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Region 1: EPA New England

Fequently Asked Questions About the Index to EPA Test Methods

Q. What are test methods?
A. Test methods are approved procedures for measuring the presence and concentration of physical and chemical pollutants; evaluating properties, such as toxic properties, of chemical substances; or measuring the effects of substances under various conditions.

Q. Why an index?
A. This Index was developed by Peg Nelson, contractor to US EPA Region 1, to improve access to US EPA test methods. It is not an official EPA publication nor does inclusion or exclusion of methods indicate EPA approval or disapproval of any method. The most recent version can be downloaded from the EPA New England Region 1 Web site at www.epa.gov/region1/info/testmethods/index.html

Q. What information is included?
A. This Adobe Acrobat version contains the following pieces of information:

  • Method Number the official method number or a compiler assigned number if un-numbered
    Examples: 0330.1 or 3810 or TO-15 or 8080A* ( * indicates not available) or SAMPLIN
  • Chemical or Method Description chemical, analyte, group of chemicals or name of protocol. if you don't find the one you want, try a broader term such as metals for mercury or pesticides for DDT
    Examples: Absorption or Maneb or Larval Survival or mercury
  • Where to find a copy (see separate source list at end) in one of four categories:
    • EPA Report # EPA report number
      Examples: 600/4-82-029 or SW-846 Ch 3.3
    • 40 CFR Part Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations part numbers
      Examples: 60 App A or 136 App A or 795.250
    • Region 1 # EPA Region 1 Library local call number
      Examples: 01A0006125a or 01A0006706
    • Electronic Version abbreviated reference to an electronic version if available
      Examples: www or ttn/emc or NEMI; the full web address is given in the Source List;
      CD = indicates included in the Water Methods CD ROM (EPA 821/C-99-004)
  • Date Issued date method was published
    Examples: 09/25/1996 or / / / (date unknown)

Q. Where are the methods?
A. This compilation is only an index, not a collection of actual methods. However, with this 2003 edition, over 75% of the sources have live links to the actual method from the Adobe Acrobat version while connected to the Internet. The Sources for EPA Test Methods list, following the two indexes, indicates how to obtain print copies and/or offers links to the methods listed.

Q Why are there multiple entries for some method numbers?
A. This was done intentionally to accommodate multiple substances determined by a single method. Some numbers appear to have been used for more than one media and method, and no attempt was made to reconcile these apparent discrepancies. A look at the source list should let you know for what general purpose the method was intended (wastewater, soil, air, or multi-media).

Q. What if I can't find a method I need?
A. In some cases individual substances are listed; in others a family of substances is listed under one name. For example, look for related or broader terms such as metals rather than mercury or pesticides as well as a specific one such as dursban. EPA does not have a test method for all chemicals, only those which it in some way regulates. You are welcome to contact Region 1 to inquire about methods not found in the index and for suggestions on where else to look. In many cases, we will be able to email the method to you or direct you to a website or someone who can help you further. 

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