Sampling Instructions

  1. A chain of custody (COC) must accompany all samples. This is required by USEPA and is a legal document required if litigation or auditing of the samples ever occurs.
  2. Samples requiring analyses with short or no hold times must be analyzed in the field or delivered to the laboratory immediately. Samples delivered to the laboratory after the expiration of the hold time are only analyzed at the client’s request with the understanding that the sample results will be noted with a hold time statement. Some methods such as temperature and carbon dioxide must be performed at the sample location. If the samples cannot be obtained by AWAL in a reasonable time, please notify AWAL to determine if hold times are an issue. To better serve your interest, please do not hold onto samples any longer than absolutely necessary. Often, samples must be analyzed several times to meet method requirements. Therefore, giving AWAL the maximum time before hold time expiration is good practice.
  3. If your sample is multiphasic (more than one layer, e.g., oil/water), please identify on the COC which layer(s) you want AWAL to analyze. Each layer will be treated like an independent sample and charged accordingly if analysis is required.
  4. If you require quality control on a particular sample (matrix spike, matrix spike duplicate, or sample duplicate) please indicate this on the COC.
  5. Do not rinse any sample bottles containing preservatives before collecting the final sample.
  6. No headspace (air bubbles) should be present in liquid samples for volatile or TOX analyses.
  7. Samples for non-volatile analysis, other than those collected in BOD type bottles, should have a small air space to allow for sample expansion and shaking of the bottle to ensure homogeneity.
  8. If your sample is expected to be very caustic or acidic, notify AWAL so that additional preservatives are included if necessary.
  9. If your sample contains any severe hazards (e.g., high concentrations of cyanide, acids, etc.) please indicate the information on the COC and notify AWAL when delivering the samples or notify AWAL’s courier if AWAL is picking up the samples.
  10. Please note that for many methods (8260C, 8270D, 6020B, etc.) you must communicate what analytes you are requesting in addition to the method. Please call AWAL’s customer service if you are unsure what analytes you require. They will be happy to assist you.
  11. If you cannot obtain the sample volume or mass listed in the sample container document, please call AWAL’s customer service (801-263-8686) to determine what course of action to take. Often, a smaller sample size can be accommodated with little or no impact on the sample results.
  12. It is important that samples for organic analysis are not collected in plastic containers unless indicated in the sample container document. Avoid touching the inside of the sample bottle or lid as phthalate or adipate contamination may occur.
  13. Be careful of sample bottles containing preservatives since they often contain strong acid or alkali.
  14. For samples that require cooling to 4ºC, they should be placed in a cooler with ice or in a refrigerator at this temperature until they can be delivered to the laboratory.
  15. For regulatory purposes, the samples should never leave someone’s custody until the laboratory accepts them. If they must be shipped or need to be left in an unsecured area, AWAL strongly recommends the use of custody seals to ensure sample integrity. Call customer service if you need help in this area.
  16. For the analysis of lead and/or copper following drinking water regulations, it is required that the sample be exactly 1 liter in volume and be from a first draw. First draw is defined as the first water from the source after remaining stagnant for at least 8 hours. If the sampling point is a drinking water fountain, the sample size should be 250 ml instead of one liter.
  17. If you are collecting solid/soil samples for volatile analysis by the old SW846 5030C method it is imperative that at least one 4-oz. jar, with no headspace, is collected for the analysis of volatiles only. If other analyses are required you must use additional containers for these analyses. AWAL strongly recommends using method 5035A for collecting soil/solid samples for volatile analysis.
  18. Coolers, bottles, and COCs are available for pickup at the laboratory free of charge if the samples are submitted to AWAL. AWAL will ship these items if pickup is not available. Only shipping costs will apply.