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Chemistry

Mission -Promote the implementation of good chemistry practices, quality systems, and project planning to enhance the acquisition of quality data for sound decision making for Air Force projects.

Overview - The Chemistry specialty area provides Air Force installations, Restoration Program Management Office, and contractors with the tools, training, resources, and techniques necessary to ensure data collected for/from environmental projects meets project needs and requirements. This specialty area provides resources to develop investigation strategies, evaluate contractor performance, advise data collection, conduct data review, and support project implementation. The chemistry specialty area provides the latest chemistry-related knowledge, practices, and skills to enhance data quality and decision defensibility.

Contact - The Chemistry specialty area can be contacted by email at afcec.czte.chemistry@us.af.mil.

Data Quality

Data Quality
Analytical chemistry data provide the basis for multiple actions in the Restoration Program, including implementation of remedial action, optimizing clean-up progress, and closing-out a site.

The soundness of these decisions directly relates to the quality of the data coming from the laboratory. A number of steps can be taken to ensure that a project is collecting defensible and reproducible data.

Proper planning is the first step in ensuring that data being collected for a project is sufficient for the decisions that will be made.

The Uniform Federal Policy for Quality Assurance Project Plans, or UFP-QAPP, provides guidance and worksheets that prompt project managers for relevant information including management and quality assurance steps, sampling design, quality control measures, and data validation.

UFP-QAPP

UFP-QAPP
On July 9, 2009 the former Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment Restoration Program Management Office issued a memorandum on the implementation of the UFP-QAPP for Air Force restoration projects. The UFP-QAPP manual is a consensus document signed in March 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency, Defense Department and the Department of Energy.

The UFP-QAPP provides project-level guidance for documenting the systematic planning process for environmental data collection, based on the American National Standard ANSI/ASQ E4-2004. It was developed by the Intergovernmental Data Quality Task Force, or IDQTF, to provide a common organizational framework and approach to QAPPs. The UFP-QAPP places a greater emphasis on upfront planning and regulator buy-in, and is designed to reduce review time and the need for rework. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center has transitioned from the AFCEE legacy guidance documents (e.g., Model Work Plan, FSP, QAPP) to the UFP-QAPP.

To assist Air Force project managers with understanding the requirements and ensuring that the contractor integrates these data quality parameters in the systematic planning process, AFCEC's Environmental Directorate's Technical Support Division Restoration Support Branch developed a UFP-QAPP checklist.

The checklist incorporates EPA QA/R-5 and UFP-QAPP Manual requirements, and common errors/best practices seen in previous DoD UFP-QAPPs. A UFP-QAPP factsheet provides additional guidance on the UFP-QAPP implementation for new and ongoing Air Force restoration projects. A preliminary set of frequently asked questions is available to address known and anticipated general, contracting, and analytical laboratory concerns.

Lab Performance Evaluation

Laboratory Performance Evaluation
In addition to accreditation, a laboratory's competence can be evaluated through a laboratory performance evaluation, or PE, program.

Administration of a PE program is a requirement in current AFCEC restoration task orders, and the fence-to-fence performance-based remediation task orders administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A qualifying program will generally include samples of known concentration sent blindly to the laboratory and split samples sent to a reference laboratory. The chemistry specialty area will work with contractors to establish an appropriate schedule of events that will evaluate a laboratory for multiple matrices and analytes.

More information is available on the PE factsheet.

DoD ELAP

DoD ELAP
Laboratories seeking to support the Department of Defense, or DoD, environmental restoration program need to be accredited in accordance with DoD Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, or ELAP. This applies to all laboratories, including permanent, temporary, or mobile facilities that generate definitive data, regardless of their size, volume of business, or field of accreditation.

A DoD ELAP factsheet is available on the Navy Environmental Sampling and Testing Programs webpage. The DoD ELAP was established to assure laboratories performing analyses for the environmental restoration program meet a minimum quality standard.

Although ELAP accreditation provides a measure of a laboratory's quality system and ability to produce defensible data, it does not eliminate the need for a project-specific audit of the laboratory's ability to meet project-specific requirements (as would be outlined in the QAPP).

Air Force Civil Engineer Center contracts require that a prime contractor perform a project-specific audit on the laboratory subcontractor before the laboratory analyzes any samples. The extent of the project-specific audit should reflect the complexity of the project.

The Environmental Data Quality Workgroup developed guidance outlining procedures for ensuring DoD ELAP-accredited laboratories meet project-specific requirements.

DoD ELAPLaboratory accreditation is another step towards ensuring that a project is collecting defensible and reproducible data. Laboratories seeking to support the Department of Defense, or DoD, environmental restoration program must be accredited in accordance with DoD Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, or ELAP. This applies to all laboratories, including permanent, temporary, or mobile facilities that generate definitive data, regardless of their size, volume of business, or field of accreditation.

A DoD ELAP factsheet is available on the Navy Environmental Sampling and Testing Programs webpage. The DoD ELAP was established to assure laboratories performing analyses for the environmental restoration program meet a minimum quality standard.

For assistance in locating a DoD ELAP accredited laboratory, the Environmental Data Quality Workgroup posted a searchable list of accredited laboratories on their DENIX webpage.

Four accreditation bodies have issued DoD ELAP accreditations:
-- The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)
-- ACLASS
-- Laboratory Accreditation Bureau 
-- Perry Johnson Inc.

In cases where DoD ELAP-accredited-laboratory testing services are not readily available (e.g., highly specialized testing, rare or unusual analytes) project managers should consult the AF EDQW Component Principal at afcec.czte.chemistry@us.af.mil.

The EDQW will then solicit all ELAP-accredited laboratories to add to their accreditation. If this is not successful, a government audit may be conducted on a project-specific basis.

Although ELAP accreditation provides a measure of a laboratory's quality system and ability to produce defensible data, it does not eliminate the need for a project-specific audit of the laboratory's ability to meet project-specific requirements (as would be outlined in the project's work plan). In addition to the DoD ELAP requirement, AFCEC restoration contracts require that a prime contractor perform a project-specific audit on the laboratory subcontractor before the laboratory analyzes any samples.

The prime contractor will want to examine aspects of the laboratory like reporting and detection limits, recoveries on laboratory control samples, sample -handling capacities, and reporting format. An on-site audit may not be necessary. The extent of the project-specific audit should reflect the complexity of the project.

The Environmental Data Quality Workgroup developed guidance outlining procedures for ensuring DoD ELAP-accredited laboratories meet project-specific requirements. This resource is available upon request.
 

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