Best Practices for Obtaining Samples of Known Quality

Oral Presentation

Prepared by K. Watson
Stone Environmental, Inc., 535 Stone Cutters Way, Montpelier, VT, 05602, United States


Contact Information: kwatson@stone-env.com; 802-229-2196


ABSTRACT

Why should we care about sample collection and obtaining samples of known quality when collecting samples for environmental and cannabis testing? Because analytical data is only as good as the quality of the sample from which the data is obtained; thus decisions made from that data are highly dependent on the quality of the sample. Therefore, it is essential that we consider the importance of the sampling process during project planning and specify procedural and documentation requirements for sampling activities in sampling plans, project quality assurance plans (QAPP) and standard operating procedures (SOPs). In this presentation we will talk about the how the application of quality system standards such as NEFAP during project planning helps assure samples of known quality are obtained. The characteristics of a “good sample” will be discussed and the differences between a “sample”, a “representative sample”, and a “defensible sample” will be clarified. Best practices to maintain integrity and custody of the sample from point of collection through analysis, including will be covered along with roles and responsibilities for each step of the process. From the sampler to the lead manager, all have a role and responsibility to assure that samples collected represent the test system and are of known quality, so that the resulting data is fit for intended use.