Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5027
Quality-control (QC) samples were collected from 2002 through 2008 by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, to ensure data robustness by documenting the variability and bias of water-quality data collected at surface-water and groundwater sites at and near the Idaho National Laboratory. QC samples consisted of 139 replicates and 22 blanks (approximately 11 percent of the number of environmental samples collected). Measurements from replicates were used to estimate variability (from field and laboratory procedures and sample heterogeneity), as reproducibility and reliability, of water-quality measurements of radiochemical, inorganic, and organic constituents. Measurements from blanks were used to estimate the potential contamination bias of selected radiochemical and inorganic constituents in water-quality samples, with an emphasis on identifying any cross contamination of samples collected with portable sampling equipment.
The reproducibility of water-quality measurements was estimated with calculations of normalized absolute difference for radiochemical constituents and relative standard deviation (RSD) for inorganic and organic constituents. The reliability of water-quality measurements was estimated with pooled RSDs for all constituents. Reproducibility was acceptable for all constituents except dissolved aluminum and total organic carbon. Pooled RSDs were equal to or less than 14 percent for all constituents except for total organic carbon, which had pooled RSDs of 70 percent for the low concentration range and 4.4 percent for the high concentration range.
Source-solution and equipment blanks were measured for concentrations of tritium, strontium-90, cesium-137, sodium, chloride, sulfate, and dissolved chromium. Field blanks were measured for the concentration of iodide. No detectable concentrations were measured from the blanks except for strontium-90 in one source solution and one equipment blank collected in September and October 2004, respectively. The detectable concentrations of strontium-90 in the blanks probably were from a small source of strontium-90 contamination or large measurement variability, or both.
Order statistics and the binomial probability distribution were used to estimate the magnitude and extent of any potential contamination bias of tritium, strontium-90, cesium-137, sodium, chloride, sulfate, dissolved chromium, and iodide in water-quality samples. These statistical methods indicated that, with (1) 87 percent confidence, contamination bias of cesium-137 and sodium in 60 percent of water-quality samples was less than the minimum detectable concentration or reporting level; (2) 92‒94 percent confidence, contamination bias of tritium, strontium-90, chloride, sulfate, and dissolved chromium in 70 percent of water-quality samples was less than the minimum detectable concentration or reporting level; and (3) 75 percent confidence, contamination bias of iodide in 50 percent of water-quality samples was less than the reporting level for iodide. These results support the conclusion that contamination bias of water-quality samples from sample processing, storage, shipping, and analysis was insignificant and that cross-contamination of perched groundwater samples collected with bailers during 2002–08 was insignificant.
First posted March 19, 2014
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Rattray, G.W., 2014, Evaluation of quality-control data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey for routine water-quality activities at the Idaho National Laboratory and vicinity, southeastern Idaho, 2002–08: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5027, 66 p., (DOE/ID-22228), http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145027.
ISSN 2328-0328 (online)
Evaluation of Quality Control Data
Appendix A. Supplementary Information