Main Page ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING Position Paper BLANKS SPIKES 2ndCOLUMN DUPLICATE

SUGGESTIONS FOR REDUCTION
OF ANALYTICAL COSTS BY
ELIMINATION OF UNNECESSARY
QUALITY CONTROL (QC) SAMPLES

by Douglas M. Chatham

Senior Chemist

INTRODUCTION

This is the introduction to a series of four articles presenting a rationale for collecting fewer QC samples for hazardous-waste projects and encouraging project managers (PMs) and quality assurance project officers (QAPOs) to question the need for every QC sample or activity. Too many PMs and QAPOs incorporate every QC sample mentioned in SW846 or CLP methods because they don't take the time to think about how those samples are to be used, or because they want to avoid having to justify eliminating QC samples to an EPA project manager. Many field QC samples can be eliminated from hazardous waste site investigations, resulting in significant analytical cost savings, without any effect on the quality of the overall investigation. The categories of QC samples or analyses which could be reduced include second column confirmations, field blanks, matrix spike and matrix spike duplicates, and duplicate samples. Additional cost reductions could be realized through careful selection of analytical methods and the use of on-site methods, where feasible.
The QA/QC requirements for environmental investigations were derived under CERCLA and RCRA with the purpose of generating legally defensible results. Once the origin and responsibilities are established for a site, the purpose of QA/QC should be adjusted to new DQOs. Determining the extent of contamination, conducting RI/FS, and monitoring remediations may be successfully accomplished with field screening methods, on-site Level II analyses, and fixed laboratory Level II, with some samples (generally 10%) confirmed at Level III or Level IV.


About The Author

Douglas M. Chatham is currently a chemist and data manager with the Air Quality Group of the Environmental Protection Division of the state of Georgia (404-363-7072) and proprietor of Chatham Ventures (404-939-7354), an independent environmental consulting firm specializing in reviewing and editing Quality Assurance Project Plans, auditing mobile laboratories, and conducting data review and validation. Mr. Chatham spent 5 years as senior chemist and field analytical specialist with the Atlanta office of Parsons Engineering Science, 3 years as Organic Chemistry Section Head, data reviewer, and project manager for NUS Corporation, and 10 years as Process Chemist and Trouble-shooter for USS Agri-Chemicals. He has developed and presented a comprehensive series of seminars on basic environmental chemistry, including presentation of the Data Review and Validation topic at Clemson University and at The Savannah River Plant and Principles of Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy, and Data Quality, Review, and Validation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Mr. Chatham holds a B.S. Chem. degree from the University of Georgia and an M.S. Chem. Degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.