All industrial storm water multi-sector general permits are required to conduct storm water monitoring. Due to the time constraints around sampling protocol, it is often more efficient and effective for staff at a facility to collect the sample.
While we regularly complete recordkeeping and reporting for clients, we understand it is also more cost-effective for managers to simply coordinate the collection of a sample and submit samples directly to the lab.
Many of our clients ask what is involved in the sampling process, so here you have it (If video tutorials are more your speed, shoot me a email and I’ll send one your way!)
Preparing for sampling
Be prepared to collect your sample within 30 minutes of the start of a runoff event when water is flowing – not still water – so you will get a more representative sample of your facility’s conditions.
For each monitoring location, you’ll need:
- One new, one-gallon resealable plastic bag
- One pair powder-free, disposable nitrile or latex gloves
- One clean bottle for collecting the sample (provided by your lab)
- One container of preservative (if provided by your lab)
- One cooler for shipping the sample
- One field notebook, waterproof pens
- One camera for a visual record of sampling conditions
- Before going outside:
a. Familiarize yourself with the lab instructions for sample collection to ensure the correct bottle, volume, and preservative (if required) are used.
b. Write the name of the person collecting the sample, and the sample date and location on the collection bottle label.
If possible, familiarize yourself with the site terrain prior to a rain or snowmelt event. In any case, choose locations that are most representative of the runoff and best allows for obtaining a sample. A grab sample can be taken from any of several possible locations where water is flowing, including a pipe, swale or ditch.
Collecting the sample and sending the samples to a laboratory
1. Don clean gloves. This prevents the possibility of your fingers or hands accidentally contaminating the sample. And, when you remove the bottle’s cap, be sure to place it on an uncontaminated surface (not on the ground) to prevent cross-contamination.
2. Hold the bottle so the opening is facing upstream.
3. Collect the sample from as close to the middle of the storm water flow as possible; this provides the most representative sample of that discharge.
4. Fill the lab’s collection bottle with sufficient volume, as instructed by the lab.
5. Add the sample preservative if your lab has provided one. Be sure to handle the preservative carefully; most are acids or bases and can cause skin or eye irritation if not handled correctly.
6. Once filled, cap the sample bottle, ensure your name and the sample collection date, location, and time are on the label, and place it inside a resealable plastic bag. Place the bag into a cooler and prepare the cooler for pickup or shipment to the lab. This will include packing the sample with ice (Don’t use ice packs as they cannot uniformly surround the sample bottle).
*Note: In Indiana (and most other states) you have to also collect a pH sample in the field at the time of collecting the sample.
In addition, Cornerstone recommends taking notes detailing how the sampling event went, and record a photo, too, to remind you of the facility’s conditions.
Cassie Lee is an Account Manager and Business Development Professional with over a decade of experience in environmental consulting. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-983-1719 with any questions or for assistance on services mentioned in this post.