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Vol. 7 Issue 2



Summer 2011

MPCA Laboratory Quality Control and Data Policy Update In a few months the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will finalize their policy document detailing the expectations of environmental laboratories that submit data. Our laboratory had the opportunity to provide input on the draft document during the comment period. Many topics outlined in the guidance document are critical for evaluating the data quality. Below is a brief synopsis.

standard calibration is used. It defines the acceptance criteria and distribution of internal standards throughout the chromatographic range. For inorganic methods where internal standards are used, the intensities must be monitored for every analysis. There also is a discussion for corrective action when intensities fall below recommended method limits.

Overall Quality Control Requirements The MPCA expects laboratories to follow approved methods, achieve acceptable quality control results and provide detailed explanations in the case narrative of the final report when there are quality control issues. Laboratories must be certified by the Minnesota Department of Health or other MPCA-recognized accreditation authority.

Surrogates This section details the use of surrogates, the evaluation of the recoveries, corrective action for unacceptable recoveries and documentation of surrogates in the final report. The main point of this section is that the control limits placed on surrogate recoveries are reasonable.

Sample Handling and Receipt Samples should be received by the laboratory and maintained in a condition intended by the analytical method. This means the use of proper preservatives, containers and holding time considerations, and that the samples are received within the required temperature range. Standards, Calibration and Calibration Verification The standards used are to be obtained from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or a vendor that supplies NISTtraceable standards whenever possible. Numerous documentation items are included in this section, such as lot number, date prepared, expiration dates, etc. The calibration and calibration verification requirements comprise three categories: organic analyses, metals analyses and other. These three sections give the minimum calibration requirements unless otherwise specified. Internal Standards This section is applicable to organic analyses where internal

Dilutions Dilutions shall be made to cover sample concentrations over the calibration curve and for samples that have matrix interferences. In some cases, such as a multi analyte method (VOCs), some of the analytes may be nondetect and others may be over the calibration range. This will result in the sample being analyzed at multiple dilutions. The goal is to quantify each analyte to its lowest reporting limit whenever possible. The usefulness of reported sample concentrations is extremely limited when the analyte of interest is non-detect due to an increased reporting limit because of a dilution. Method Blanks The first sample that is generally analyzed is the method blank. The sample results will indicate that the instrument and reagents are free from interferences and contamination. A method blank is also run after calibration to determine if there is any carry-over contamination. The remaining portion of this section goes into detail regarding the frequency and use of method blanks.

See MPCA - Continued on page 2

Lab Manager’s Corner: Quality Assurance Earlier this year, some of our analysts attended the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Consultant’s Day to learn more about laboratory quality assurance reporting and analytical requirements for testing. This is an important topic for laboratories and those who seek laboratory services for projects regulated by the MPCA. In our cover story, we explain what goes into understanding our analytical data packages for MPCA-related projects. If you have any questions about any of our services, please contact me or your project manager. Providing you with quality service is our business.

As the warmer weather approaches, we understand that many of you experience an increased workload. To better serve you, we are once again extending our summer weekend lab hours to meet your project deadlines. Our Saturday receiving hours, which we like to call “summer hours,” will begin on May 7 and extend through October 29. Please refer to the back cover of this issue for more information on this timely service. Have a wonderful summer! Tom Wagner,

MPCA - Continued from page 1 Laboratory Control Samples The laboratory control samples (LCS) are included with each analytical/preparatory batch as required by the method. The LCS is a spike of clean matrix similar to samples, generally at the same concentrations of the matrix spikes and processed in the same manner as the samples. The general acceptance criteria for LCS recovery limits are 70% to 130%, though these are to be determined by the laboratory. It should also be noted that the recovery limits established for the LCS shall be at least within the recovery limits of the matrix spikes. Matrix Spike/Matrix Spike Duplicates The matrix spike and matrix spike replicate data (MS/MSD) is used to determine if there is a matrix effect associated with the sample that was spiked. If the spike recoveries are outside of the limits, the analyst can determine whether the matrix effect is caused by the sample or a laboratory performance problem. There needs to be an explanation in the final report to discuss the failures and what the impact would be on the sample data. Secondary Data Review This step is critical in the laboratory quality control review process of the data before the final reports are released to the client. The data must be peer reviewed in the laboratory by a qualified person with explicit knowledge of the method, the acceptance limits and documentation requirements. The peer review person is not the analyst who originally produced the data. Performance Test Samples Laboratories must routinely perform proficiency test samples supplied by an approved vendor. These results are used to determine if a laboratory is in compliance with a specific method. These results and corrective actions, if needed, will be provided directly to the MPCA.


