Focus On Water Division
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Standard Operating Procedure

Water Quality Division
Water Quality Assessment Section - GW

Standard Operating Procedure Number GW-050
Title: Sample Scheduling for the Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) Program
Written Date: September 1, 2000
Approved Date:

Purpose: To provide consistent scheduling of sampling activities for the GWMA program.

Equipment/Materials Needed:

· Scheduled GWMA study as per GW-010
· Set of selected sampling points as per GW-020


1. GWMA sampling, being based mostly upon sampling of irrigation wells, is strongly dependent on growing conditions and the weather. Therefore, initial sampling runs should be scheduled for late June or early July in most years as this is when irrigation normally begins. Design the sampling schedule with as much flexibility as possible regarding staffing, equipment availability, lab concerns, etc., since interruptions in schedule are not uncommon.
2. In the fall or winter of the season preceding the study, the Unit Supervisor will consult with the Section Supervisor and vehicle coordinator to reserve a sampling vehicle for the following summer. The approximate time for this reservation is usually June 15-September 15. If, during sampling activities, a second vehicle is necessary, the project manager and/or Unit Supervisor will coordinate with the Section Supervisor to obtain the vehicle for short-term use. As a general guideline, past experience has shown that studies requiring more than about 200 samples will typically necessitate two sampling crews and thus two vehicles for at least part of the season. These actions are accomplished by contacting the DAS Garage (471-2391). General requirements for vehicles are:
2.1. Full-sized pickup or multi-passenger vehicle
2.2. Four-wheel drive
2.3. Lockable topper or rear end
3. In the fall or winter of the season preceding the study, or at least as soon as the study is scheduled and the approximate number of samples has been estimated, the Unit Supervisor will contact the NHHS lab to inform them of the analyses required, the general number of samples anticipated, the types and amounts of supplies necessary, and the general timeframe for sampling.
4. As soon as possible in the months preceding the study, coordinate with the cooperating NRD(s) to get landowner permission as per SOP # GW-020.
5. Consult with the Section and Unit Supervisors and sampling personnel to determine who is available during the typical sampling season, how sampling duty might affect other job responsibilities, and whether they have any preferences regarding duty assignments.
6. By mid-May, draft a schedule for sampling utilizing available sampling staff. Sampling crews typically consist of two staff members, and individual sampling runs typically consist of one work week each. Each sampling crew should have a certified Water Well Monitoring Supervisor. Depending on staff availability, avoid scheduling a crew for the field for more than one or two weeks at a time.
7. Route the draft schedule to affected personnel; adjust as necessary.