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The 2019 stormwater year is off to wet start! California, Washington and the Midwest have experienced lots of rainy weather recently which means lots of stormwater sampling.

Mapistry wants to give a stormwater shoutout to everyone who spent many hours in the rain collecting samples, calibrating pH meters, and filling out Chain of Custody forms. Not only are stormwater samples a vital extension of the Clean Water Act – ensuring the health and prosperity of our nation’s waters, stormwater sampling is a key component to a strong compliance program. Between 2015 and 2018 95% of 60 Day Notices cited a deficient monitoring program, which includes sampling! Taking stormwater samples is so important it mitigates legal risk – pending its done correctly and follows the stipulations outlined in your states permit 😉

OK back to the sampling…if you were a stormwater sampling superhero, you’ve done what needed to be done at the cost of your dry clothes and warm toes!

While some of you have been grabbing samples for years and become total experts it can be easy to forget some of the tips and tricks! So whether you are a season sampler or new to the stormwater be sure to follow our tips to  you are collecting samples free of contimination and ready to be analyzed by a lab (or your eyes if you have a permit that requires visual observations of grab samples).

To add to the sampling fun, the Mapistry team has some exciting new updates!  While you were  grabbing samples we were too! Our eLearning team was hard at work creating Mapistry’s newest eLearning course on stormwater sampling.

Which brings me to the tips and tricks. To film and produce our newest course I got out in the rain with my teammate Nicky – our resident eLearning wizard! We worked together to create an awesome sampling course! (check out more info here) Complete with essential how to’s and what not to do’s!

While we were out filming, I discovered some helpful tips I just had to share!

1. Use plastic sheeting (almost) all the time.

This is to avoid scraping the floor. This one works in most types of sample collection and you would be amazed at how this simple step prevents contamination of your sample.

2. Sheet flow is not impossible to sample!

I built the dam thing myself! So next time I hear someone couldn’t get a sample of sheet flow because there just wasn’t enough to get, you’ll be hearing me tell you how my teammate Page built this dam flawlessly on her first try!

3. Be patient!

When you collect a sample you should let the bottle fill with flowing water. As tempting as it is to scrape the bottle in a scooping motion the much preferred method is to hold your lab bottle in place… maybe at the end of the dam you built… and let it fill slowly with running water. Patient young grasshoppers..contaminating your sample is too risky.

4. Be prepared.

This may sound silly, but it’s happened more often than I would like to admit. I ask someone if they grabbed a sample from the most recent storm and they tell me they had did not have bottles on hand. Or they didn’t have the supplies to build an awesome dam. Preparation for sample collection should never be an after-thought. It’s why Mapistry sends out our automated rain reminders, and why I endlessly remind people that rain is coming. It’s like the Starks say, “Winter is coming” and hey, they’re always right in the end!

I could go on about exactly what needs to be in your sample kit, how to calibrate a pH meter (or how to quickly do that in the field), common errors when collecting samples, or even what a Chain of Custody (CoC) form is and how to understand your lab results, but it looks like we’ve already covered a great deal of that here at Mapistry!

If you want to see some awesome hands-on sample collection, learn more about sample collection, or help others learn about sample collection, you should definitely check out our Stormwater Sampling Course – contact us to access the demo course!

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