Reporting Requirements Here is a brief outline of the reporting requirements: • Client/project name, laboratory name and certification number • Subcontracted data information • Methods used that are not certified or certifiable • Sample identification, date sampled, sampling methods • Reporting Limits, Method Detection Limit and J-flagged data (if requested) • Quality control data such as method blanks, LCS/LCSD, MS/MSD • Data qualifiers and sample results • Signature of person releasing the data • The reason for issuing a revised report (if needed) • Copy of the Chain of Custody • Statement that report cannot be reproduced, except in full, without the consent of the laboratory • Deviations from SOP or method modifications and explanations for the deviation Method Detection Limits Method detection limit (MDL) studies need to be performed on a routine basis and when there is a change to the test method or equipment. When multiple instruments are used to perform one test method, each instrument will need to have an MDL study performed. This means that if there are two instruments that perform the same analysis, the MDL could be different for each instrument (although a higher value is allowable to represent both instruments). The procedure for determining the MDLs are found in 40 CFR 136, Appendix B. This overview of the guidance document does not include all of the sections nor does it give the detail that is found within the document. The MPCA guidance is expected to be finalized around July 1st. Our laboratory is currently working on a few of these items to be in full compliance. If you would like to know more about this document or where to find it on the MPCA website, please contact us.

Braun Intertec Announces New Business Acquisition: Braun Intertec Geothermal, LLC By Steve Albrecht, Project Scientist Braun Intertec announces its latest service offering — geothermal consulting through the acquisition of VCMS GeoSolutions. “Braun Intertec’s engineering and environmental experience in evaluating geologic conditions integrates well with Braun Intertec Geothermal, LLC’s ground heat exchanger consulting and testing services, and gives us an opportunity to significantly grow our service offerings,” states Jon A. Carlson, CEO of Braun Intertec. Braun Intertec Geothermal, LLC provides advanced ground heat exchanger design, testing and construction observation services to a client base of engineers, architects and contractors involved in the design and construction of new buildings, and the retrofitting of existing structures. The services include site preplanning feasibility studies, site environmental and thermal characterization, systems design and engineering, construction testing and observation, environmental consulting and laboratory analysis. This new service offering also brings opportunity for our analytical laboratory. Braun Intertec’s analytical laboratory can provide the testing of the custom-made fluids utilized in the heat exchangers.

Patented Hydrocomissioning™ technology, developed by Braun Intertec Geothermal, provides high-velocity filtration and precise hydrostatic testing of complex geothermal piping systems. In a closed loop system, it is essential that a variety of chemical constituents are monitored and maintained to prevent corrosion or deposits, prevent freezing, and optimize the efficiency of the heat transfer process. The needed testing can range from pH and hardness to trace metals, bacteria, silicates, inorganic nutrients and glycol. Keeping the heat exchange fluid at the right chemical balance can be as tough as keeping a backyard pool looking good — but with dramatic consequences if it fails. For more information about ground source heat pump systems and/or our analytical services please contact me at 952.995.2622.

Braun Intertec Analyst Profile:

Meet Steve Albrecht

While many scientists in the Braun Intertec Analytical Laboratory perform tests on the various pieces of equipment on a regular basis, no one may know more about each instrument’s function than project manager Steve Albrecht. As a lab consultant at Braun Intertec for more than 20 years, Steve has had the opportunity to use most of the lab instrumentation to perform a multitude of tests. “A lot has changed throughout the years,” Steve said. “When I first entered the industry, there were only a handful of environmental companies in the area. Now there are more than 100 in the Twin Cities, so I have seen a lot of industry growth.” Steve said that while the industry has evolved, his commitment to serving his clients continues to be strong. “The most interesting aspect of my job – and my favorite – is helping clients with their projects. I enjoy talking with them to determine their needs and evaluating how we can most effectively address their concerns.”

As a member of the Minnesota Chromatography Forum and the Minnesota Mass Spectrometry Group, Steve is a strong advocate for the analytical laboratory industry. He has been involved in numerous conferences and industry-sponsored programs. When he isn’t working, Steve and his wife enjoy exploring the outdoors and camping, downhill and cross country skiing, and sailing in the Virgin Islands. However, he says his crowning achievement was raising three boys who attended the University of Wisconsin and became mechanical engineers, as well as diehard Badger fans. While he’s proud of his sons’ efforts, it’s a little hard for dad to take, as Steve is a tried and true University of Minnesota alumni.


Questions, Requests and Comments Thomas Wagner, 952.995.2650 Steven Albrecht, 952.995.2622 Braun Intertec Corporation 11001 Hampshire Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55438 This newsletter contains only general information. For specific applications, please consult your engineering or environmental consultants and legal counsel.

Š2011 Braun Intertec Corporation

Analytical Laboratory Summer Hours The Braun Intertec Analytical Laboratory is open to receive samples on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon, extending until Oct. 29, with the exception of Memorial, Independence and Labor Day weekends. Monday through Friday, our normal receiving hours are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you have any questions, you may contact our lab at 952.995.2600. If you have a special project requiring sample receipt during off hours, please contact your project manager and we’ll work to accommodate your needs. Braun Intertec Analytical Laboratory 11001 Hampshire Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55438 952.995.2600 Providing engineering and environmental solutions since 1957


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