FAQs

Analytica FAQs

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General | Compliance Management Program (CMP) | Fisherman Kit | Well Safe Packages I – III | Water Well Drillers Package

General FAQs

The following questions apply to almost all of our customers.

What is the difference between regulated samples and non-regulated samples?

All regulated samples must be analyzed by an approved list of analytical methods which are specific to the regulation being enforced. If an analytical method is used that is not on the approved list of methods, the data that is created by your testing laboratory is not likely to be accepted by the regulatory agency.

You would then be required to re-sample and re-analyze the same sampling point using an acceptable method for the regulation being enforced. For a project on a budget, this would not be a good outcome.

A non-regulated sample can be analyzed by any satisfactory analytical chemical method that is effective in the quantification of the chemical constituents of interest, even if it is not on the approved list.

An example of a non-regulated sample would be a homeowner testing his/her private well.

What is the difference between regulated and non-regulated testing methods?

All regulated samples must be analyzed by an approved list of analytical chemistry methods which are specific to the regulation being enforced. If an analytical method is used that is not on the approved list of methods, the data that is created by your testing laboratory for the sample will not be accepted by the regulatory agency.

The client would then be required to re-sample and re-analyze the same sampling point using an acceptable method for the regulation being enforced. For a project on a budget, this would not be a good outcome.

A non-regulated sample can be analyzed by any satisfactory analytical chemical method that is effective in the quantification of the chemical constituents of interest, even if it is not on the approved list.

How do I know which method to use?

Federal Regulations for environmental compliance samples typically incorporate a group of analytical chemistry methods which are specific for that regulation. For example, if you are sampling under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), you should use 500-series methods for organics and 200-series methods for inorganics.
For waste water sampling under the Clean water Act (CWA), you should use 600 –series methods for organics and 200- series for inorganics.

In the case of non-compliance samples, it is important to discuss your project needs with our in house technical experts. They can assist in creating a plan that will provide you with the most cost effective method selection that also meets your analytical data needs.

A listing of the approved methods for both drinking and waste water samples taken for compliance purposes can be found by clicking here.

How could my data can be compromised?

In addition to incorrect method selection for compliance samples, improper sampling, preservation, shipping and storage can compromise data.

Holding times are the maximum length of time a sample can be stored after collection and prior to analysis without significantly affecting the analytical results,according to regulations.

Sample preservation, proper handling and storage and adherence to holding times are employed to reduce the effects of biodegradation, volatilization, oxidation, sorption, precipitation and other physical and chemical processes on sample integrity.

Many of the approved methods for compliance samples require specific holding times to be met for the data to be usable. If prescribed holding times are not met, the data is likely to be rejected by the regulatory agency thereby requiring re-sampling and re-analysis.

Although non-compliance samples are not required to meet holding times by a regulator, meeting established holding times and properly preserving and handling non-compliance samples is important to obtain accurate quantification of the chemical constituents of interest. Otherwise, the sample analysis can be of little or no value.

What are detection limits & why are they important?

The limit of detection for any analytical method is important, since no method can measure to zero. the “detection limit” is an estimate of the amount of any substance that could be detected by a method in a given sample type or “matrix”.

You can consider the following kinds of limits to be appropriate for environmental work:

  • Reporting level — known by various abbreviations such as RL, MRL (Method reporting limit), PQL (practical quantification limit) and others.
  • Method detection limit — Otherwise known as the MDL
  • Action level — For a compliance sampling event, this is the level of detection where regulatory action must be taken. This can also be known as the MCL (Maximum contaminant level).

The RL or PQL is the low limit for unqualified, quantitative data on the final report. When this is used as a detection limit,it carries with it the highest degree of certainty of the various limits and therefore the lowest probability of false negatives or positives (always an issue in environmental testing).

The MDL is an estimate of the method detection limit, which is obtained by a regulatory procedure defined by the USEPA. This is the point at which there is a 99% probability that a detected result is real and not a false positive. This is the limit for qualitative data. At the MDL, there is a much higher probability of false negatives than there is at the RL.For this reason, results measured near the MDL are not as reliable as are results reported to the RL.

In a regulated sampling event, the regulatory action level should be met by the method reporting limits for the data to be usable. For example, if the action level for the analysis of Arsenic is set at 10 parts per billion (ppb), the RL or PQL must be lower than 10 ppb in order for the data to be fully reliable.

If, for example, the method selected can only provide a RL/PQL of 15 ppb, then the method selected is inappropriate for meeting the regulatory requirements. The Arsenic could still be present above the regulatory limit.

Such a problem can also arise due to sample matrix interferences. In such cases, it is essential for the laboratory to work with you to deal with the problem.

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Compliance Monitoring Program (CMP) FAQs

The following questions apply to customers using our Compliance Monitoring Program.

What is the most important value of CMP?

It is the most cost effective (inexpensive) way to manage your Federal and/or State compliance requirements.

Since water systems are primarily engineered and designed to provide clean water to the public, compliance management is usually a secondary effort that is inefficient and time consuming.

Once management teams of public water systems identify the actual cost of compliance, it is easy to see how outsourcing your compliance effort to Analytica is a “no-brainer”.

Can Analytica help identify my company’s internal cost for compliance?

Yes, Analytica has a return on investment analysis system that is designed to identify all of the hidden costs of compliance to the water system management. This analysis compares those costs to becoming a member of the CMP program.

