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-140
Title: Chain-of-Custody Procedures for Groundwater Samples
Written Date: September 1, 2000
Approved Date:


Purpose: To ensure ground water data quality by providing a clear record of sample custody from the sampling event through laboratory analysis.

Equipment/Materials Needed:
  • Ground water quality sample sets obtained, preserved, and handled as per SOPs # GW-060, 061, and 100
  • Analytical request/chain-of-custody forms (see Appendix A).

Procedures:
  1. Before sampling, confer with the laboratory performing the analysis and review the chain-of-custody requirements as outlined in this SOP to ensure that they understand your procedures and requirements.
  2. Obtain, preserve, and handle ground water samples as per SOPs # GW-060, 061, and 100.
  3. Immediately before or after obtaining an individual sample set, begin filling out the analytical request/chain-of-custody record (see Appendix A). For specific event sampling (e.g. point source incidents or contaminant site investigations), fill out one record for each site, completing one line of the upper block on the first page for each specific sample set taken. For larger, regional sampling events (e.g. GWMA studies), fill out a separate record(s) for each day of sampling, completing one line of the upper block for each specific sample set taken (i.e. the example form in Appendix A has room for 10 samples).
  4. Fill out the sections regarding Parameter Request (required), Comments (optional), Container/Preservation (required), Type of Sample (optional), and Field Measurements (optional) by checking the boxes and adding any comments as appropriate. For longer-term (e.g. GWMA) studies or sampling events for which these sections are known in advance, the forms may be pre-printed with the appropriate boxes checked and comments filled in. If such is not the case, fill in this items on location.
  5. Upon completion of the sampling event, transport the samples to the laboratory for analysis. If the samples are delivered to the lab by the same individual(s) who performed the sampling, the sampler is responsible for maintaining the record until the samples are delivered to the lab. If transferring the samples to a different individual for delivery, the sampler must sign on the lower block on the second page under “Samples Delivered By.” The person transporting the samples to the lab must sign on the lower block under “Samples Received By,” and fill in the correct date and time in the spaces provided. If the samples are shipped via commercial carrier to the lab, the sampler must sign in the lower block on the second page under “Samples Delivered By,” and fill in the date and time in the space provided. The sampler also places the name of the commercial carrier under “Samples Received By,” and retains the carrier’s shipping receipt as evidence. The sampler then places the chain-of-custody record in an envelope and fixes it to the outside of the secured sample carrier (usually a cooler).
  6. Upon arrival at the lab, deliver the samples to the individual responsible for sample receipt. Confirm with this individual the analytical requirements for your samples, if you have not already done so.
  7. Sign the chain-of-custody record on the lower block on the second page under “Samples Delivered By.”
  8. Ensure that the laboratory representative signs the record on the lower block on the second page under “Samples Received By,” and places the correct date and time in the spaces provided. Also, instruct the laboratory representative to fill in the laboratory numbers of the samples at an appropriate time in the space provided (NOTE: if samples are to be delivered by commercial carrier, be sure to instruct the laboratory representative to follow Steps 4-6 in your absence).
  9. If using the NHHS lab, log the samples into the lab’s log book. If using another lab, check to see if they have any internal log-in processes.
  10. If the samples must be transferred for any reason (e.g. to another laboratory or section for specialized analyses, etc.), instruct the laboratory representative to follow the above procedure to fill out additional lines on the lower block.
  11. Ensure that the lab returns the properly completed chain-of-custody record and file it with the laboratory results until it is no longer needed.

APPENDIX A. Example Analytical Request/Chain-of-Custody form and explanation of terms.


Explanation of Terms Used in Analytical Request/Chain-of-Custody Form
NDEQ PROGRAM:
Fill in the name of the NDEQ program for which the sample was taken.
PROJECT NAME:
Fill in the name of the project for which the sample was taken.
Resource Tracking #:
Fill in the two-digit program number, three-digit subprogram number, and four-digit project number
Sample Collector:
Fill in the name of the person(s) who collected the sample.
Send Results To:
Fill in the name of the person to whom the analytical results should be sent.
FACILITY/SITE/TRIP NUMBER:
Fill in the number of the facility/site OR the trip (not both), if applicable. This typically consists of a facility or site identification number OR an NDEQ identification number and departure date (mm/dd/yy).
Activity No.

Sample No.

QC ID Number

Fill in the appropriate activity, sample, or quality control (QC) identification number. This will typically be specified according to the individual project or program.
Location Description
Fill in the description of the location at which the sample was taken. This will typically be a description of the point from which the sample was taken (e.g. Discharge Pipe, Monitoring Well #1, etc.) or a landowner’s name.
Collection Date
Fill in the date on which the sample was collected.
Collection Time
Fill in the time at which the sample was collected. Use military time; e.g. 8:15 AM will be 0815; 1:45 PM will be 1345.
Lab Numbers
Fill in the laboratory number(s) for the particular sample. THIS WILL TYPICALLY BE FILLED IN BY LABORATORY PERSONNEL.
Number of Containers
Fill in the number of containers making up each sample.
PARAMETER REQUEST

