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SWAMP IQ Chemistry

Quality Assurance & Quality Control Section
Data Management Section
Additional Resources Section
Contact Us Section


About Chemistry

Chemical Contaminants are pollutants that get into our water bodies in a variety of ways. There are natural contaminants like metals, nutrients and salts that can come from mountains or nearby natural quarries.  Pesticides are another contaminant that enters water bodies via agricultural fields or spraying. Emerging areas of concern are pharmaceutical products and antibiotic contaminants in the water. Sources of these emerging contaminants of concern (CEC) can be urban runoff or wastewater treatment plants

Chemistry data helps to evaluate the health of a water body by measuring these contaminant levels in the water, sediment, and fish tissue that has accumulated over time. The data can tell the story of the water body throughout its history and may be able to help predict its future. In the present, the chemistry of a water body indicates what to monitor and how aggressive to monitor and manage. When used in conjunction with bioassessment data, a more robust story is told.

Chemistry data for water bodies is the easiest to quantitatively interpret. There are numerical results that can be compared to numerical targets for the level of acceptable contaminants in the water, sediment or fish tissue.

Chemistry analytes includes: Hardness; Alkalinity; Organic carbon; Nitrates; Phosphorus; Metals- ex: Mercury, Calcium, Selenium, Zinc; and new and legacy pesticides.

water analysis bottle in lab

qaqc image Quality Assurance and Quality Control

The SWAMP Quality Assurance Program Plan establishes the overarching quality assurance requirements for collecting SWAMP data.

The Measurement Quality Objectives (MQO’s) are quality assurance requirements to be SWAMP compliant and comparable. MQO’s give numerical targets for the quality control samples of each analytical chemistry batch for each analyte

data mngmt image Data Management

flask in lab

Data management is another vital component of ambient monitoring that incorporates QA measures such as uniform business rules and data review. These strategies ensure the usability of the data generated for a project.

Business Rules

Standardized language and formatting promotes consistency and prevents the misinterpretation of data. Business rules establish a uniform method of data entry that enables both project staff and end users to easily understand test results.

Data Review

Data should be reviewed by all applicable project staff, beginning with the field crew and laboratory data managers, and ending with the project managers and QA officers. This verification process ensures that sample collection details, such as the date, time, and location of the event are recorded in the proper format. In addition to examining these elements, reviewers confirm that all appropriate business rules have been followed.


The Online data Checker is provided to SWAMP team members and laboratories to check data submission files, within SWAMP 2.5 templates, for formatting, lookup list values, and SWAMP business rules. SWAMP Chemistry 2.5 Templates must be used to submit chemistry results to the Online data checker.

The Checker will process your file and return a summary of results (a table of errors and a table of warnings with a count of each error or warning type). You can then click on a count to see the Excel row number and value that is causing each error/warning instance. Please correct as many errors as possible prior to submission. Files may be checked as many times as needed. Please note that the SWAMP Online Data Checker is intended for SWAMP projects only. Non-SWAMP projects may utilize this checker, however the valid lookup values utilized by this checker and the submission feature is for SWAMP funded projects only. If your project is not a part of SWAMP, please contact your appropriate CEDEN Regional Data Center to submit your data for upload.

addl resources image Additional Resources

Benthic Chlorophyll a, Pheophytin & AFDM Conversion and Data Reporting - This document is used by water quality laboratories to convert water column (mass/volume) to benthic (mass/area) for benthic Chl a, Pheophytin and Ash-Free-Dry-Mass (AFDM) samples.

SWAMP Chemistry Partners

SWAMP works closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Southern Coastal California Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and the California State University staff at Long Beach.

contact us image Contact Us

For questions on these data types, please contact:

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Please send comments and suggestions to the Office of Information Management and Analysis Help Desk: OIMA-Helpdesk@waterboards.ca.gov

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SWAMP Chemistry Partners

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)
US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

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