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2012 Call for Data Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. General Questions
  2. Site Information Questions
  3. Continuous Data Questions
  4. Analytical Data Questions

A. General Questions

1A. Do you have a key for abbreviations - I don't know what some of them stand for?

See Data Submittal General Information spreadsheet. There is an acronym page and descriptions for all the fields. Let us know if we missed something that isn’t on the DataDictionary or Acronyms tab.

2A. We have been submitting data since 1994 and when I went in to the LASAR map our sites were not on it. There were some DEQ sites that looked close but not our sites. What should we do with LASAR #?

If you believe there is a LASAR site that represents your location, please enter it in the LASARID column—we need to rely on your professional judgment to say whether it is representative based on your knowledge of the site. Note that most of our older stations, especially the 10000 group of stations, have lat/longs that don’t plot well on our LASARWeb NAD83 projection. Sometimes the site description can be helpful to figure out where the “blue triangle” on LASARWeb should really be…like at the bridge not 200 ft off the stream in a pasture.

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B. Site Information Questions

1B. The old forms had Site Name but not Site #. We number our sites with a 2 character alpha code for the stream & 4 character numeric for elevation but in the past expanded the alpha for submittal to DEQ. What is your protocol for site #?

I assume by site # you are referring to our site ID. See the data dictionary on row 29 of the Data Submittal General Information spreadsheet. The site ID is an open field with the restriction that it must be unique to each station. The example you give would work fine as long as the values were unique.

2B. How do you indicate what NAD you are using for your lat/long - most of ours is 1983 but some is still 1926?

Use LASARWeb to confirm your lat/long. The Ortho photos are 2005 and great for finding locations relative to your field lat/long. Otherwise specify NAD83, NAD27, whatever in column E of the SiteID tab. See the following example:

LASARWeb HELP

1.    Click the lat/long link, located under To set a new location in the left-side column of the screen.

2.    Type the degrees, minutes, and seconds, or type the latitude and longitude in decimals. Screen example:

3.    To set the radius, click the Search Radius down arrow; select a radius. Click the Set button.

4.    Click the Map it button.

5.    Click the View station list link to view any stations associated with the location. Other location characteristics about the location display under Selected Location.
LatLong

3B. I have data from monitoring a stream flowing into a named creek, but  am not able to locate the stream in the LLID Application to find the LLID and River Mile.  What do I do in this case?

Some water bodies may not show up on the LLID Application’s 1:100,000 scale hydrography layer. If your water body does not show up, the LLID and River Mile data fields may be left blank. You can add a comment to indicate that LLID information for that site was not found. However, you should verify the accuracy of your location information (latitude, longitude, water body name, and site description) using the Ortho Photos, topographic maps, and other tools in LASARWeb. Un-named streams should be identified as “Trib to” the first named water body. See the Data Dictionary in Data Submittal General Information spreadsheet for additional help on Site ID requirements.

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C. Continuous Data Questions

1C. Do you have an example of a spreadsheet that has been filled out correctly - with continuous data?

An Example Continuous Sample Data Submittal file can be found. 

2C. We do not collect all the listed parameters on the continuous sample template. I assume that these columns can simply remain blank?

These columns should be left blank.

3C. How is Depth defined?  Is this the depth of the instrumentation when a sample is collected? How is the DQL for this parameter determined?

The depth column is included for loggers that monitor depth. You may enter the approximate deployment depth and retrieval depth at the first and last record if your units are not logging depth.  In the depth method just put “visual estimate”. Our default is 1 m. Data quality for logged data is determined as described in the Data Submittal General Information spreadsheet.

4C. We have already assigned grade values (DQL's) for our data based on bi-weekly audits and the DEQ Data Quality Matrix. Do we only send you the data that we have deemed of A or B level? Do we fill this in on the template in the DQL slot?

Do not cut out data that is not A or B. Call it C level for known bad data or E level for unknown quality. Please include your data quality levels (grades) in the spreadsheet you submit.

5C. Do we place our weekly/biweekly audit values in the audit result column? We take 5 one minute readings during an audit with an audit sonde to measure precision and follow with accuracy checks. I would assume we would simply place our final audit reading for the set in the appropriate column.

Place your audit values in the audit result column. The way the spreadsheet is set up you could enter all 5 audits b/c there is a separate date/time for each audit. Just bundle them together near the closest logger value date time column. Entering only one of your audits is also fine.

6C. How do you enter your audit temp reading with the submitted data? If it is adjacent to the closest temp it's really going to be time consuming.

You are right, that it is time consuming but it is what we have to do for all our data to compare results. In Excel, if you highlight the block of data you can use the filter tool to more quickly get the row of data you want. See the following Excel instructions:

About Filtering:

Filtering is a quick and easy way to find and work with a subset of data in a range. A filtered range displays only the rows that meet the criteria you specify for a column. Microsoft Excel provides two commands for filtering ranges: AutoFilter and Advanced Filter.

