3 HistoryA&L Laboratory Inc. was established in 1976 to provide laboratory services to the environmental community. As we enter our 31st year in business we owe our success to our clients and associates who have used our services and relied upon us for all their analytical needs.We have analyzed over 150,000 samples and have performed over 1.5 million tests. A business does not reach these numbers without producing reliable and credible data.
4 Mission StatementIt is our mission to provide the best quality assured data to our clients at a fair price for our service. We will use the best available technological instrumentation and employ only qualified personnel to operate these instruments.We welcome our clients to visit our laboratory at anytime to observe our quality control and quality assurance procedures as well as our testing methodology.
5 Key Personnel Jonathan Dyer, B.S. , M.S. – Laboratory Director Jon holds a BS in Chemistry and an MS in Engineering and has been the owner of A&L Labs since His responsibilities include direction of all ongoing projects, marketing and sales, and final data interpretation.Rebecca Lebrun, B.S. – Quality Assurance Officer/MicrobiologyRebecca holds degrees in Environmental Science and Business. Her responsibilities include statistical analysis, quality control charts, quality assurance audits, overseeing microbiological projects, and microscopy.David Pettingil, B.S. – Heavy Metals Specialist/ChemistryDave has a BS in Chemistry. His specialty is heavy metals analysis and atomic absorption spectrophotometers.
7 What is NELAC?The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) is a voluntary association of State and Federal agencies with full opportunity for input from the private sector. NELAC's purpose is to adopt and promote mutually acceptable performance standards for the operation of environmental laboratories.
8 Proficiency TestingProficiency Testing (PT) is used to evaluate a laboratory's performance under controlled conditions through analysis of unknown samples provided by an external source.PTs are required to be done twice a year.Laboratories must pass two out of the last three tests for each analyte in order to remain accredited.
9 On-Site AssessmentLaboratories are required to be inspected every two years by a NELAC Accrediting Authority.On-Site assessment generally lasts 2 to 4 days depending on the size of the laboratory and the number of areas seeking accreditation.During the inspection the inspectors review personnel, methods, equipment, record-keeping, and quality control (QC).
10 Daily Quality Control Calibration Detection Limits Laboratory Control SamplesDuplicatesMatrix SpikesBlanksAccuracy Charts / GraphsPrecision Charts / Graphs
11 Calibration Calibration Basics Calibration Basics Initial Calibration (ICAL)Must do at multiple concentration levelsAverage response factor (%RSD) < limitLowest concentration near or at MDLSome methods require second source confirmContinuing Calibration (CCAL)Daily or within time window (12 hours)Must be within acceptable range (%RPD)Should be part of lab report
12 Detection LimitMethod Detection Limit (MDL) – The method detection limit is defined as the minimum concentration of a substance that can be measured and reported with 99% confidence that the analyte concentration is greater than zero and is determined from analysis of a sample in a given matrix containing the analyte.
13 ACCURACY MEASUREMENTS StandardsStandards (S)ACCURACY MEASUREMENTSStandard (S) is a substance the properties of which are known with sufficient accuracy to permit its use to evaluate the same property in a sample. Usually three standards are prepared.The first standard is the same concentration as the RL (reporting limit) of the parameter to be analyzed.The second standard is in the range of the predicted amount.The third standard is usually twice the concentration as the second standard. Any sample exceeding this standard will be diluted.
14 Laboratory Control Sample Laboratory Control Sample (LCS)ACCURACY MEASUREMENTSThe LCS consist of aliquots of analyte-free matrices (water) spiked with analytes of interest.Laboratory pure water is used to prepare the LCS for methods for water analysis. LCSs provide evidence that the laboratory is performing the method within accepted guidelines generally in the absence of matrix interferences.They are prepared at a rate of one per batch of twenty or fewer samples
15 PRECISION MEASUREMENTS DuplicatesSample DuplicatePRECISION MEASUREMENTSA Sample Duplicate (SD) is a sample that has been homogenized and split into two equal portions before the method sample preparation process.It measures sample precision associated with the preparation through analysis and is prepared and analyzed at a specified rate listed in each Standard Operating Procedure.
16 Duplicates (cont.)The comparison of the values determined for a sample and its duplicate is expressed as Relative Percent Difference (RPD). The calculation is as follows:RPD = S-D X[(S+D/2)]where: S is the determined result of the original sampleD is the determined result of the duplicate sample
17 Method BlankA method blank is a volume of analyte-free matrix (e.g. deionized and/or distilled water) for water analyses.The volume of the blank must be equal to the sample volume processed.A method blank is performed with each batch of samples.Analysis of the blank verifies that method interferences caused by contaminants, reagents, glassware, and other sample processing hardware are known and minimized.
