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Evaluation of nutrient quality-assurance data for Alexanders and Mount Rock Spring basins, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

January 1, 1994

A total of 304 nutrient samples were collected from May 1990 through September 1991 to determine concentrations and loads of nutrients in water discharged from two spring basins in Cumberland County, Pa. Fifty-four percent of these nutrient samples were for the evaluation of (1) laboratory consistency, (2) container and preservative cleanliness, (3) maintenance of analyte representativeness as affected by three different preservation methods, and (4) comparison of analyte results with the "Most Probable Value" for Standard Reference Water Samples. Results of 37 duplicate analyses indicate that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Bureau of Laboratories (principal laboratory) remained within its ±10 percent goal for all but one analyte. Results of the blank analysis show that the sampling containers did not compromise the water quality. However, mercuric-chloride-preservation blanks apparently contained measurable ammonium in four of five samples and ammonium plus organic nitrogen in two of five samples. Interlaboratory results indicate substantial differences in the determination of nitrate and ammonium plus organic nitrogen between the principal laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Laboratory. In comparison with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Quality-Control Samples, the principal laboratory was sufficiently accurate in its determination of nutrient anafytes. Analysis of replicate samples indicated that sulfuric-acid preservative best maintained the representativeness of the anafytes nitrate and ammonium plus organic nitrogen, whereas, mercuric chloride best maintained the representativeness of orthophosphate. Comparison of nutrient analyte determinations with the Most Probable Value for each preservation method shows that two of five analytes with no chemical preservative compare well, three of five with mercuric-chloride preservative compare well, and three of five with sulfuricacid preservative compare well.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1992
Title Evaluation of nutrient quality-assurance data for Alexanders and Mount Rock Spring basins, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
DOI 10.3133/ofr92165
Authors E.C. Witt, D. J. Hippe, R.M. Giovannitti
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 92-165
Index ID ofr92165
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center