Physical
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for pH, conductivity, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, or hardness.
Nutrients
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for ammonia, nitrate-nitrite, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, phosphate, or dissolved orthophosphate.
Trace Minerals
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for chloride, sulfate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, or alkalinity.
Microbiological
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for fecal coliform or fecal streptococcus bacteria.
Demands
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, or total organic carbon.
Metals
Check the appropriate box or boxes if you wish to have laboratory analysis for arsenic, chromium, lead, selenium, cadmium, chromium (hexavalent), mercury, silver, copper, iron, nickel, or zinc
(Total Dissolved check)
Check whichever item is appropriate; total infers that the samples have not been or will not be filtered, while dissolved implies samples have been or need to be filtered.
OTHER (list method):
List any other analyses which you need. Before requesting such analyses, be sure that the laboratory has the ability to provide them.
COMMENTS (Optional):
Provide any other comments which may be helpful, such as notes on sample condition, any irregularities in labeling or packaging, etc.
Container/Preservation (Check)
Indicate the kind of container and preservation used for your samples.
Un-preserved Cubie
Check if sample is provided in a 1 l polyethylene cubitainer without preservatives.
Un-Pres. Glass

w/ Teflon Lid (Qt.)

Check if sample is provided in a 1 quart glass jar with Teflon lid and without preservatives.
Filtered/Un-Pres.
Check if sample has been filtered but no preservatives have been added.
Cubie/H2SO4
Check if sample is provided in a 1 l polyethylene cubitainer and preserved with concentrated sulfuric acid.
Pres. (H2SO4-) Glass

w/ Teflon Lid (Qt.)

Check if sample is provided in a 1 quart glass jar with Teflon lid and preserved with concentrated sulfuric acid.
Filtered/Pres. (H2SO4)
Check if sample has been filtered and preserved with concentrated sulfuric acid.
Cubie/HNO3
Check if sample is provided in a 1 l polyethylene cubitainer and preserved with concentrated nitric acid.
Filtered/Pres. (HNO3)
Check if sample has been filtered and preserved with concentrated nitric acid.
Un-Pres./No Air Space
Check if sample is unpreserved and has been filled to the exclusion of air.
Other (Specify)
Check and specify if a container and/or means of preservation has been employed other than those listed.
Total Number of Samples
Enter the total number of samples included with this particular form.
TYPE OF SAMPLE (check)
Check the appropriate box for the type of sample provided. This information is optional.
Influent
Check if the sample represents water flowing into a particular sampling point and used to document a certain process.
Effluent
Check if the sample represents water flowing out of a particular sampling point and used to document a certain process.
Grab
Check if the sample represents water taken at an unspecified sampling point and used to document general conditions.
Composite
Check if the sample represents a composite or combination of several sub-samples.
Field Blank
Check if the sample was prepared in the field from deionized water.
Ground Water (mon, irrig, dom, PWS, other)
Check if the sample is a ground water sample taken from a monitoring, irrigation, domestic, public water supply, or other type of well.
Surface Water
Check if the sample is a surface water sample taken from a stream, lake, etc.
Soil
Check if the sample is a soil sample.
Waste
Check if the sample is a type of waste.
Other
Check if the sample is some other medium.
FIELD MEASUREMENTS
Enter the appropriate results of field measurements, if any were taken. These entries are optional.
Flow (gal/day)
Enter the flow rate at which the water sample was taken, in gallons per day.
Water Temp (º C)
Enter the temperature of the water sample, in degrees Centigrade.
Diss. Oxygen (mg/l)
Enter the dissolved oxygen concentration, in milligrams per liter.
pH (su)
Enter the pH, in standard units.
Cond. (umho/cm)
Enter the specific conductance, in micromhos per centimeter
Other
Enter any other field measurements taken.
CHAIN OF CUSTODY RECORD
Record the individuals who have handled the samples, and the date(s) and time(s) at which this took place.
Samples Delivered By
The individual(s) who delivered the samples must sign in this space.
Samples
The individual(s) who received the samples must sign in this space.
Date
Enter the date (month, day, and year) on which the samples were delivered.
Time
Enter the time (military or AM/PM) at which the samples were delivered.
Lab Numbers
The laboratory personnel must enter the lab number(s) of the samples in this space.
Data Delivered By
The individual who delivered the analytical results must sign in this space.
Data Received By
The individual who received the analytical results must sign in this space.
Date
Enter the date (month, day, year) on which the data was delivered.
Time
Enter the time (military or AM/PM) at which the data was delivered.
Lab Numbers
The laboratory personnel must enter the lab number(s) of the data (if applicable) in this space.


NOTE: Numbers in brackets (e.g. {3}) denote columns for laboratory data entry forms.

Appendix A. Chain-of-Custody Form and Explanation of Terms
Revised 12/94
STATE OF NEBRASKA
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

CHAIN OF CUSTODY RECORD

SAMPLE SITE:_______________________________ TRACKING CODE:_______________________

SAMPLER:___________________________________ WITNESS:______________________________

Sample ID
Media
Sample Date
Sample Time
# of Containers
Analysis
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Samples Delivered By
Samples Received By
Date
Time
Lab Numbers
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