Standard Operating Procedures for Sampling
I. Guidelines for different sampling material
Waders, gloves, etc.
Fire extinguisher (if appropriate)
Does assigned vehicle have sufficient capacity for personnel, supplies and equipment?
Is vehicle road-worthy? Check battery, lubrication, coolant, windshield washer
Is there sufficient fuel for the trip, either in the tank, in fuel cans, or available en route?
Is the spare tire inflated, is there a jack, wheel wrench and tool kit?
II. Sample containers
Containers for the transportation of samples are best provided by the laboratory. This ensures that large enough samples are obtained for the planned analyses and
that sample bottles have been properly prepared, including the addition of stabilizing preservatives when necessary.
It is essential to have enough containers to hold the samples collected during a sampling expedition.
Sample containers should be used only for water samples and never for the storage of chemicals or other liquids. Glass containers are commonly used and are appropriate for samples for many analyses, but plastic containers are preferred for samples intended for certain chemical analyses or for biota or sediments. Plastic has the obvious advantage that it is less likely to break than glass.
Sample containers must be scrupulously clean so that they do not contaminate the samples placed in them. Some technicians fasten a Kraft paper cover over the bottle caps before autoclaving to protect them from contamination during handling. The neck of the bottle should not be plugged with cotton wool.
To prepare sample bottles, they should be washed with a non-ionic detergent and rinse at least three times
(five is better) with distilled or de ionized water before autoclaving. New bottles require the same preparation. If distilled or de ionized water is not available, clean chlorine-free water may be used.
III. General guidelines for sampling ground well water and other sources
The following general guidelines can be applied to the collection of water samples (to be analyzed for physical
IV. Sampling from dug wells and similar sources
1. Prepare the bottle. With a length of string, attach a weight to the sterilized sample bottle (see Figure). Open the sterilized bottle
2. Fill the bottle (see Figure). Hold the bottle near its bottom and submerge it to a depth of about 20 cm, with the mouth facing slightly downwards. If there is a current, the bottle mouth should face towards the current. Turn the bottle upright to fill it. Replace the bottle cap.
3. Attach the bottle to the string. Take a 20 m length of string, rolled around a stick, and tie it to the bottle string. Open the bottle as described above.
4. Lower the bottle. Lower the weighted
5. Fill the bottle. Immerse the bottle completely in the water and continue to lower it to some distance below the surface (see Figure).
Lowering a weighted bottle into a well
Table: Example page from a field notebook
Problems encountered/adaptations made during sampling:
Sample preservation and storage:
Samples received by:
Data receiver by: