Inorganic Chemistry Branch

Inorganic Chemistry Branch Manager: Ellen Stafford

Located in the WSS Chemistry Laboratory building in Raleigh, NC.  The branch is responsible for the receipt of samples for the Central and ARO labs; analysis of submitted samples for bacteriological, metals, nutrients, and a variety of other inorganic parameters; and assistance to laboratory and field staff.  Comprised of two analytical units, a regional laboratory (located in the DWR Asheville Regional Office) and a support unit.

Links to Analytical and Support Units

Wet Chemistry & Nutrients Unit

Microbiology & Metals Unit

Regional Laboratory (Swannanoa, NC)

Support Unit

Sample Types

The Central Chemistry Laboratory analytical units and the regional laboratory analyze water samples collected from a variety of sources across North Carolina that include:

  • Surface water: lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, canals, stormwater, wetlands
  • Ground water: monitoring wells, water supply wells
  • Waste: effluent/influent from waste treatment facilities, animal waste, spill situations
  • Underground Storage Tanks (UST). 

Many of the water samples are submitted as a part of routine monitoring by the Water Sciences Section and DWR regional offices, including the Ambient Monitoring System, Random Ambient Monitoring System (RAMS), lake monitoring, groundwater studies. Samples are also submitted for compliance monitoring, fish kills, complaints, emergency situations, and other sampling projects.

In addition to water samples, the branch analyzes samples of soil, sediment, and fish tissue for metals. The Microbiology and Metals Unit features a Mercury Clean Room for analyzing mercury at very low levels.

The branch's clients include DWR (other branches of Water Sciences Section, Regional Offices), the Division of Waste Management's Underground Storage Tank (UST) section, the Division of Mitigation Services, local universities, and federal agencies (USGS, Fish & Wildlife).

Analytical data from the branch is used in the assessment of surface water bodies in each of the state's river basins; classification of rivers and streams; compliance; investigations of fish kills, water supply wells, and other sites. Ultimately, all of the data reported by the branch is used to assess and protect water resources for the citizens of North Carolina.

Helpful Links:

Sample Collection and Submittal - Forms and Guidance for Collection of Samples and Submittal to the WSS Chemistry Laboratory.

Supplies - How to Order Supplies for Sample Collection/Preservation and Low-Level Mercury kits; fees list.

Quality Assurance Unit - List of Analytical Methods/Practical Quantitation Limits (reporting limits) and Data Qualifier Codes.


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