Policy of the Water Resources Division on the Use of Laboratories by National Water-Quality Programs

In Reply Refer To: 
Mail Stop 414

                                                                        
April 16, 1992



WATER RESOURCES DIVISION MEMORANDUM NO. 92.36

Subject: Policy of the Water Resources Division on the Use of 
Laboratories by National Water-Quality Programs

It is the policy of the Water Resources Division (WRD) that all 
WRD) national water-quality programs are required to use the 
WRD's Branch of Analytical Services for analytical services 
providing data for non-research purposes.   If the Branch does 
not provide the analytical service itself, it is responsible for 
arranging for the service.

The attached policy statement describes the procedures necessary 
to implement this policy.



 Philip Cohen Chief Hydrologist

Distribution:   A, B, S, FO, P0



USGS, WATER RESOURCES DIVISION TECHNICAL POLICY

 Use of Laboratories by National Water-Quality Programs

 1.0    PURPOSE.

To establish the policy on laboratories that are acceptable for 
use by National water-quality programs of the U.S. Geological 
Survey, Water Resources Division (WRD).

2.0     POLICY.

For analytical services providing data for non-research 
purposes, all WRD National water-quality programs are required 
to use the WRD's Branch of Analytical Services. If the Branch 
does not provide the analytical service itself, it is 
responsible for arranging for the service.

3.0     SCOPE.

Programs covered by this policy include any National water-
quality programs currently existing, or that may be instituted 
in the future, that collect and store non-research data using 
standard analytical techniques.  At present, this policy 
includes the National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), 
National Stream Quality Accounting Network Program (NASQAN), and 
Hydrologic Benchmark Network Program (HBN).

National programs, or the portions of National programs, 
conducting research and methods development are not covered by 
this policy.  Examples of programs not covered by this policy 
include the National Research Program, the Toxic Substances 
Hydrology Program, and selected portions of the NAWQA Program.  
However, if the focus of any portion of these programs changes 
to the point where they are applying standard techniques to 
provide routine analytical service, then that portion of the 
program will be included within the scope of this policy.  Any 
questions on whether or not a program or portion of a program is 
covered by this policy should be addressed to the Chief, Office 
of Water Quality for resolution.

In arranging for the analytical service, the Branch of 
Analytical Services can either recommend use of another WRD 
laboratory or develop, maintain, and quality assure a contract 
with a laboratory outside of the WRD that provides the service 
needed.

4.0     DEFINITIONS.  - None.

5.0     SUPPORTING INFORMATION.

Two of the most critical issues for a long-term, National water-
quality program are data comparability and data consistency.  
Because of the inherent variability among laboratories, one of 
the best ways to provide comparability and consistency is to 
require the use of a single laboratory as much as is practical.  
The Branch of Analytical Service's National Water Quality 
Laboratory (NWQL) has been chosen as the laboratory to meet that 
need for the WRD and to provide for all of the analytical work 
needed by the programs covered by this policy.  It is recognized 
however, that the NWQL cannot provide every possible analytical 
service, so they have been given the additional responsibility 
to recommend the use of other WRD laboratories or to develop 
contracts with laboratories outside of the WRD for the work that 
cannot be performed conveniently within the WRD.  It is believed 
that the consistency of development and administration of 
contract work provided by a single source will allow closer 
quality control on the services provided and promote uniformity 
of results.

This policy does not, however, preclude or discourage the 
exploration and development of new techniques and procedures for 
programs such as the NAWQA program, which is designed to be on 
the cutting edge of the technology.  All of the Division's 
programs should have clearly defined data quality objectives and 
will have chosen standard, specific analytical procedures to 
meet those objectives.  It is possible, however, that 
methodological research is necessary to develop a procedure 
capable of meeting a specific data quality objective for which 
there is no standard procedure available.  This policy neither 
precludes this type of research nor the use of research 
laboratories.  The policy would come into effect only after a 
new procedure has been established, documented, and accepted as 
a new "standard" method to be widely used.  It is anticipated, 
however, that the program and project chiefs would work closely 
with the NWQL and the Chief, Office of Water Quality during the 
development of new analytical procedures.

6.0     RELATED DOCUMENTS.

6.1     Superseded Documents - None.

7.0     ATTACHMENTS.  - None.

8.0     APPROVALS AND EFFECTIVE DATE.

 Effective Date:_____________________