WATER QUALITY--Guidelines on Sampling Ground Water for Determination of Organic Compounds--With Comments on Analytical Protocols  

In Reply Refer To:                         April 22, 1985
WGS Mail Stop 412


Subject: WATER QUALITY--Guidelines on Sampling Ground Water 
              for Determination of Organic Compounds--With 
              Comments on Analytical Protocols

In recent years, the Water Resources Division has witnessed a 
significant increase in the level of interest and concern, 
both among our cooperators and internally, regarding 
contamination of ground waters with manmade organic 

At the present time, there are no U.S.  Geological Survey-
approved standard methods for collecting ground-water samples 
where the constituents of interest are manmade organic 
compounds and, indeed, it appears that much additional 
research and practical field experience is needed before
acceptable methods are established and described in approved 
Techniques of Water Resources Investigations (TWRI) format.  
The materials used in casings, sampling devices, and 
containers must be tested for contamination or adsorption 
effects; quality-assurance procedures need to be developed 
and implemented; for some constituents at some 
concentrations, new approaches to sampling may be needed and 
some are being studied and tested at the present time.

For the time being, in the absence of approved Geological 
Survey methods, the Quality of Water Branch, with the 
assistance of the Ground Water Branch, will periodically 
distribute to the field offices publications, committee
reports, or citations of literature articles dealing with 
this subject.  These materials, we hope, will provide 
satisfactory interim guidance to personnel engaged in data 
collection and interpretive work in ground-water resources.  
In addition, the Branches and the Office of Hazardous Waste
Hydrology will assist, if needed, in the design of ground-
water sampling programs.

The first set of guidleines was distributed in March 1983, 
under Quality of Water Branch Technical Memorandum 83.12.  
These brief guidelines resulted from deliberations of the 
Organic Substances Task Group (an advisory committee of the 
Quality of Water Branch with membership from the 
laboratories, the research program, the operational program, 
and the Branch) over a qoestionnaire from the New Jersey 
District circulated to several experts on this subject within 
the Division.  The guidelines were updated with new 
information and literature citations in March 1984, under 
Quality of Water Branch Technical Memorandum 84.11.

Since the last update, many new research results and some 
excellent manuals on the subject have been published and 
several workers in the Division have gained field and 
laboratory experience.  In addition, the original guidelines 
did not address a number of important subjects such as 
drilling and casing methods, and analytical protocols.  Since 
September 1984, the Organic Substances Task Group and a 
number of the group's consultants have turned their attention 
to developing the extensive revision of the guidelines 
transmitted herewith.  These guidelines have also been 
carefully reviewed by specialists in the Ground Water Branch.

We trust that these guidelines will be of assistance to the 
field and project offices.  We will continue our efforts to 
keep abreast of this fast-changing field and communicate new 
findings and views promptly.

                      David A. Rickert
                      Acting Chief, Quality of Water Branch


WRD Distribution: A, B, FO, PO

Key Words: Water quality, sampling, organic compounds, 
           ground water, toxic wastes

This memorandum does not supercede any previous memorandum 
but refers to and updates Quality of Water Branch Technical 
Memorandum 83.12 and 84.11.