The NFQA Program has gone through several revisions since its inception in 1979. The following describes the changes to the program since 1979.
The USGS established a program to provide quality assurance proficiency samples for pH and specific conductance to field analysts. The program was managed by the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) in Arvada, Colorado. Results were sent to the Office of Water Quality, regional office, and then to the participants.
The program was discontinued.
The program was reinstated to provide proficiency samples for pH and specific conductance, and was managed by the NWQL in Doraville, GA.
Alkalinity and chloride proficiency samples were added to the program. After one shipment of proficiency samples was sent to the field analysts in each region, chloride proficiency samples were discontinued in 1985.
The responsibility for managing the NFQA Program was transferred from the NWQL in Doraville, GA., to the QWSU in Ocala, FL. The QWSU followed the existing protocol by sending results to the Office of Water Quality and, after review, to the regional offices for distribution to the individual participants.
The program initiated the practice of sending follow-up samples to field-analysts whose proficiency-sample performance ratings were unsatisfactory. Because of this change in practice, the frequency of distribution was changed to 2 initial rounds about every 15 months.
The practice of assigning an unsatisfactory value if a person failed to submit any data was changed to assigning a ranking of "N" (no data reported).
The volume of the proficiency sample was doubled, to 250 milliliters (mL), and sample bottling and labeling procedures were revised to reduce the possibility of error in sample identification.
The titration method used for alkalinity, fixed-end point or incremental titration, is recorded and stored with the NFQA data.
Frequency of proficiency sample distribution was again changed. It was reduced to once per year to each field analyst with a follow-up sample as needed. Results of the annual proficiency testing are sent to participants two weeks after a summary is sent to the Office of Water Quality, Branch of Quality Assurance (currently the Branch of Quality Systems), and regional offices.
The operational NFQA computer programs were written to conform to the Data General (DG) UNIX operating system.
Field meter model number and brand names are no longer being stored in the NFQA database located in Ocala, FL. The titration methods used for alkalinity are also no longer being reported or stored.
All transfers of worksheets, and NFQA reports to and from field offices, are made using the USGS electronic mail (E-mail) system. The NFQA Program has evolved into a paperless system.
Participants are given the opportunity to select specific sample ranges.
The NFQA database was ported from the PRIME-INFO database located on the PRIME computer (DCOLKA) in Lakewood, CO., to the DG-INGRES database, located in Ocala, FL.
The procedure for evaluating the proficiency-sample results changed from the mean and standard deviation to the fourth-spread and the median value.
The NFQA procedure for evaluating the alkalinity proficiency-sample results was modified.
The NFQA database moved to a SQL web server in Ocala, FL. Updates to the participant list can be done using the web interface. Participants can enter and view their results via the web.
The NFQA project under new management; database and project move to Branch of Quality Systems; Lakewood, CO.
The NFQA project under new management; database moved to a new SQL server in Lakewood, CO.
November 2009 - March 2010
The NFQA project application rewritten; database moved to a new MySQL server in Lakewood, CO. Application moved from ASP server side scripting language on Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) web server to the PHP server side scripting language on the Apache web server. The new application was developed from a requirements and design methodology.
November 2012 - January 2013
Need more information about the National Field Quality Assurance project?
Contact the Branch of Quality Systems via E-mail or call RoseAnn Martin at 303-236-1874
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