ABSTRACT: The implementation of design guidelines for the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program has resulted in the development of new sampling procedures and the modification of existing procedures commonly used in the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey. The Georgia-Florida Coastal Plain (GAFL) study unit began the intensive data collection phase of the program in October 1992. This report documents the implementation of the NAWQA guidelines by describing the sampling design and procedures for collecting surface-water samples in the GAFL study unit in 1993. This documentation is provided for agencies that use water-quality data and for future study units that will be entering the intensive phase of data collection.
The sampling design is intended to account for large- and small-scale spatial variations, and temporal variations in water quality for the study area. Nine fixed sites were selected in drainage basins of different sizes and different land-use characteristics located in different land-resource provinces. Each of the nine fixed sites was sampled regularly for a combination of six constituent groups composed of physical and chemical constituents: field measurements, major ions and metals, nutrients, organic carbon, pesticides, and suspended sediments. Some sites were also sampled during high-flow conditions and storm events. Discussion of the sampling procedure is divided into three phases: sample collection, sample splitting, and sample processing. A cone splitter was used to split water samples for the analysis of the sampling constituent groups except organic carbon from approximately nine liters of stream water collected at four fixed sites that were sampled intensively. An example of the sample splitting schemes designed to provide the sample volumes required for each sample constituent group is described in detail. Information about onsite sample processing has been organized into a flowchart that describes a pathway for each of the constituent groups.