Why is Analytica more efficient at compliance monitoring?

There are several reasons why the Analytica CMP program is more efficient than handling compliance internally.

  • Analytica conducts the chemical and micro-biological testing that is the primary data feedstock to complying with the Federal and/or State regulations.
    Once the water sample enters the laboratory management system database, the testing data is generated and managed electronically in its entirety. Not only does this avoid the possibility of human error but speeds the process of data management from beginning to the final reporting to the regulator.
  • Analytica electronically schedules all of the sampling events so there is not a need for the water system to have its high cost labor to interface with the laboratory to order bottles, chain of custodies and to manage other logistical considerations.
  • Once the data is generated and approved by the water system operators, all State forms can be populated electronically and reported directly to the State.
  • Since the data resides in a state-of-the-art SQL database there is no need for the water system to hand enter data into manual spreadsheets for analysis purposes.
    Any special reporting needs of the water system can be handled within the reporting capabilities of the database, itself.
  • If communication with the regulator is required for any reason and subject to the water system approval, Analytica’s expert personnel will communicate with them to ensure total compliance at all times.

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Fisherman Kit FAQs

The following questions apply to customers using our Fisherman Kit.

What is the purpose of the Fisherman’s Kit for Alaska seafood processors?

There are 2 types of permits available for seafood processors: 1) A general permit and 2) An individual permit.

Analytica’s Fisherman’s Kit was created to meet all the testing requirements for the General Permit holders only.

Holders of individual permits should request a consultation with one of our experts. Analytica will assist potential individual permit holders design a custom package for their needs.

Is there more than one type of Alaska General Permit?

The simple answer is there is only one type of General Permit. However….

Applicants requesting authorization to discharge under a General Permit are classified in several different categories based upon the type of shore-based faciliies and/or pricessing vessels being permitted and geographic area of discharge.

Permittees are required to file specific appliation forms based upon this categorizaton for their processing operations.

What are some of the primary concerns for a General Permit holder?

Sampling Supplies/Technique

  • Utilization of non-sterile bottles for microbiological analyses
  • Contamination of sample due to improper sampling technique
  • Insufficient sample volume necessary to conduct the analytical test

Logistics

  • Not getting the sample shipped to the laboratory within the required holding time after taking the sample.
  • Sample arriving at the laboratory outside of the upper temperature limit of 6 degrees Celsius- not frozen.
  • Sample bottles arriving at the laboratory broken.

Testing

  • Possibility of false positives being reported due to contamination of sample during the sampling phase.
  • Missing sample holding times, temperature exceedance or broken bottles rendering the testing not possible or non-compliant.

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Well Safe Packages I – III FAQs

The following questions apply to customers using our Well Safe Packages I – III.

Why should private owners have their well water tested annually?

Most private wells provide a clean and safe supply of water. However, contaminants can pollute private wells and unfortunately you cannot see, smell or taste many of them. Well water should be tested annually for the following reasons:

  • To determine if the water is suitable for drinking or non-potable uses without additional repair or rehabilitation of the water well system.
  • To identify and quantify high probability water contaminants that can impact human health making the water not suitable for drinking without further treatment.
  • To identify chemical imbalances of the water that can contribute to negative aesthetic and system threatening qualities of the water. For example, water corrosivity, taste, smell and appearance.

How does a private well owner decide what to test for?

The decision on what to test for should primarily be based on the types of land uses near your well.

For example, if your well is within a ¼ mile of fertilized agricultural fields or animal feedlots an initial test for pesticides and nitrates would be recommended.

Analytica can assist you with determining what tests should be considered given the types of land uses near your well and the primary contaminant health risks that may impact your well. Contact us for a free consultation.

What are some of the most common contaminents found in private wells?

Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microorganisms are sometimes found in water. Shallow wells — those with water close to ground level — are at most risk. Runoff, or water flowing over the land surface, may pick up these pollutants from wildlife and soils.

Radionuclides: Radionuclides are radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. They may be present in underlying rock and ground water

Radon: Radon is a gas that is a natural product of the breakdown of uranium in the soil — can also pose a threat. Radon is most dangerous when inhaled and contributes to lung cancer. Radon is less dangerous when consumed in water, but remains a risk to health.

Nitrates and Nitrites: Although high nitrate levels are usually due to human activities, they may be found naturally in ground water. They come from the breakdown of nitrogen compounds in the soil. Flowing ground water picks them up from the soil. Drinking large amounts of nitrates and nitrites is particularly threatening to infants.

Heavy Metals: Underground rocks and soils may contain arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and selenium. However, these contaminants are not often found in household wells at dangerous levels from natural sources.

Fluoride: Fluoride is helpful in dental health; so many water systems add small amounts to drinking water. However, excessive consumption of naturally occurring fluoride can damage bone tissue. High levels of fluoride occur naturally in some areas.

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Water Well Drillers Package FAQs

The following questions apply to customers using our Water Well Drillers Package.

What is the Water Well Drillers Package intended for?

Any new groundwater well or surface water source intended for use as a Community Public water system.

How is a Community Public Water System defined?

A public water system (PWS) is a system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least fifteen service connections or regularly serves at least twenty-five individuals.

Is testing of Community Public Water Systems Mandatory or Discretionary?

Although the tests may vary from State to State depending upon the specific water quality issues that are known geographically, the testing is always considered to be mandatory in nature.

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