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Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manual: Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory

The USGS Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory (the OWML) provides analytical data for projects within the Michigan-Ohio Water Science Center (MI-OH WSC), for the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, and for other USGS Center programs by request. Samples are collected to determine the presence of microbiological organisms of public health significance in ground waters, surface waters, and sediments for a variety of study objectives. For example, some local studies are done to judge compliance with standards for protection of public health in swimmable or drinkable waters. Other studies investigate the occurrence, distribution, and trends of pathogenic organisms and indicators in surface and ground waters and relate these to environmental and water-quality factors.

The OWML fulfills analytical requirements of various USGS programs by analyzing environmental samples for bacterial indicators, coliphage, Actinomycetes, enteric viruses, cyanobacteria, and microbial source-tracking (MST) markers. OWML personnel provide assistance for project planning and training, as well as sampling and analytical methods for these organisms. The OWML continuously updates and adds analytical methods and microorganisms to its analytical list. The OWML is involved in some method development at the present time; however, the OWML mostly tests new methods developed by others for applicability to ambient monitoring programs.

The OWML is committed to providing quality microbiological analytical services to the USGS. The quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program is designed to ensure the production of scientifically sound, legally defensible data of known and documented quality. The effectiveness of this program relies on clearly defined objectives, well-documented procedures, and management support.