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        Field Records for Wastewater Permittees      Central District Highlights

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Keeping Field-Records From Becoming a Wreck

sampling kit-sample collection-field measurements-transmittal forms

You've got a permit and the government expects you to comply with it.

You're supposed to show them you do things "the right way." So when government comes for a "visit", and asks if your samples were pulled correctly, how do you show 'em?

Here's how - give 'em the "w's." The who, the what, the where, the how and the when of each sample.

Why worry about the w's? It all comes back to staying in compliance and out of trouble. So write 'em down. Do it systematically and there'll hardly be a question - government will know you do it right.

The following is a series of checklists to help you show 'em. Don't tell anyone, but they're based on insider information (Florida Administrative Code 62-160 Quality Assurance and the DEP Standard Operating Procedures). If you have any questions, call  407-897-4165. 

These checklists provide:
  • The who, where, when, what and how

  • Make all entries with waterproof ink

  • Correct record-keeping errors with one line marked through the error. The individual making the correction shall sign or initial and date the correction.

  • Keep records of sample collection in a bound notebook or document-controlled field sheets.

Sampling Kit
  • Prepare a sampling kit or obtain one from a contract laboratory

  • Have appropriate amount of containers for samples and blanks

  • Reusable containers must be linked to date and time of cleaning

  • Manufacturer and lot numbers must be recorded for a new containers

FIELD RECORDS / Sample Collection
  • Names of all persons present for all or part of the sampling event

  • Signature of the sampler

  • Date and time of sample collection

  • Site name and address

  • Unique Field Identification Number for each sample container

  • Field conditions such as temperature, weather, etc.

  • Parameters to be analyzed and method numbers

  • Purging and sampling equipment used

  • Cleaning or rinsing of equipment if it is performed in the field

  • Blanks or duplicates collected

  • Sample collection technique (grab, composite, tap, etc.)

  • If composite samples are collected, the number of sub-samples and the quantity of each

  • Preservatives added and quantity. Remember: preservatives must be traceable to preparation date, vendor and lot number.

  • pH verification of preserved samples

FIELD RECORDS / Field Measurements

When you do field measurements, the accuracy of the meters is vital. It can be shown via records of field meter calibration:

  • Name of the person performing the calibration

  • Name of the person performing the field measurement

  • Date and Time of the calibration and /or daily checks

  • Date and time of field measurement

  • Location of sample measurement

  • Actual and expected results of the calibration and/or check in appropriate units (mg/L vs. ug/L)

  • Result of the sample measurement in appropriate units (mg/L vs. ug/L)

  • Whether the result was acceptable

  • Lot numbers and expiration dates of standards and buffers

  • Manufacturer and/or model number of the field meter. If more than one meter is used, the records should be clearly linked to a specific meter.


Sample transmittal forms tell the lab what to test for and document who handled the sample. This record must contain the following information at a minimum:

Who & when
  • Name, time and date of the person who prepared the sampling kit unless samples are collected and analyzed by the on-site laboratory

  • The name of the person collecting the samples

  • The date and time of each sample collected

  • Signature, date and time that the samples were relinquished

  • Facility name and address

  • Location of sample collection

  • The identification numbers for each of the sample containers

  • Parameters required and analysis method numbers

  • Any preservatives used for the samples

  • Identification of common carrier if applicable

  • A comments section which contains remarks on the condition of the samples, the condition of the monitoring wells, the results of checking the preservatives, and if additional preservatives were added to the samples.

Who Keeps the Records?

If facility personnel collected the samples, then the facility must keep the field data sheets and copies of the samples transmittal forms. If you with to give copies of the field data sheets to the lab, you may do so. It is easy to remember who must keep the records by remembering this rule: "If you did the task, then you must keep the records". You need to keep the records for at least 5 years. As far as the government is concerned, "If you don't have documentation that you did it, then you didn't do it."

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Contact List- Wastewater Compliance Assurance 

Central District

3319 Maguire Blvd, Suite 232

Orlando, Florida 32803-3767

Section phone: 407-897-4165

Section Fax: 850 412-0473

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Quality Assurance Tips for Samplers and Chemists
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Last updated: November 16, 2011

  Contact DEP's Central District at: DEP_CD@dep.state.fl.us 
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