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Common Symbols and Abbreviations

PQL Practical Quantitation Limit  The lowest calibrated level used in a method.  Values reported below this level, but above method detection limits, are considered valid estimates but are flagged.

< less than-- The number following this sign is the smallest amount quantifiable using the method and current circumstances.  If below the lowest point on the curve, it is flagged. It indicates the lowest level examined without detecting the analyte in question.

>  greater than. The analyte was found at a level exceeding the calibration or dilution range.

CFU  Colony Forming Unit.  Each bacterial cell is assumed to form a colony in bacterial counts.

pH >15 Min pH was not measured on site and so exceeded the 15 minutes holding time allowed by Pa.DEP.

mg/L LAS 340 means mg/L for detergents (MBAS) where the molecular mass of the detergent in standards was 340.

TNTC  too numerous to count.

NTU  nephelometric turbidity units.

C or F  refer to temperature. Degrees Centigrade (or Celsius) and Fahrenheit respectively.

umhos/cm micromhos per centimeter. Usually at a specific temperature (25oC), it is used in reporting
                 specific conductance of solutions.

percent or parts per hundred. Usually designated by weight or volume.

g   means "gram". This is the unit of mass (weight) in the metric system. It equals about 1/30 of an ounce.

kg  means means   "kilogram". This is 1000 grams.

mg  means "milligram". This is 1/1000 of a gram.

ug  means "microgram". This is 1/1000 of a milligram and 1/1,000,000 of a gram.

l   means "liter". This is the unit of volume in the metric system (about 0.95 quarts).

ml  means "milliliter". This is 1/1000 of a liter. (100ml would be 1/10 of a liter.)

ul  means "microliter". This is 1/1000 of a milliliter and 1/1,000,000 of a liter.

%  means "percent" or "parts per hundred". Usually designated by weight or volume.

mg/L ,mg/kg  usually represents "parts per million". One milligram per kilogram. (mg/kg) or ,
                       one milligram per liter (mg/L)

ppm  and one part per million (ppm). One mg/L and ppm, or one mg/kg and ppm are equivalent

ug/L, ug/kg, ppb usually represents "parts per billion".  One microgram per kilogram. (ug/kg), one microgram per liter(ug/L) and one part per billion (ppb).  One ug/L and ppb, or one ug/kg and ppb are equivalent


Data Qualifier Flags


     Estimated (quantitatively) and tentatively usable,  J- or J+  being with low or high bias

    N  Qualitatively estimated (tentative detection).  UN being a Tentative non-detection

    NJ  Quantitatively and qualitatively estimated