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Alaska Annual Data Report 2005


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Collection and Examination of Data

Surface-water samples for analysis usually are collected at or near stream-gaging stations. The quality-of-water records are given immediately following the discharge records at these stations.

The descriptive heading for water-quality records gives the period of record for all water-quality data; the period of daily record for parameters that are measured on a daily basis (specific conductance, water temperature, sediment discharge, and so forth); extremes for the current year; and general remarks.

For ground-water records, no descriptive statements are given; however, the well number, depth of well, sampling date, or other pertinent data are given in the table containing the chemical analyses of the ground water.

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Water Analysis

Most of the methods used for collecting and analyzing water samples are described in the TWRIs, which may be accessed from

One sample can define adequately the water quality at a given time if the mixture of solutes throughout the stream cross section is homogeneous. However, the concentration of solutes at different locations in the cross section may vary widely with different rates of water discharge, depending on the source of material and the turbulence and mixing of the stream. Some streams must be sampled at several verticals to obtain a representative sample needed for an accurate mean concentration and for use in calculating load.

Chemical-quality data published in this report are considered to be the most representative values available for the stations listed. The values reported represent water-quality conditions at the time of sampling as much as possible, consistent with available sampling techniques and methods of analysis. In the rare case where an apparent inconsistency exists between a reported pH value and the relative abundance of carbon dioxide species (carbonate and bicarbonate), the inconsistency is the result of a slight uptake of carbon dioxide from the air by the sample between measurement of pH in the field and determination of carbonate and bicarbonate in the laboratory.

For chemical-quality stations equipped with digital monitors, the records consist of daily maximum and minimum values (and sometimes mean or median values) for each constituent measured and are based on 15-minute or 1-hour intervals of recorded data beginning at 0000 hours and ending at 2400 hours for the day of record.

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