Samples should be collected in accordance with protocols specified in project-specific field work instructions, and using similar SOPs to improve inter-comparability of results. Samples should include field or trip blanks and, to the extent possible, duplicate samples to assess the precision of chemical analysis.
Customized datasheets should be created to increase efficiency in the field and reduce the likelihood of potential errors or omissions (see example Field Data Sheets). The following general information should be collected on datasheets during sample collections:
- Date and time of sampling;
- Station location (UTM or lat/long coordinate, datum, zone);
- Initials of field crew members;
- Sampling methods/gear used;
- Number of samples collected (soil/sediment/tissue);
- Number of specimens retained/released/dissected/archived (biota), or the number of measurements taken;
- Sample ID/number;
- Volume of sample collected (soil/sediment/tissue);
- Number of samples in composite (if individual samples are composited);
- Handling techniques, preservation methods, sampling containers used; and
All of the above information should be recorded on field datasheets, and secured at the end of each day. Replicated sample ID labels should be applied to datasheets and sample containers to ensure each sample has a unique ID and is not mislabeled. Sample ID labels should be affixed to the container and secured with clear tape to ensure they are waterproof. The team leader must ensure that samples are collected and stored/shipped as per conditions specified by the analytical laboratory.