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Superfund Analytical Services / Contract Laboratory Program (CLP)


What Does the CLP Do?

The Contract Laboratory Program’s (CLP) primary service is the provision of analytical data of known and documented quality to CLP customers. The CLP provides data through its routine chemical analytical services, and has implemented supporting services to ensure that data of known and documented quality is provided to CLP users. Because of its supportive infrastructure, the CLP is able to provide all services in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Routine Analytical Services

Since the CLP's inception in 1980, more than 170 CLP laboratories have performed over 3,180,000 analyses on samples from more than 14,000 sites at an approximate expense of over $395,000,000. The CLP's commitment to customer service and its ability to meet the changing needs of its customers is shown through the types of Routine Analytical Services (RAS) that it offers, the number of samples its laboratories can analyze, and the support services that it provides.

Currently, the CLP offers two RAS services: multi-media, multi concentration organic analytical services and multi-media, multi-concentration inorganic analytical services. In addition, the CLP services allow users the option to combine analytical parameters, data turnaround times, and detection limits. All analytical services are performed by EPA-approved contract laboratories who meet stringent requirements and standards in order to be a part of the CLP. Each sample processed by the CLP is properly documented to ensure timely and accurate analysis for all requested parameters. This process creates sample data that can be used in potential enforcement actions.

CLP data is used for a variety of purposes such as defining the nature and extent of contamination at Superfund sites, determining appropriate cleanup actions, determining emergency response and remedial actions, and enforcement/litigation activities. The data may also be used in all stages of hazardous waste site investigations including site inspections, Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) scoring, remedial investigation/feasibility studies, and remedial design.

CLP Support Services

The CLP has implemented a number of supporting services to ensure that data of known and documented quality is provided to its CLP customers. The Sample Management Office (SMO) contract was established to guarantee that CLP analytical services are effectively monitored and utilized. SMO provides information management, operations, and administrative support to the CLP. In addition, SMO acts as the repository for both hardcopy and electronic data.

The CLP processes the data through an automated Data Assessment Tool (DAT). DAT is a complete data assessment package that incorporates Contract Compliance Screening (CCS) and data usability reviews to provide EPA Regions with electronic data usability and compliance reports, spreadsheets, and files within 24 to 48 hours from the receipt of data from laboratories. This automated tool facilitates the transfer of analytical data into Regional databases. In addition to the Regional electronic reports, the CLP laboratories are provided with a data assessment report that documents the instances of non-compliance. Finally, the CLP Quality Assurance and Technical Support (QATS) contractor performs data evaluation and review services. This three-step review process provides the CLP customer with data of known and documented quality.

A variety of Quality Assurance (QA) services are offered to CLP customers in addition to data review and assessment activities. Monitoring and evaluation tools, including on-site audits, Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) tape audits, and Performance Evaluation (PE) samples, assist in ensuring that only qualified laboratories participate in the CLP. Additionally, all CLP laboratories are subject to three types of audits. The laboratories are initially audited as part of the pre-award process and will be visited several times by authorized EPA personnel after contracts are awarded. The CLP QATS contractor routinely performs random audits of CLP laboratory instrument data. Magnetic tape audits provide indications of data quality issues and support for on-site evaluations. CLP laboratories also participate in comparison PE sample studies as a means of measuring contract laboratory and method performance. These services guarantee continuous improvement in the entire CLP process.

The CLP provides Expert Consulting Services to its customers. The EPA Analytical Services Branch (ASB) staff is comprised of experts in the fields of environmental chemistry, contract management, and automated data processing. In addition to its own capability, ASB has access to a vast array of technical resources within the EPA Regions, EPA-approved laboratories, and CLP contracts.

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