Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 30. Department of General Services
Chapter 45. Certification for Noncommercial Environmental Laboratories

1VAC30-45-850. Sample handling, sample acceptance policy, and sample receipt.

While the laboratory may not have control of field sampling activities, the following are essential to ensure the validity of the laboratory's data.

1. Sample tracking. The laboratory shall have a documented system for uniquely identifying the items to be tested to ensure that there can be no confusion regarding the identity of such items at any time. This system shall include identification for all samples, subsamples and subsequent extracts or digestates or both. The use of container shape, size or other physical characteristic, such as amber glass or purple top, is not an acceptable means of identifying the sample. System laboratories shall use a permanent chronological record such as a logbook or electronic database to document receipt of all containers. This sample receipt log shall record the following at a minimum: name of facility where sample was taken, date and time of laboratory receipt, unique laboratory ID code, and signature or initials of the person making the entries.

2. Sample acceptance policy. The laboratory shall have a written sample acceptance policy that clearly outlines the circumstances under which samples shall be accepted or rejected. The policy shall ensure that only properly obtained samples with appropriate sampling records (see 1VAC30-45-640 B) are analyzed and that the samples are handled properly. This sample acceptance policy shall be made available to sample collection personnel. The policy shall include elements such as appropriate documentation of the sample's identification, use of appropriate sample containers, adherence to specified holding times, adequate sample volume to perform necessary tests, and procedures to be used when samples show signs of damage, contamination or inadequate preservation.

3. Sample receipt protocols.

a. Upon receipt, the condition of the sample, including any abnormalities or departures from standard condition as prescribed in the relevant test method, shall be recorded. All items specified by the sample acceptance policy shall be checked.

b. All samples that require thermal preservation shall be considered acceptable if the arrival temperature is either within 2°C of the required temperature or the method specified range. For samples with a specified temperature of 4°C, samples with a temperature of ranging from just above freezing temperature of water to 6°C shall be acceptable. Samples that are hand delivered to the laboratory immediately after collection or on the same day that are collected may not meet these criteria. In these cases, the samples shall be considered acceptable if there is evidence that the chilling process has begun such as arrival on ice. Thermal preservation is not required in the field if the laboratory receives the sample and either begins the analysis or refrigerates the sample within 15 minutes of collection.

c. The laboratory shall implement procedures for checking chemical preservation using readily available techniques, such as pH or free chlorine prior to or during sample preparation or analysis.

d. The results of all checks required by the sample acceptance policy and relevant test method shall be recorded.

4. Storage conditions.

a. The laboratory shall have documented procedures and appropriate facilities to avoid deterioration, contamination or damage to the sample during storage, handling, preparation, and testing. Any relevant instructions provided with the item shall be followed. Where items have to be stored or conditioned under specific environmental conditions, these conditions shall be maintained, monitored and recorded.

b. Samples shall be stored according to the conditions specified by preservation protocols:

(1) Samples that require thermal preservation shall be stored under refrigeration that is within 2°C of the specified preservation temperature unless method specific criteria exist. For samples with a specified storage temperature of 4°C, storage at a temperature above the freezing point of water to 6°C shall be acceptable.

(2) Samples shall be stored away from all standards, reagents, food and other potentially contaminating sources. Samples shall be stored in such a manner to prevent cross contamination.

c. Sample fractions, extracts, leachates and other sample preparation products shall be stored according to subdivision 4 a of this section or according to specifications in the test method.

d. Where a sample or portion of the sample is to be held secure (e.g., for reasons of record, safety or value, or to enable check calibrations or tests to be performed later), the laboratory shall have storage and security arrangements that protect the condition and integrity of the secured items or portions concerned.

5. Sample disposal. The laboratory shall have standard operating procedures for the disposal of samples, digestates, leachates and extracts or other sample preparation products.

Statutory Authority

§ 2.2-1105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 7, eff. January 1, 2009; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. September 1, 2016.

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