As a certified environmental testing laboratory, specializing in organic and inorganic testing, our team at WETLAB is committed to providing you with high quality data. Our goal, as always, is to meet local, state, and federal regulations for environmental testing while providing accurate and reliable data.
That’s why our team wants to make sure you know how to successfully collect a sample. So how do you get started?
One of the most important things you should understand is that a test result is only as good as the sampling and handling that was performed before analysis.
The first step of successful sampling is to prepare a sampling and analysis plan. The plan should identify and describe sampling locations, sample IDs, sample matrix, constituents to be analyzed at each sample point, what types of collection bottle and preservatives are necessary for analysis at each sample point and any quality control requirements. Once your plan is complete, you may order the appropriate bottle kit from the laboratory. During this time, you should verify bottles, preservatives and sampling procedures with your laboratory. Now in the field, ensure the correct bottles and preservatives are used for collection at each sample point described in your sampling and analysis plan.
The containers will be specific to the sample matrix (water, soil, sludge, or other) and the testing requirements outlined in your plan. Sample containers vary in color, material, and size including glass or plastic, clear or opaque.
When collecting the sample, use caution to avoid contamination. Place the lid with the top side down, so as not to contaminate the side that may be in contact with the sample, protect collection bottles from wind, rain, snow, and other elements that can introduce contamination or change the makeup of the sample. Make sure to not rinse out the bottle, as there could be a preservative in it. Fill the bottle with the amount listed on the instructions to avoid removal of any preservative present in the bottle. Sample preservatives are used to retard chemical and biological reactions, reduce the volatility of compounds and the hydrolysis of compounds and complexes. There are multiple preservation methods that a sample may be subject to including refrigeration or temperature control, pH control, chemical additions, UV reduction and filtration.
Once you’ve collected your sample, the hold time (allowed time from sample collection until analysis) begins. Therefore, it is important to know how long it will take for a sample to be received by the laboratory since tests have varying hold times. A hold time may be measured in minutes, hours, days, or months. If analysis is performed past the hold time, it doesn’t necessarily negate the accuracy of the sample results, but the data will be flagged with a qualifier to represent the failed method criteria. It’s important to understand the preservation and hold time criteria for all required analysis prior to collection in the field.
WETLAB is able to help alleviate some of the logistics involved in the process– we offer courier pick up or drop off at all three of our locations. If you need a sample picked up or delivered, please call us to coordinate. We can also assist with sample shipping. Our team maintains a wide network to ensure the sampling process is as seamless as possible and we are able to accommodate sampling on weekend days by appointment.
If you are preparing to take a sample, take the time to properly plan and schedule an order with us. Feel free to reach out to our lab to get the process started. There are plenty of benefits to partnering with us early in process, in order to:
If you have any questions regarding sample integrity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.