Water Survey Labels – Saving our Resources―One Drop at a Time

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It is sometimes sad to realize just how much we take for granted in our everyday lives and that a lot of laboratory work involves extensive time and effort to understand the very world around us. For instance―rainwater…Plus the need for water survey labels.

One of our customers at the State Water Survey, a division of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at a university, is working on a long-term water pollution project with the US EPA and several other federal agencies. While most of this work is fairly routine, a recent task included tracking any possible radiation exposure from the unfortunate Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan. Don’t panic, however… they have found nothing of any consequence to affect our health and safety.

Their pollution study has been going on for 33 years― and still counting. It starts by collecting rainwater samples in plastic buckets around the country. To identify their containers they need a UV-resistant label that is both durable and that will stay permanently bonded in all types of weather. The perfect solution for them is our preprinted EnduraLabels which come with a special, extra-aggressive adhesive and a protective UV-resistant laminate.

Bottle ID tag affixed to a sample bottle and example graphic of a Bucket ID tag for water survey labelsAfter the buckets are collected, water samples are transferred to 1-liter bottles that are then sent to their labs at Urbana-Champaign for analysis. They need to track these samples and keep an accurate chain of custody. Since these bottles are reused, they must remain permanently labeled even during their cleaning process. Here again, the EnduraLabels work best.

When the 1-liter bottles are received, they are decanted into vials and tubes for testing. To label these smaller containers, they use paper labels that are specially coated for water resistance and have a strong adhesive to stay permanently in place. They prefer a sheet label format so they can print them on their own laser printer and then easily attach them to their paperwork.

Another step in their process involves archiving water samples in cold temperatures…some are frozen while others are merely refrigerated. They need to keep these samples for the life of the study, in case any results are challenged. For this type of abuse, they use our White CryoLabels® which are specifically designed to handle even cryogenic storage. These labels come blank in roll form for them to also print on demand using a desktop printer.

Christopher Lehmann, the CAL Director in their National Atmospheric Deposition Program tells us our labels have all worked very well and their technicians enjoy using them. (He mentions that they actually squabble over who gets to apply the labels when a new batch arrives!)  He goes on to say that EIM has always been great to deal with and that he appreciates our willingness to think up new solutions and get them samples to test.

The fact is this is just a part of the work the State Water Survey does; altogether, they have been studying water resources for over a century. This type of research is vital not only for economic development but also for sustaining our overall environment and quality of life. How lucky Electronic Imaging Materials, Inc. is to play a small part in their important work.  

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