In support of marine monitoring measurement programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in cooperation with the NOAA National Status and Trends Program (NS&T) and the EPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP), has conducted yearly interlaboratory comparison exercises to provide one mechanism for participating laboratories (and monitoring programs) to evaluate their quality and comparability of performance in measuring selected organic contaminates in environmental samples.
Our staff has a long history of intercalibration with various national monitoring programs including USFWS, NOAA, NIST, and EPA’s EMAP. Details on our intercalibration results on the NIST/NOAA/EPA yearly intercalibration exercise are provided below for the last four exercises (there was no 2001 program due to funding issues).
NIST efforts focus on providing mechanisms for assessing the interlaboratory and temporal comparability of data, and on improving measurements for the monitoring of organic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs), and chlorinated pesticides in bivalve, sediment and fish samples. This program includes the development of improved analytical methods, production of needed NIST Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) and other control materials, conduct of semi-annual interlaboratory comparison exercises, and the coordination of workshops to discuss the results of these exercises and to provide a forum for cooperative problem-solving efforts by participants. Current participants represent multi-laboratory monitoring programs as well as a number of individual programs, and include federal, state/municipal, university/college, private sector and international laboratories. In this performance-based program, each participating laboratory uses the methods currently being used by that laboratory for analysis of similar materials for its program customers.
Plots of the performance rankings for the 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002 exercises are found under the Analytical Services portion of this web site. In these plots, the Lab Performance Rank numbers along the X-axis represent the relative order of performance, not the Laboratory number assigned by NIST. As these plots show, our lab has consistently performed well in the NIST intercalibration exercises.
Our Data Management Plan
Environmental, Geochemical, and Geotechnical programs that involve measurements, sample collection, archiving, and chemical analyses require effective data management techniques to ensure that samples lists, analysis data, and related information will be accurately transferred to a data system for future reporting and analysis. Our data management team has worked effectively with large analytical programs in developing and refining the required techniques. The principal responsibilities of the data management team are the maintenance of a centralized data storage and retrieval system, the control and protection of the data system, and the transmission of validated data to the data facility in the format specified by the client.
In order to meet these requirements, we monitor and accurately document the flow of data from sample receipt, analytical history, data entry, validation, and analysis to their final transmission and storage. Automated routines are developed to minimize human error and manual correction, allowing for the most efficient and timely transmittal of data to the client. In carrying out this program, we utilize data management techniques that have been developed previously and worked reliably on past successful projects.