National Field Quality Assurance Project
Project History

The NFQA Program has gone through several revisions since its inception in 1979. The following describes the changes to the program since 1979.

March 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.

January 1981

The program was discontinued.

February 1982

The program was reinstated to provide proficiency samples for pH and specific conductance, and was managed by the NWQL in Doraville, GA.

August 1984

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.

October 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.

February 1987

The titration method used for alkalinity, fixed-end point or incremental titration, is recorded and stored with the NFQA data.

October 1989

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.

April 1993

The operational NFQA computer programs were written to conform to the Data General (DG) UNIX operating system.

October 1993

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.

January 1994

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.

October 1996

The NFQA procedure for evaluating the alkalinity proficiency-sample results was modified.

January 2003

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.

July 2004

The NFQA project under new management; database and project move to Branch of Quality Systems; Lakewood, CO.

October 2008

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

The NFQA project application updated to version 2.0; database moved to a PostgreSQL server. Application updated to use jQuery, jqGrid, and Bootstrap Javascript libraries. New user interface with the removal of sidebars and the use of Bootstrap page containers, the removal of standard HTML forms and the use of jqGrid tables, and the use of an application specific navigation bar.

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


  National Atmospheric Deposition Program National Water Quality Laboratory USGS Precipitation Chemistry Page

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: June 12, 2023