Sample Submission

The documents and forms on this web page are intended for staff from NCDWR and other agencies who will be collecting environmental samples to be submitted to the WSS chemistry laboratories. 

Questions and notification of sample submittal may be submitted by email sent to (or by contacting laboratory staff by telephone)

  1. Sample Submission Guidance
  2. Sample Containers, Preservation and Hold-Time Tables
  3. Forms - Sample Collection/Submittal, Chain-of-Custody 
  4. Sample Submittal - Time-Sensitive Samples 
  5. Sample Submittal - State Holiday Receipt Restrictions
1. Sample Submission Guidance:

The guidance document provides a full overview of the requirements and considerations for submitting samples to the WSS laboratories. 

The contacts & notification document is a 1-page reference for how to contact laboratory staff  for questions and notifications.

The shipment, delivery, and restrictions document is a 1-page reference for methods of delivering samples to the Central Laboratory, as well as delivery/submittal restrictions for time-sensitive samples.

Sample Submission Guidance Document  
Sample Submittal - Contacts and Notification  
Sample Submittal - Shipment, Delivery, Restrictions

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2. Sample Containers, Preservation and Hold-Time Tables:

The tables below outline requirments for each analytical parameter for:

  • Type of sample container
  • Required sample preservation and/or field processing
  • EPA- or method-specified hold time (time from sample collection until initiation of sample analysis in the laboratory).

Surface Water Samples - Containers, Preservation and Hold Times Table  

Ground Water & UST Samples - Containers, Preservation and Hold Times Table

Soil & Sediment Samples - Containers, Preservation, Hold Time Table

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3. Forms - Sample Collection/Submittal, Chain-of-Custody:
The following sample submission forms must be used when submitting samples to the laboratories. The chain of custody form is optional and to be used at the discretion of the collector (if used, all COC procedures must be followed for the COC to be valid):
Sample Submission Forms (Field Sheets): Format
Water Sample Field Sheet - Central Laboratory PDF Excel
Water Sample Field Sheet - Asheville Regional Lab PDF Excel
Tissue Field Sheet - Central Laboratory PDF Excel
Soil and Sediment Field Sheet - Central Laboratory PDF Excel
Chain of Custody Form Format
Sample Chain of Custody Form PDF Excel

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4. Sample Submittal - Time-Sensitive Samples:

Time-sensitive samples are those for any of the analytical parameters that have a hold time of 48 hours or less (see table below).

Certain restrictions are in place with regards to days and times when these samples are not accepted. These apply for both the Central Laboratory in Raleigh and the Regional Laboratory in the Asheville Regional Office. Any exceptions to these restrictions are made on a case-by-case basis, and must include prior notification.

Restrictions on Submittal of Time-Sensitive Samples:

Monday through Thursday:

Not Accepted after 3:00 PM


Not Accepted after 1:00 PM

State Holidays and State Holiday Weekends:

Not Accepted on a Work Day before Holiday or Holiday Weekend

Except for Chlorophyll a and Turbidity (accepted until 1:00 PM)

See below for more detailed information on holiday restrictions.

Analytical Parameters with Holding Times of 48 hours or less:
Biochemical Oxygen Demand, 5-day MBAS
Chlorophyll a Nitrite (NO2)
Coliform - Fecal and Total Orthphosphate (PO4)
Color - ADMI and Platinum Cobalt Turbidity

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5. Sample Submittal - State Holiday Receipt Restrictions
The tables and calendars below detail work days when time-sensitive samples will not be accepted at the laboratories due to a state holiday or state holiday weekend. Any exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and only with prior notification.
List of State Holidays & Dates with Sample Submittal Restrictions:
Central Laboratory - Table
Asheville Regional Laboratory - Table
Calendar format: Displays Holidays & Dates with Sample Submittal Restrictions:
Calendar of Restrictions for January through June
Calendar of Restrictions for July through December

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Purpose of these Documents and Forms:

The primary goal of these documents is to promote the use of procedures that will ensure that data reported by the laboratory is accurate as well as legally and technically sound. Errors in environmental analysis can result from incorrect sampling handling or lack of supporting documentation.

Factors that may ultimately affect the integrity of reported analytical data include:

  • Obtaining a representative sample;
  • Preventing contamination of the sample;
  • Proper preservation of the collected sample and attention to sample hold times (to protect the sample from chemical, physical or biological changes prior to analysis);
  • Providing legal documentation of the sampling event, and if necessary chain-of-custody

The WSS Chemistry Laboratory is committed to providing high quality data and excellent service in environmental analysis. To ensure that the results produced and reported meet the requirements of the data users and comply with state and federal regulations, a quality management system must be implemented that is clear, effective, well-communicated, and supported at all levels of the Division of Water Resources.