18 ACCURACY MEASUREMENTS Matrix SpikeMatrix Spikes (MS)ACCURACY MEASUREMENTSMatrix Spikes (MS) are similar to Laboratory Control Samples except the analytes used for spiking are added to a second separate aliquot from the client samples in a batch analyses.Matrix spikes are used, for example, to determine the effect of the matrix on a method's recovery efficiency.
19 Precision Vs. AccuracyAccuracy describes the nearness of a measurement to the standard or true value.Precision is the degree to which several measurements provide answers very close to each other. It is an indication of the scatter in the data. The lesser the scatter, higher the precision.In science we can never make a perfect measurement. The best we can do is to come as close as possible within the limitations of the measuring instruments.
20 Precision Vs. AccuracySuppose you are aiming at a target, trying to hit the bull’s eye with each of three arrows.Precise and Accurate - The top left target is both precise and accurate. The arrows are tightly clustered and their average position is the center of the bull’s eye.Accurate, not Precise - The top right target is an accurate pattern, but not precise. The arrows are not clustered but their “average” position is the center of the bull’s eye.Precise, not Accurate – The bottom left target is a precise pattern, but not accurate. The arrows are clustered together but did not hit the intended mark.Neither Precise nor Accurate – The bottom right target shows a random like pattern, neither precise nor accurate. The arrows are not clustered together and not near the bull’s eye.
22 Control ChartsControl Charts are quality control tools which graphically display the QC parameters over time.Accuracy – Accuracy charts are maintained for LCS recovery.The percent recovery is plotted into a graph where:the x-axis is the sample ID; andthe y-axis is the range of percent recoveries
23 Control Charts (cont.)Precision – Where precision charts are maintained, the relative percent difference is plotted on the graph where:the median, zero, represents 0% differencethe x-axis is the number of data points per chart; andthe y-axis is the range of relative percent differences
24 Control Charts (cont.)Limits – Both upper and lower warning limits and upper and lower control limits are established to interpret performance.Warning Limits express a narrow confidence interval and are used to warn the analyst of possible system inconsistencies or failures, before an out-of-control event occurs.Control Limits express the outer limits of accepted method variability.
25 Microbiological Quality Control Uninoculated controls, laboratory water, and sterilized equipment and supplies will be tested as provided for in the SOP protocols.Confirmation/verification tests. The laboratory will perform confirmation ands verification tests as specified by the approved methods.Media. All test media will be checked with positive and negative control organisms to ensure the target organisms respond in an acceptable and predictable manner. These controls will be run with each new lot of media using microorganisms obtained from an accredited NELAC Proficiency Test Provider.
26 Data Integrity Training As an environmental laboratory we are ethically and morally obligated to the public to provide data that are precise, accurate, and of known and documented quality.Data Integrity Training is provided by the QA Officer to all new employees during their orientation and annually for all current employees. Employee knowledge of this area is extremely important as infractions of laboratory data integrity procedures could lead to termination and/or civil/criminal prosecution.Topics covered are organizational mission, ethics in analytical reporting, data monitoring, reporting data integrity issues, and appropriate/inappropriate record keeping practices.
27 INORGANIC ANALYSESOur heavy metals analytical capabilities are performed by Perkin-Elmer Zeeman Graphite Furnace and Flame atomic absorption units. We run the full spectrum of just about every heavy metal from arsenic to zinc.The wet chemistry department analyzes water in the visible and ultra-violet range. The chemists also perform titrations, colorimetric studies and potentiometric analysis. Elements such as nitrogen compounds, fluorides, chlorides, phosphates and many other chemical compounds are examined in this section.
28 ARSENICIt’s hard to believe that water that looks, smells, and tastes fine may not be safe to drink. But the truth is that one out of every ten private wells in Maine has water that is high in arsenic. View Map of Arsenic in MaineArsenic is a naturally occurring chemical found in soil and rocks. As water flows through these rocks it can pickup the arsenic and carry it to your well.The Bureau of Health recommends that all household wells be tested for arsenic. The EPA maximum exposure guideline for arsenicin well water is 10 parts per billion. At this levelconsuming 1 liter of water per day for 5 yearswill increase your risk of bladder cancerby 1 in 1,000.
