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Project Watershed Central New York

Dedicated to facilitating water resource education in Central New York

Sample Handling and Custody Requirements

Sampling and Data Handling


In the field, all water samples are the responsibility of, and stay with, the Director or Stream Team Leader.  Water samples are tested/processed immediately in the field, with the exception of BOD and fecal coliform testing that require extended time for incubation and analysis.  Water samples for BOD and fecal coliform testing are labeled with the appropriate date and sampling location.  All data will be recorded on the field data survey sheets.  Two copies of the data forms are provided and filled out in order to prevent any loss of data.  The Director and supervising teacher should both have completed copies of the data forms at the end of the monitoring event. 


Custody Procedures


The water quality monitoring tests do not require specific custody procedures since they will, in almost all cases, be performed immediately in the field under the supervision of the Director.  Water samples for BOD and fecal coliform testing will be taken by the Director to his/her lab for analysis immediately following sampling.  Water samples for BOD testing will be transported in a closed box (in darkness) back to the lab. 


Chemical Storage


Currently all chemicals that are used in chemical analyses are stored in the Director’s home in a safe and suitable location.  All reagents are kept in a dry, dark, and cool room.  The Director is responsible for maintaining all necessary reagents.  Bacteriological media are kept refrigerated to prevent spoilage. 




The Director must make sure that all samples are disposed of properly.  All analyzed samples and other liquid wastes will be collected in a plastic waste carboy for disposal purposes.  When the carboy is full, it is taken to the proper authorities for disposal.  This is especially important since the analytical procedure for measuring nitrate involves a cadmium reduction methodology (Method 8039, Hach Company).  Liquid waste from the nitrate test (cadmium reduction) must be disposed of appropriately.  [The USEPA considers cadmium a hazardous material.  The EPA MCL level for cadmium is 5.0 ppb.  Cadmium compounds bind to sediments in streams and can be easily bioaccumulated or re-dissolved when these sediments are disturbed.  Significant bioaccumulation of cadmium can occur in aquatic organisms (USEPA, 1998).]  Currently, Project Watershed CNY/SOS takes all liquid waste to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) for disposal. 

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