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Superfund Analytical Services / Contract Laboratory Program (CLP)


CLP Overview and Benefits

This page contains an overview of the Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) as well as links to information about what the CLP does, how the CLP works, and who is involved. This page also contains information about the benefits of the CLP.

CLP Overview

The CLP is a national network of EPA personnel, commercial laboratories, and support contractors whose fundamental mission is to provide data of known and documented quality. The CLP supports EPA’s Superfund program, created under the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and currently under the 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Please use the following links to learn more about the CLP's function, processes and personnel.

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Benefits of the CLP

Since 1980, the CLP has been the cornerstone of Superfund analytical services. The CLP is a proven, reliable resources for providing high volume, cost-effective analytical services that produce data of known and documented quality for EPA Superfund data users. The CLP's scalable services have provided comprehensive analytical, quality assurance, and data management support for small, one-time sampling events, as well as for long-term events involving the analyses of thousands of environmental samples.

The need for cost-effective analytical services has never been greater. The following is a list of some of the benefits the CLP provides to data users.

  • EPA Headquarters assumes the CLP costs for Regional clients on Superfund-lead projects.

  • The CLP's data deliverables allow for any level of data validation and assessment - from a review of sample results to a full evaluation of raw analytical data.

  • The CLP's EPA personnel constantly monitor laboratory performance to ensure that the best performing laboratories receive the most samples.

  • The CLP's analytical services supplement field testing by providing data users with confirmed results that lend additional confidence to data usability.

  • The CLP's cost effectiveness provides an economy of scale for laboratory analyses, eliminates duplication of effort for procurement, sample tracking, and invoice processing, and offers compilation of analytical results.

  • The CLP's automated scheduling procedures provide quick and easy access to CLP laboratories that are available to accept samples 365 days a year.

  • The CLP's central financing control systems collect and disseminate financial information to EPA management and the Regions for budgetary and cost recovery activities.

  • The CLP's commitment to customer service provides data users with the technical expertise to address data quality and usability concerns.

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Modified Analysis Requests

The CLP offers customers the flexibility to request modifications to existing analytical services. Example modifications include:

  • A variety of data turnaround options;
  • A variety of quantitation limits;
  • Modified analytical methods to meet changing requirements and technological advances;
  • Additional target analytes and compounds;
  • Non-routine sample matrices;
  • Non-routine sample preparation techniques; and
  • Non-routine analytical procedures.

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Quality Assurance

All analytical services are performed by EPA contracted laboratories that meet stringent CLP requirements and standards.

  • CLP data is compliant with USEPA Order 5360.1 A2, which requires data to withstand independent review and confirmation.
  • The CLP provides a comprehensive QA program through use of Performance Evaluation (PE) samples, on-site audits, preparation of quarterly performance reports, use of fraud detection mechanisms, performance-based scheduling, and continuous inspection of laboratory data for contractual compliance.
  • Each sample processed through the CLP is properly documented to ensure timely and accurate analysis for requested parameters. This process also ensures that CLP data can be reliably used in potential enforcement actions and cost recovery.
  • To simplify the laboratory's Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) development process, the CLP pre-defines elements such as: analytical methods, preventive laboratory equipment maintenance and calibration; sample shipment chain-of-custody procedures and forms; analytical precision and accuracy; laboratory QC requirements; data management; and documentation for laboratory analysis.

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Benefits for the EPA's Brownfields Program

EPA's Brownfields Program is an effort to identify contamination and conduct cleanup activities at various Brownfields sites across the US. The objective is to make these sites safe for use in a short period of time. Since 1996, the CLP has responded by coordinating 637 separate Brownfields cases with more than 98,949 analyses from over 484 Brownfields sites. During Fiscal Year 2008, CLP laboratories completed 18 separate projects involving analysis of more than 1,798 analyses for 16 Brownfields sites. The CLP provides Brownfields customers with certain advantages such as:

  • USEPA Order 5360.1 A2-compliant data;
  • Multiple data turnaround options;
  • Comprehensive Quality Control (QC) procedures; and
  • Low market prices with high quality data that may not be available through other analytical programs.

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