29 LEADLead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead can be found in air, soil, dust, food, and water.Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials.Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.
30 COPPERCopper is found only in trace amounts in Maine’s ground waters, excess levels are usually caused by the corrosion of copper pipes from soft, acidic waters.Copper is an essential element for plants, animals, and humans. When present in drinking water in levels over 1.3 milligrams per liter, it may cause a bitter taste, or green-blue stains on sinks.Copper is a gastrointestinal irritant and can be toxic at high levels. However, the levels in drinking water are rarely high enough to cause a serious risk. A 1.3 milligram per liter secondary drinking water standard is set to indicate a taste problem, not a health hazard.
31 MANGANESEManganese is a mineral that naturally occurs in rocks and soil and is a normal constituent of the human diet.It exists in well water in Maine as a groundwater mineral, but may also be present due to underground pollution sources.Manganese may become noticeable in tap water at concentrations greater than 0.05 milligrams per liter of water.You may suspect that manganese is in your water if the water is discolored (brownish-red), causes staining of plumbing fixtures (faucets, sinks) or clothing, or has an off-taste or odor.Exposure to high concentrations of manganese over the course of years has been associated with toxicity to the nervous system, producing a syndrome that resembles Parkinsonism.
32 IRONIron is not hazardous to health, but it is considered a secondary or aesthetic contaminant. Essential for good health, iron helps transport oxygen in the blood.Concentrations of iron as low as 0.3 mg/l will leave reddish brown stains on fixtures, tableware and laundry that are very hard to remove.Iron is mainly present in water in two forms: either the soluble ferrous iron or the insoluble ferric iron. Water containing ferrous iron is clear and colorless because the iron is completely dissolved. When exposed to air in the pressure tank or atmosphere, the water turns cloudy and a reddish brown substance begins to form. This sediment is the oxidized or ferric form of iron that will not dissolve in water.
33 SODIUMSodium contamination is most often caused by road salt runoff, road salt storage or salt water intrusion.Water softeners also increase the amount of sodium in water. A water softener replaces calcium and magnesium with sodium. If you use a softener, it may be the cause of high sodium.Excess sodium from salt in the diet increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease For most healthy people, a sodium level of 100 milligrams per liter of water will not substantially increase risk Individuals on a low sodium diet due to high blood pressure or other health problems, are restricted to water within the 20 milligrams per liter standard They should consult their physician about drinking water which exceeds that level.
34 pH & ALKALINITYThe pH of pure water is 7. In general, water with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic, and with a pH greater than 7, basic. The normal range for pH in water system is 6.5 to 8.5.Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of the water to resist a change in pH that would tend to make the water more acidic. The measurement of alkalinity and pH is needed to determine the corrosiveness of the water.In general, water with a low pH (< 6.5) could be acidic, soft, and corrosive. This can cause premature damage to metal piping, and have associated aesthetic problems such as a metallic or sour taste, staining of laundry, and the characteristic "blue-green" staining of sinks and drains.Water with a pH > 8.5 could indicate that the water is hard. Hard water does not pose a health risk, but can cause aesthetic problems. These problems include an alkali taste to the water (making that morning coffee taste bitter!), formation of a deposit on dishes, utensils, and laundry basins, difficulty in getting soaps and detergents to lather, and formation of insoluble precipitates on clothingpH Scale
35 NITRATE & NITRITENitrate and nitrite are naturally occurring substances found in soil, plants, water and other sources.The primary drinking water standard is 10 milligrams per liter for nitrate - (N) and 1.0 milligram per liter for nitrite - (N).Nitrate or nitrite concentrations cause methemoglobinemia in infants, a disease which affects blood so that it no longer carries oxygen through the body. Also known as "blue-baby syndrome", this disease can be fatal. Infants should not drink water which is over the standard, and it should not be used for mixing infant formulas.DO not boil the water to make it safe for temporary use - - this will only increase the nitrate concentrations. Use bottled water for infants.
36 CHLORIDEConsuming drinking water containing chloride is not harmful to health.High amounts of chloride can give a salty taste to water and can corrode pipes, pumps and plumbing fixtures. Therefore, the secondary drinking water standard of 250 milligrams per liter is set to indicate water quality problems and not health effects.If high chloride amounts are detected, the water source should also be checked for sodium. Amounts of high sodium often occur in water with high chloride amounts.High amounts of chloride are associated with contamination from salt water intrusion, septic tanks, road salting and road salt storage piles.
