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Open-File Report 2010–1191

In collaboration with AET Environmental and TEC Inc.

Sampling Protocol for Post-Landfall Deepwater Horizon Oil Release, Gulf of Mexico, 2010

Addendum to Standard USGS Methods for the Collection of Water, Sediment, Benthic Invertebrates, and Microorganisms

By F.D. Wilde, S.C. Skrobialowski, and J.S. Hart

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The protocols and procedures described in this report are designed to be used by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field teams for the collection of environmental data and samples in coastal areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This sampling protocol focuses specifically on sampling for water, sediments, benthic invertebrates, and microorganisms (ambient bacterial populations) after shoreline arrival of petroleum-associated product on beach, barrier island, and wetland environments of the Gulf of Mexico coastal states.

Deployment to sampling sites, site setup, and sample collection in these environments necessitate modifications to standard USGS sampling procedures in order to address the regulatory, logistical, and legal requirements associated with samples collected in oil-impacted coastal areas. This document, therefore, has been written as an addendum to the USGS National Field Manual for the Collection of Water-Quality Data (NFM) (, which provides the basis for training personnel in the use of standard USGS sampling protocols. The topics covered in this Gulf of Mexico oil-spill sampling protocol augment NFM protocols for field-deployment preparations, health and safety precautions, sampling and quality-assurance procedures, and decontamination requirements under potentially hazardous environmental conditions. Documentation procedures and maintenance of sample integrity by use of chain-of-custody procedures also are described in this protocol.

Superseded by Open-File Report 2011-1098

Version 1.1 Posted September 7, 2010

Version 1.0 was previously posted on the Office of Water Quality Web site

For additional information contact:
Franceska Wilde
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192-0002

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Wilde, F.D., Skrobialowski, S.C., and Hart, J.S., 2010, Sampling protocol for post-landfall Deepwater Horizon oil release, Gulf of Mexico, 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1191, 155 p., available online at


  1.0 Post-Landfall Sampling Protocol
  2.0 Preparations for Multi-Media Sampling at Oil-Impacted Sites
  3.0 Safety in Field Activities
        3.1 Health and Safety Plans
        3.2 Training
        3.3 Air Monitoring
        3.4 Personal Protective Equipment
        3.5 Health Monitoring: Exposure and Heat-Stress
        3.6 Points of Contact
  4.0 Decontamination
        4.1 Work-Zone Boundaries
        4.2 Method Summary
        4.3 Post-Decontamination Procedures
        4.4 Equipment/Apparatus
  5.0 Multiparameter Sondes: Preparation, Deployment, and Cleaning Procedures
        5.1 Sonde Preparation
        5.2 Methods for Sonde Deployment
        5.3 Instrument Decontamination
        5.4 Materials and Supplies
  6.0 Collection of Sonde Data and Water Samples
        6.1 Objectives and Method Overview
        6.2 Equipment and Supplies
        6.3 Sampling Location
        6.4 Step-By-Step Procedures
        6.5 Collection of Quality-Control Samples
        6.6 Sample Handling and Storage
        6.7 Addendum: Disposable-Bailer Sampling Method
  7.0 Sediment Samples
       7.1 Method Overview and Considerations
       7.2 Equipment and Supplies
       7.3 Preparation, General Process, and Order of Sample Collection
       7.4 Step-By-Step Procedures
       7.5 Quality Control
       7.6 Analyses, Materials, and Supplies for Sediment Sampling
  8.0 Chain of Custody and Documentation Requirements: Labeling, Packaging, and Shipping
       8.1 Method Summary
       8.2 Field Procedures
       8.3 Packaging Samples
       8.4 Shipping Samples
  9.0 Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Field Sampling
       9.1 Quality-Assurance Requirements
       9.2 Quality-Control Sampling
10.0 References
11.0 Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Chemical Symbols

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