Field Sampling 101: 5 Flash Observations and Takeaways from Our Newest Training Webinar

Field Sampling 101: 5 Flash Observations and Takeaways from Our Newest Training Webinar

Under a complicated and interwoven web of environmental regulations that would awe the renowned illusionist David Copperfield, groups of U.S. stakeholders are charged with monitoring the impact of their activities on public and private water systems to help ensure water remains safe for public use and consumption.                                                                                    

Under Constant Siege

Due to stark scientific evidence, there is little illusion pertaining to the precarious state of the nation’s waters. While the U.S. water system is generally recognized as the safest in the world, environmental watchdog groups have long warned that this precious resource is under constant siege from a host of microbiological, chemical, and physical contaminants that pose serious health risks to humans.

Many of these contaminants, like heavy metals, are naturally occurring in the environment. Others, such per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a large family of manufactured chemicals, are the result of human activities. 

Compliance Mission

Stakeholders, in their mission to comply with a host of federal, state and local environmental mandates, have a wide assortment of monitoring tools at their disposal to evaluate the safety of our water systems. One indispensable and critical tool is field sampling.  

Underscoring the importance of these programs, Microbac Laboratories, one of the country’s leading providers of environmental testing services, recently hosted a new webinar, “Field Sampling 101,” to assist stakeholders with their programs. 

As pledged in its title, the webinar provides an introductory overview of the basic components found in sampling programs for the analysis of drinking water, groundwater and wastewater. The section below visits five flash observations and takeaways from the informative and timely presentation: 

A Big Tent

A wide spectrum of entities utilize field sampling programs to fulfill their water stakeholder duties and responsibilities. This eclectic list includes governmental agencies, water treatment municipalities, construction companies, real estate developers, agricultural cooperatives, oil and gas companies, and branches of the United States military.

Unsung Heroes 

From sample collection, to sample perseveration, to the transport of samples to testing locations, sampling technicians can be characterized as unsung heroes. Their steadfast dedication to best practices, often exhibited under less than desirable conditions and circumstances, serve as the foundation for effective and sustainable field sampling programs.

All is Lost 

Stakeholders must be assiduous in recording and securing chain of custody forms. These legal documents verify the possession and transfer of field samples while in route to the destination laboratory. Without proof of sample integrity, testing cannot commence in the face of incomplete or missing forms. 

Taxing Terminology

Laboratory reports provide stakeholders with objective data to make informed decisions, such as remediation actions. At times, however, the terminology found on reports, such as method detection limit (MDL) and limit of quantitation (LOQ), can be confusing. When situations like these arise, stakeholders should reach out to their testing providers to receive clarification on their analytical results. 

Partner Up With Experts                                                                                                                       

Stakeholders should always partner with reputable experts to establish and maintain field sampling programs. Ideally, prospective testing providers should be accredited through the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). This “gold” standard certifies that participants, who have demonstrated a commitment to high quality standards, are proficient in testing analytes designated in the NELAP program.

Stem the Tide                                                                                                                     

Ensuring the safety of the nation’s water systems from a barrage of harmful contaminants requires a comprehensive and concerted program. Through expert environmental testing and field services, Microbac, with over 50 years of industry experience, can help stakeholders stem the tide and comply with current regulatory standards.  

To view “Field Sampling 101” in its entirety, click here to download. 

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