37 HARDNESSHardness is caused by minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium, which are picked up by water passing through underground mineral deposits.Hard water is not considered contaminated, but it does retard the cleaning action of soap and forms a scale on cooking utensils, hot water pipes and heaters. This build-up may eventually reduce pipe capacity and water pressure.Hardness is measured in milligrams pre liter or Grains per Gallon. Water with under 75 milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate is soft; water with over 200 milligrams per liter is hard.There is no standard for hardness. Hard water is not harmful to health. Calcium and magnesium are essential body elements. In fact, studies suggest that hard water is better for cardiovascular health than soft water, though the reasons for this are not yet known.
38 MICROBIOLOGYWe are a NELAP (National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program) approved microbiology laboratory. Tests are performed on water, air, compost, dirt, and just about anything that will grow bacteria.Services include shelf-life studies, cooling tower water analyses, monitoring well iron bacteria studies, sulfur-reducing bacteria analysis for liquid gas pipelines, and bacteria identification in bottled and recreational water.Other capabilities include fungal ID, algae ID, and foreign matter ID.
39 TOTAL COLIFORM GROUPThe group “Coliform bacteria” is a diverse group of bacteria, which are present in human and animal feces. They are also often present in decaying organic matter, topsoil and in surface waters.While these bacteria are generally not harmful themselves, their presence in a water supply is used as an indicator of contamination. When coliforms are present as a result of septic contamination, their numbers are usually high and E. coli is usually present as well.Waters that are positive for coliform bacteria andespecially for E. coli should not be consumed until theproblem is resolved. This should start with disinfectionof the well followed by a retest to confirm that thedisinfection was effective.
40 RADIOLOGICAL ANALYSES Our radiological department consists of three Packard Liquid Scintillation analyzers and two RAD 7 portable units for air radon and water radon studies.
41 RADONRadon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breath.Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. You can't see, smell or taste radon. But it may be a problem in your home.Maine has radon concentrations that are generally higher than much of the country. Approximately one out of every three Maine homes has air radon concentrations above the state limit.If you have radon over two (2) picocuries per liter of air or 4,000 pCi/L of water you should reduce it.Please remember …if your home is for sale, youcannot legally test for radon yourself. You must hirea state registered radon tester.
42 STATE OF MAINE RADON MAP Zone 1Highest Potential (greater than 4 pCi/L)Zone 2Moderate Potential (from 2 to 4 pCi/L)Zone 3Low Potential (less than 2 pCi/L)
43 WATER TREATMENT RADON REMOVAL Air & Water Quality, Inc. was founded in 1989 by Michael Gelberg and Jeffrey Twitchell. Their goal was to start an air and water quality testing and mitigation company that would provide the highest levels of quality in both installation and service of environmental treatment systems.Air & Water Quality, Inc. was founded in 1989 by Michael Gelberg and Jeffrey Twitchell. Their goal was to start an air and water quality testing and mitigation company that would provide the highest levels of quality in both installation and service of environmental treatment systems.WATER TREATMENT RADON REMOVALAir & Water Quality, Inc.P.O. Box US Route 1Freeport, Maine 04032(800)Visit Air & Water Quality's Website!Aqua-Max of Maine914 Sabattus Street Lewiston, Maine 04240(866)Visit Aqua-Max of Maine’s WebsiteMaine Professional Inspections18 Ledge Hill Drive Chelsea, Maine 04330Visit Maine Professional Inspections’ Website!Northeast Radon, Inc.9 Northwood RoadYarmouth, Maine 04096Radon Removal Systems153 Forest Street West brook, MEVisit Radon Removal Systems’ Website!Water Treatment Equipment, Inc.915 U.S. Route OneYarmouth, Maine (800)Visit Water Treatment Equipment’s Website!
46 USEFUL LINKS Maine Drinking Water Program NELAC Department of Health & Human ServicesRadon & Home SalesUS Environmental Protection Agency
47 A & L Laboratory Inc 3100 Hotel Road Auburn, Maine 04211 COME VISIT US!A & L Laboratory Inc 3100 Hotel Road Auburn, Maine 04211At exit 75, turn RIGHT onto Ramp towards US-202 / Me-4 / Me-100 / Auburn ( 0.4 miles)Bear RIGHT (South-West) onto US-202 [SR-100] (0.3 miles)Turn RIGHT (West) onto Kittyhawk Ave (0.8 miles)Turn LEFT (South)at 4-way stop sign onto Hotel Rd (0.8 miles)Arrive 3100 Hotel Rd, Auburn, ME