and reporting water-quality information in the Ohio District.
The project chief, project support staff, District Water-Quality Specialist, and District Laboratory Coordinator are all involved in planning and implementing QA/QC activities at the district level. The District Chief and other district-level managers provide oversight, and the Regional Water-Quality Specialist, Office of Water Quality (USGS headquarters), and the Branch of Quality Systems within the Office of Water Quality create national QA/QC polices and provide assistance to District personnel.
In the literature, the quality of all measurement data is expressed in terms of precision, variability, bias, accuracy, completeness, representativeness, and comparability. In the Ohio District, bias and variability will be used to describe quality-control data generated from samples in the field and laboratory. Each project chief must plan for implementation and financing of QA/QC activities necessary to achieve data-quality objectives. At least 15 percent of the total project effort must be directed toward QA/QC activities. Of this total, 5-10 percent will be used for collection and analysis of quality-control samples. This is an absolute minimum, and more may be required based on project objectives.
Proper techniques must be followed in the collection and processing of surface-water, ground-water, biological, precipitation, bed-sediment, bedload, suspended-sediment, and solid-phase samples. These techniques are briefly described in this report and are extensively documented. The reference documents listed in this report will be kept by the District librarian and District Water-Quality Specialist and updated regularly so that they are available to all District staff.
Proper handling and documentation before, during, and after field activities are essential to ensure the integrity of the sample and to correct erroneous reporting of data results. Field sites are to be properly identified and entered into the data base before field data-collection activities begin. During field activities, field notes are to be completed and sample bottles appropriately labeled a nd stored. After field activities, all paperwork is to be completed promptly and samples transferred to the laboratory within allowable holding times.
All equipment used by District personnel for the collection and processing of water-quality samples is to be properly operated, maintained, and calibrated by project personnel. This includes equipment for onsite measurement of water-quality characteristics (temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, acidity, and turbidity) and equipment and instruments used for biological sampling. The District Water-Quality Specialist and District Laboratory Coordinator are responsible for preventive maintenance and calibration of equipment in the Ohio District laboratory.
The USGS National Water Quality Laboratory in Arvada, Colo., is the primary source of analytical services for most project work done by the Ohio District. Analyses done at the Ohio District laboratory are usually those that must be completed within a few hours of sample collection. Contract laboratories or other USGS laboratories are sometimes used instead of the NWQL or the Ohio District laboratory. When a contract laboratory is used, the projec
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Quality-Assurance/Quality-Control Manual for Collection and Analysis of Water-Quality Data in the Ohio District, US Geological Survey