National Water Quality Laboratory

Thursday December 07, 2023

About NWQL

About us

Lab tech 1 The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) is a world-class environmental analysis and research laboratory located on the campus of the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colo. The NWQL recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary of producing water "quality data and was recognized for its key role in describing the quality of water; one of our Nation"s most precious resources. The NWQL offers a wide-range of environmental analytical services, including inorganic, organic, and radiochemical constituents, and provides high-quality, reproducible data. Read more...

Sample analysis at the NWQL is carried out by chemists, physical scientists, and technicians in the Analytical Services (AS) section. The AS section has broad environmental analytical capabilities to analyze over 800 inorganic and organic contaminants in surface water, groundwater, waste treatment influent and effluent, biosolids, suspended sediment, aquatic bed sediment, atmospheric precipitation and aquatic plant and animal tissues. Read more...

Staff Profile

The NWQL has a diverse staff of scientists and technicians; 98 are permanent Federal employees and 22 are contract employees. These employees are spread across a breadth of organizational units including Research and Development, Analytical Services, Quality Assurance Safety, Health and Environment; Facility Support Services, Support Services, Administration, and Information Technology. Within Research, Quality Assurance, and Analytical Services, expertise includes analytical chemistry.

The work of NWQL scientists is recognized nationally and internationally. For example, NWQL scientist Dr. Edward T. Furlong has been designated a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, ranking among the top 1 percent of researchers from 2003 to 2013 for most cited documents in the section on Environment and Ecology. He was listed as one of Thomson Reuters' "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds" in 2015. Read more...

Laboratory protocols

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gathers data for determining the location, amount, availability, and quality of ground and surface water throughout the United States and its territories. About 75 to 80 percent of the water-quality samples used in this effort are analyzed by the National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL). The NWQL determines organic and inorganic constituents in samples of ground and surface water, river and lake sediment, aquatic plant and animal material, and in precipitation samples. The NWQL receives about 30,000 samples every year for chemical analysis. Read more...

Data Management Processes

The NWQL's Information Technology (IT) group is staffed with highly skilled specialists capable of system design and maintenance for an infrastructure of networked computer systems. These systems house numerous databases and associated system and application software to support the lab's data management activities. The system is fully certified and accredited to FISMA standards by IT Security of USGS. The Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a special-purpose application that monitors the progress of a sample from original entry in the system, through analysis and review to the final release of results to the customer. The system includes a database of all samples received by the NWQL, and an archive of actions taken with each sample. USGS personnel may use the data base to design an analytical request or may track the progress of their samples and retrieve intermediate results by using Web applications that query the data base. A Business Intelligence system is used to monitor analytical processes. Analytical results are transmitted to the customer for review and automatic entry into the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS). Once results are finalized, anyone can retrieve information on where and when a sample was collected, as well as accurate concentrations of chemicals found in the sample and the method of analysis through NWIS Web: These data are used by scientists in universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, and public and private sectors. Read more...

NWQL Links:

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: NWQL LabHelp
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 27-Sep-2022 11:07:40 MDT