For Field Technicians

Canadian Arctic Rivers Sampling Steps

Sampling Cheat Sheet – in Inuktitut


A. Equipment

Sample bottles, rubber gloves, Ziploc bags, cooler/container, freezer paks (blue ice), tubing, pump, filters, pole sampler, pipettes, pipette tips, and reagents: hydrochloric acid and mercuric chloride

B. Sampling

  • The extendable pole & jugs will be used to get water from the river. This water will be transferred from the jug into smaller sample bottles using the pump, tubing, and filter cartridges. NOTE: You may have to collect more than one jug from the river to fill all the bottles!
  • First, secure the jug into the holder on the pole. Make sure the straps are tight so the jug won’t get knocked out when you dip it into the river.
  • While standing from the shore, use the long pole to dip the jug into the river. Try to reach as far from the shore as possible but don’t put yourself in danger! Keep the mouth of the jug completely underwater.
  • Rinse the jug twice; then fill it a third time and bring it back to shore. Try not to spill any water!
  • Put the lid on the jug and remove it from the pole.
  • Set the jug down near the pump.
  • The person to fill the bottle puts on the rubber gloves.
  • Get the pump ready by inserting the tubing and fitting the filter cartridge onto the outflow end.
  • Place the inflow end of the tube into the jug and have the cartridge ready for dispensing water into the sample bottles. Be careful where the cartridge is set down. We don’t want any dirt to on the part where the water goes in or out.
  • Turn on the pump and let some water flow through the tubing and filter (this water will not be sampled, only used to rinse the tubing and prime the filter). Rinse the filter for 10 seconds.
  • After the tubing has been rinsed for 10 seconds, point the stream of water from the tube into the sample bottle.
  • While the water is being pumped through the tubing, fill a sample bottle about half way, quickly cap the bottle and shake to rinse it thoroughly, and discard the water. Repeat this step two more times before filling the sample bottle.
  • Repeat for the next sample bottle.

C. Bottles

There are 8 different types of bottles:

1) Oxygen isotopes vials are small (20 mL), made of glass, and have white screw caps.

2) Nutrient bottles are medium-sized (60 mL) and made of plastic.

3) Total alkalinity bottles are identical to the nutrient bottles (plastic, 60 mL capacity), but have the initials “TA” written in the upper, right-hand corner of the labels.

4) Barium vials are small (20 mL) and made of plastic.



Fill bottles to the red line indicated in the picture.

5) Strontium bottles are large (two, 500 mL) and made of soft plastic.

6) Cation bottles are also large (250 mL) but smaller than the strontium bottles. They are also made of soft plastic

7) Anions bottles are smaller than the cation bottle (125 mL). They are also made of soft plastic.


8) DOC vials are small (60 mL) and made of amber glass.

After the bottles have been filled to the appropriate levels, some bottles need chemicals added to them. Use the pipettes and plastic tips provided to add the correct amount of chemical to the desired bottles:

  • Total alkalinity bottles need 250 mL of mercuric chloride (HgCl2) added. Tightly re-cap the bottle and invert gently three times to mix.
  • DOC bottles need 1 mL of hydrochloric acid (HCl) added. After adding the acid, re-cap the vial and shake well, then open slightly to release any pressure and re-tighten the cap to close.

Once samples are collected and the chemicals added as needed, all bottles should be tightly capped and wrapped with Parafilm (plastic wrap). Cut a square or two from the roll and wrap the cap such that the direction of the wrap tightens the close (clockwise). Wrap around cap and uppermost portion of bottle for maximum closure.

The nutrient samples should be FROZEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

All other samples should be kept cool & dry but NOT FROZEN! Preferably, these bottles should be stored in the dark at a temperature of 4ºC (a typical refrigerator should be OK for this purpose BUT DO NOT STORE SAMPLES IN THE SAME REFRIGERATOR AS FOOD!!!).

D. Labeling

After collection, the name of the river and the date & time of collection should be written on the label of each bottle. For example:

Coppermine River

August 1, 2014


E. Storage & shipment of samples

Sample bottles of the same type should be kept in separate Ziploc bag(s) to keep the bottles clean. The nutrient samples should be placed in a freezer and kept frozen until shipment is arranged at the end of the September/beginning of October. All other samples should be kept in a cool, dry place (e.g., refrigerator) until shipment.

At the end of September (you should be out of empty bottles), bring all samples to the Kugluktuk Hunters & Trappers (Kugluktuk) or Jake at the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre (Clyde River) for shipment to Seattle.

F. Problems or questions

If you have any questions, get in touch with Matt. You can reach him by phone (+1-206-897-1623) or e-mail ( If you call and he doesn’t answer leave a message and be sure to leave your phone number so he can call you back.

You can also get in touch with the Hunters & Trappers and let them know you have a question or problem and want to talk to Matt. They will know how to get in touch with him.