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Quality control program for a geochemical laboratory, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Canada



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The quality of analytical data produced by geochemical laboratories has become progressively more important as complex decisions concerning the impact of development on the environment Public concern regarding the impact of resource, industrial, and agricultural development is placing greater pressure on the government to protect the environment (Zhou, 2013). The quality of such data is squarely dependent on adherence to quality control programs, which provide guidelines from which high quality, trustworthy data can be generated. A unique quality control program was developed and implemented at the NSERC-IRC Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory. This program: 1) accommodate samples from unique environments; 2) documents and maintains the high level of confidence in the data produced; 3) provides standard quality control protocols; and 4) ensures the continued training of staff. The evaluation of data produced during 2013 revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the laboratory methods through comparison with data quality objectives. The data produced by the laboratory during 2013 was evaluated and quality confirmed. It was determined that the results produced met the high standards required by the data quality objectives, with a few minor exceptions. The quality objectives were based on the end use of the data and consideration regarding the complex nature of the water samples collected from diverse geologic media. There was increased variability of results near the method detection limit of selenium, cadmium, and arsenic, although they still meet to standards required for water quality investigations. Investigations into variabilities will include re-evaluation of detection limits, identification of the source of discrepancy between the methods, and possible matrix interference. Protocols will continue to be monitored and changes to methods made when objectives are not achieved or there are changes in laboratory staff, equipment, or the specific requirements of the studies the laboratory supports.



quality control, geochemistry, analytical laboratory



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Geological Sciences




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