Community Partner

John S. Zogorski, United States Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment Program

First Advisor

James F. Pankow

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Management (MEM)


Environmental Science and Management




Water -- Sampling -- Equipment and supplies, Water quality -- Measurement, Water -- Pollution -- Measurement, Water -- Analysis




An investigation was conducted into current and emerging surface water sampling technologies. These technologies were compared and recommendations given to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for adoption by the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The goal is to reduce labor costs and increase information content. This paper examines lotic system samplers, portable autonomous whole-water samplers, and autonomous submergible whole-water samplers. When investigating whole-water sampling technology, it was imperative to take into consideration what chemical classifications can be sampled for by each respected technology. Chemical classifications considered are: emerging contaminants, major ions, nutrients, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, and trace elements. The result of this project shows that USGS is currently using the best technology available for lotic systems. For portable autonomous whole-water samplers it is recommended that USGS incorporate certain brands and models to reduce cost and improve data collection for their sampling events. Autonomous submergible whole-water samplers are primarily advertised for oceanic research; however, if deployed in fresh water systems, USGS can reduce labor cost and increase data collection. In terms of emerging technology, it has been recommended to USGS to consider recent patents.


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A project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Management.

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