Publication - Open-File Report

Quality-Assurance Plan for the Analysis of Suspended Sediment by the U.S. Geological Survey in Montana

Open-File Report 2006–1242

By Kent A. Dodge and John H. Lambing

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A quality-assurance plan has been developed for use by the sediment laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey Montana Water Science Center in conducting activities related to the analysis of suspended sediment. The plan documents quality-assurance policies for sediment-laboratory certification, personnel responsibilities and training, documentation requirements, and laboratory safety. The plan also documents quality-assurance procedures related to laboratory equipment and supplies, sample management, sample analysis, analytical quality control, and data management.




Quality-Assurance Policies

Sediment-Laboratory Certification

Personnel Responsibilities and Training

Documentation Requirements

Laboratory Safety

Quality-Assurance Procedures

Laboratory Equipment

Electronic Balances


Conductivity Meters

Decanting Equipment

Filtering Equipment

Laboratory Supplies

Sample Bottles

Crucibles and Filters

Evaporation Dishes



Distilled Water

Sample Management

Field Documentation

Shipment and Storage

Sample Inventory

Sample Analysis

Laboratory Procedures

Sample-Weight Determination

Sample Preparation

Filtration Method

Evaporation Method

Composited Samples

Particle-Size Analysis

Sediment-Weight Determination

Calculation of Results

Analytical Quality Control

Internal Testing

Evaporation Blanks

Sample Blanks

Filter Blanks

Field Replicates

Method-Comparison Replicates

Extracted Sample Water

External Testing

Sediment Laboratory Quality-Assurance Program

Laboratory Reviews

Data Management

Laboratory-Data Files

Data Review



References Cited


1–6. Photographs showing:

1. Analytical balance electronically connected to laboratory computer terminal

2. Mechanical-convection oven for drying sediment in evaporation dishes

3. Convection oven for drying sediment in crucibles

4. Vacuum-hose system and workbench for decanting water from suspended-sediment samples

5. Manifold for vacuum filtration of suspended-sediment samples through crucibles

6. Suspended-sediment sample poured through a 0.062-millimeter sieve to separate sand from fine sediment

7. Example of a water-quality field form used to document information about water-quality samples collected by U.S. Geological Survey personnel

8. Example of a sediment-sample field form used to document information about suspended-sediment samples collected by observers

9. Flow chart showing operational sequence for the analysis of suspended-sediment samples in the Montana Sediment Laboratory

10. Example of an analytical request form used to document information about sediment samples shipped to the U.S. Geological Survey Iowa Sediment Laboratory

11. Example of a form used to document information about sediment-data distribution in the USGS Montana Water Science Center


1. Factors for converting suspended-sediment concentration from parts per million to milligrams per liter

For additional information contact:
Director, Montana Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3162 Bozeman Avenue
Helena, Montana 59601
Telephone: 1-406-457-5900
World Wide Web:
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