When gathering data for a Phase 2 ESA or other reports through on-site testing or environmental site screening, it is important to note that the results are only as good as the data.
On-Site Data Quality & Why It Matters:
Inaccurate data means that decisions will be based on erroneous beliefs and a poor site understanding. By ensuring that the data is precise and accurate and that it has been gathered in an appropriate manner, the investigative team gains confidence that their data is, in fact, accurate to the site’s conditions.
Ensuring On-Site Data Quality With Sampling Procedures:
AEL has carefully developed methods to assure quality in all areas of site work, data analysis, and reporting.
In the field, sampling procedures are carried out in a method that avoids cross-contamination and ensures samples are labelled with unique barcodes to preserve sample identity.
On-Site Quality Assurance & Control:
The goal of on-site QA/QC is to ensure that the sampling results are accurate to the true condition of the soil. The following methods are key to building confidence and assurance in the site results:
1. Sampling Unit Accuracy
Calibration of the field instrument to a known standard is critical in ensuring that the equipment is operating within acceptable ranges. Reliable and representative data are collected by repeating this process several times daily during the project.
2. Sample Procurement
Well-developed sample procurement and handling methods ensure soil, groundwater and soil vapour samples are representative of site conditions. These methods include:
- Decontamination of sampling equipment or single-use samplers like geoprobe sample tubes to reduce potential cross-contamination
- Unique sample barcode identifications [which follows tracks samples through sampling, analysis and reporting] to avoid data transposition errors or duplicate reference numbers;
- Ensuring proper sample preservation, storage and hold times are adhered to
- Providing appropriate field duplicates and blanks as per the regulation and/or applicable site investigation standards, including field blanks and duplicates.
3. Certified Laboratory Analysis
Samples are submitted to a CALA-accredited laboratory (or other appropriate certification) to ensure applicable standards are followed including method blank, laboratory control sampling, matrix spikes, sample duplicates, and other appropriate testing.
4. Avoiding Transcription Error
By minimizing the use of transcription entirely, AEL ensures that data is correctly transcribed. This is done by importing data directly from the on-site testing unit into a spreadsheet where it is interpreted, with each sample identified with its unique barcode label. Similarly, laboratory data is imported and checked for quality upon import.
AEL ensures data for on-site screening is reliable to provide clients with the information they need to make confident decisions about their site.
Need assistance regarding quality assurance for on-site data? Call us at (800) 267-4797 or contact us here.