PROGRAMS AND PLANS--Guidelines for the Analyses of Sediment Data

In Reply Refer To:                         September 30, 1991
Mail-Stop 415


Subject:  PROGRAMS AND PLANS--Guidelines for the Analyses of 
                              Sediment Data

The sediment program is taking on an increasing importance in WRD 
because of its close association with water quality.  At the same 
time, Surface-Water Reviews have noted that a wide range of 
procedures are being used to process sediment records.  The 
purpose of this memorandum is to encourage more uniformity of 
quality and analyses procedures in working sediment records.

This memorandum provides guidelines for the analyses of sediment 
data for publication in the annual data report or other forms of 
publication.  These guidelines apply to the compilation of 
sediment data after the sediment samples have been analyzed in the 
laboratory.  Data types include suspended sediment, bed material, 
bedload, and total sediment.

The guidelines are attached and are provided for specific parts of 
the analysis as follows:

   --Station description
   --Sediment field notes (including a sample field-note form)
   --Sediment data processing
   --Sediment records requirements and review form
   --Station analysis
   --Publication format for sediment data

The "Station description" section provides information on special 
documentation requirements for stations where sediment data are 

The "Sediment field notes" section lists the types of information 
needed from the field.  Sample field-note forms are provided as 
examples of note forms and can be copied directly or modified as 
needed for a particular use.

The "Sediment data processing" section provides guidance on 
processing the data.  It summarizes things to look for and 
activities to be considered when processing sediment data.

The "Sediment records requirements and review form" provides a 
check list of items that need to be considered when analyzing a 
sediment record.

The "Station analysis" section provides guidance and examples on 
the special needs for documenting the sediment record and its 

The "Publication format" section provides information on the 
sediment data to be published, the arrangement of records, 
constituent reporting order, and significant figures for reporting 
sediment and related data.

It should be noted that sediment concentrations below 0.5 mg/L are 
no longer to be reported as 0 but are to be reported as <0.5.

This memorandum does not address computerized sediment-computation 
programs.  The use of programs that are, or become, available that 
are consistent with recommended computational procedures is 

These guidelines are generally based on other reports, such as 
Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations and on various policy 
memorandums.  The guidelines provided with this memorandum update 
or modify some of the guidelines given in previous Water Resources 
Division (WRD) reports or policy memorandums.  In those 
situations, guidelines given in this memorandum supersede those of 
earlier dated WRD reports or memorandums.

                                 Charles W. Boning
                                 Chief, Office of Surface Water


WRD Distribution:  A, B, S, FO, PO