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Sample Processing and Analysis

Effective and accurate methods of analysis are needed to analyze potentially contaminated samples. However, there’s often more than one analytical method available for many high-priority agents. Recommended sample processing and analytical methods for contaminant-media (e.g. water, soil, etc) pairs are in the Environmental Sampling and Analytical Methods (ESAM) repository on the Selected Analytical Methods for Environmental Remediation and Recovery page. Having a pre-selected method for each contaminant/media pair ensures a consistent analytical approach when multiple laboratories are employed to analyze samples and that the generated data are comparable.Researcher conducted PCR analysisResearcher conducting analysis using polermerase chain reaction (PCR) technology  

Sample processing is an essential part of accurate sample analysis. Sample processing includes recovery of target contaminant from the sample, cleanup to remove potential interferents (e.g. debris, non-target contaminants), and concentration of the target contaminant.  All these steps allow for accurate, highly sensitive, and reliable testing/analysis results.

Online access to ESAM provides rapid access to analysis protocols and tools in order to support of EPA’s Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN), which includes EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) member laboratories, the EPA Regional Laboratories, and state and local laboratories during a response to a small or a wide-area hazard incident involving contamination.

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