What do you want to do?

Use AutoFilter for simple criteria and to filter by selection:

When you use the AutoFilter command, AutoFilter arrows appear to the right of the column labels in the filtered range.

AutoFilter

1 - Unfiltered Range
2 - Filtered Range

Microsoft Excel indicates the filtered items with blue.

You use custom AutoFilter to display rows that contain either one value or another. You can also use custom AutoFilter to display rows that meet more than one condition for a column; for example, you might display rows that contain values within a specific range (such as a value of Davolio).

7C. Can I get clarification on the definition of a "sample" or "deployment period" for continuous instruments? Our datasondes are left on site year round. Once a year we perform a 3 point NIST temperature check on each instrument. Every quarter we perform accuracy checks on all other sensors. Every couple of weeks we audit the instruments, check calibration, and assign grade values to the associated datasets. Should we separate our data out into the year long units between temp. checks, quarterly, or otherwise? I should also note that these instruments are often pulled for inspections/repairs/malfunctions throughout the year for varying periods of time. Would this disrupt the defined "deployment period"? 

You have some flexibility to determine the length of a deployment or sample.  Just be sure that you have audits for all parameters at the start and end of each deployment (if you used the same audit to end one and start another put the audit in both files). If you change any equipment then you need to start a new sample. 

8C. What do you do when you split continuous data (for example due to dewatering) since you have one set of calibration readings for two submittals? This could also cause a problem if you have one audit with the first half & one with the second half. This could also be a problem with calendar year breaks since our data is by calendar year but winter samples generally overlap.

We don’t delete our dewatered data, we leave the results there and assign a D level data quality level. If you’ve already cut the data out, that is fine if your data proceeds like the example below:

7/30/03 12:30 23.7  
8/15/03 0:15 19.6  

By calibration I’m assuming you’re talking about what DEQ calls the accuracy checks. If you are using one set if accuracy checks to serve as your “post accuracy check” for the previous year and the “pre accuracy check” for the following year, then please indicate that on the accuracy check tab. There are a couple ways to do this. Most efficient might just be to make a comment on the first line of the accuracy checks tab explaining that the data below serves as the pre or post deployment for the accompanying data and where the other post or pre data can be found. It is not a problem for a continuous sample to start one year and end the next.

9C. I'm having real problems understanding the Temperature accuracy form - item.

Check out the Example Continuous Sample Data Submittal template. All the accuracy checks for all loggers are stacked on top of each other. We will sort the data by logger ID, but you can enter it in whatever order is easiest for you to copy it into the template.

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D. Analytical Data Questions

1D. In this file’s Analytical Data sheet, there are fields for a great many types of QA/QC information (spike level, recovery, RPD, etc.). If I were to US mail or email copies of all of the relevant QC Reports (for the monitoring events for which data is being submitted) to DEQ, may I leave all of those QA/QC fields in the template blank?

If the required QC fields are not provided your data may not be assessed. The purpose of supplying these fields is to ensure that all the QA/QC requirements are met.  Any alternate formats need to be pre-approved by DEQ. Contact DEQ via email.

2D. Dilution information is requested in this template. That information is generated by the laboratory and I don’t have it at this time, although I can probably (somehow) get it. Does dilution data need to be provided?

Dilution information is usually reported in an analytical laboratory report, but if it is not reported please submit your data in the Excel format without the dilution field filled out and include a copy of the report. DEQ will review all information provided with the submittal and will evaluate the data quality level (DQL) of the submitted data.

3D. Batch number, sample matrix: What do these field names mean?

Batch Number: The batch number is a unique ID that associates the sample to common analytical QC checks. This means that samples analyzed in a group (or batch) with the same QC data will have a batch number associated with them. The number may include letters, but it must be unique to the group of data analyzed together. This allows DEQ to review QC data and apply a DQL to the appropriate sample results. If a batch number is not entered into the template, DEQ will not be able to apply a DQL and data will not be assessed as “A” or “B” data. Note: If a laboratory does not report a batch number they may be using the preparation date and time for grouping the samples and QC together. This preparation date and time should be unique to the sample set and is acceptable for a batch number. 

Sample Matrix: The sample matrix describes the physical state of the sample. Examples include surface water, sediment, soil, and groundwater. This is a required field and valid values are given in the data dictionary.

4D. These two fields – analysis date time and preparation date time – pertain to when the lab did their analytical work, right?  I have that data, but I may need to hand-enter it for each and every data point. I don’t know if I can get it electronically paired with the results or not. Does this data need to be in the submittal? Or can we simply send a signed statement which asserts that all of the data is processed within allowable holding times? 

Yes, these data fields pertain to when the analytical lab analyzed the samples and are required to be entered into the template unless you are reporting analysis from a national accredited program. A statement asserting that hold times were met will not be acceptable. You may be able to submit an alternate format. This must be pre-approved by contacting DEQ by email before submitting data.

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