In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 411

April 28, 2011


SUBJECT: Recommended groundwater field procedures for the U.S. Geological Survey

The Office of Groundwater is pleased to announce the release of the Techniques and Methods Report Book 1, Chapter A1, “Groundwater technical procedures of the U.S. Geological Survey," compiled by William L. Cunningham and Charles W. Schalk. This is an on-line only report available at:

These groundwater technical procedures (GWPDs), which were compiled in 1995 as an internal tool for USGS technicians and hydrologists, have been collected from common techniques cited in USGS reports, USGS internal memoranda, and USGS training programs for many years. Because of the external demand for documentation of these procedures, and the desire to cite them outside of the USGS, they have been reviewed, edited, and compiled in this new report.

These GWPDs are the groundwater field procedures recommended by the Office of Groundwater. They are written in concise language with step-by-step instructions of sufficient detail so that someone with limited experience with the procedure but with a basic understanding of the measurements and general field work can successfully reproduce the procedure unsupervised. The GWPDs do not provide every detail of an individual field task, as the user is expected to have at least nominal field experience. USGS Science Centers may modify them for their circumstances, hydrologic conditions, project objectives, and Center needs. Modifications to these procedures must be documented in the Science Center or project-specific groundwater quality-assurance plan.

The Office of Groundwater recommends downloading the entire document. The Introduction section contains important descriptive information. The electronic report is conveniently hyperlinked to the individual GWPDs from the table of contents or through the Adobe bookmark option on the left hand side of the page. The individual GWPDs also can be downloaded, or referenced by use of the persistent URL. GWPDs will be updated periodically as errors are detected or new standard techniques evolve. Each procedure is consecutively numbered and contains a version number/date. Any citation of an individual procedure should include the version number of the procedure as an integral part of the reference. New procedures will be made available as they are developed, and general electronic announcements will accompany releases of new GWPDs.

OGW recognizes that there may be a need to access superseded versions of the GWPDs for historical reference. An archive of superseded GWPDs will be maintained on the Office of Groundwater web site at This online archive will provide all users with access to the most current version of the GWPDs, any superseded GWPDs from TM1-A1. Internal USGS users will have access to the superseded original internal GWPDs from 1995 and 2008.

Comments or suggestions about the subject report should be addressed to Bill Cunningham in the Office of Groundwater, 703-648-5005 or

William M. Alley
Chief, Office of Groundwater

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