Quality control samples are taken periodically to ensure valid data are collected. In 1998 and 1999, Project Watershed CNY/SOS conducted informal split samples with the Onondaga County Health Department to confirm the accuracy of the testing equipment and corresponding chemical analyses.
Currently, duplicate samples and spiked samples are not conducted in the field due to constraints on project resources and time.
Each parameter test in the DREL/2000 Manual has an “accuracy check�? if interferences are suspected or if analytical technique needs to be verified. Currently, the Director conducts tests on chemical standards whenever a new shipment of chemicals comes in or a test result is suspicious in nature. The standardization tests will be run until the test result is more acceptable. Project Watershed CNY/SOS follows the testing procedures outlined in the Hach Company DREL/2000 Manual. Hach Company chemical standards have been certified by the USEPA for chemical analysis of water or wastewater. Tests are conducted on standards for the dissolved oxygen, reactive phosphate, nitrate, and chloride parameters. When necessary, all test results are adjusted accordingly. For more information about these standardization tests, please refer to “Appendix 4: Chemical Tests Performed on Standard Solutions�? in the Project Watershed CNY/SOS Study Design: SOPs.
Volunteers are encouraged to attend annual training sessions, when offered, to learn proper stream monitoring procedures and macroinvertebrate identification. Volunteers that are already involved in the program should also attend these sessions to refresh their skills. An individual with experience in benthic macroinvertebrate identification shall accompany the Director or Stream Leader on every monitoring event. This individual shall assist and at times “shadow�? volunteers to ensure proper identification techniques are being implemented.
Data Quality Control
As previously stated, all data forms go through a series of reviewing before the data are uploaded on the project database and are archived at the County Health Department. The data are first reviewed by the supervising teacher or adult stream leader. The forms are then passed on to the Director for review. Additionally, the Director checks previous monitoring results for the site in question to make sure that the data follow trend and that there are no major discrepancies or outlying results. If any problems are found, the data in question will need to be either qualified or thrown out depending on the problem. In certain instances, the Director will go back to the stream site and conduct another test/analysis to either verify or disregard the first result. In the event that an unusually high test result is obtained at a site, the Director may call upon the services of the County Health Department or another local water quality agency to sample the site and either verify or disregard the result. In some instances, attention may need to be called to the potential problem so that remedial action can be taken if necessary.