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Frequent Questions about the SW-846 Compendium and Related Documents

EPA developed frequent questions about the SW-846 Test Methods Compendium and associated documents.

  • Which version of a method should I use?

    It is usually best to use the most up-to-date version of a method due to rapidly changing technology. Although the validated methods are not officially incorporated into SW-846, they are recommended for use whenever possible because they represent the most recent method advancements. However, because certain state regulations may restrict which versions of methods may be used, check with your state or EPA Regional office to confirm which version of a method to use.

  • What do the letters after the method number means?

    The letters following a method number (i.e., 3060A) refer to the number of revisions a method has undergone. The letter does not indicate a separate method. In the example above, Method 3060 and Method 3060A are the same method, but Method 3060A is an updated/revised version.

  • How should I reference an SW-846 method?

    There are two ways to reference SW‐846 methods. You can reference the entire methods compendium as follows: Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, EPA publication SW‐846, Third Edition, Final Updates I (1993), II (1995), IIA (1994), IIB (1995), III (1997), IIIA (1999), IIIB (2005), IV (2008), and V (2015).

    If you want a separate reference for each method, use this format: Method xxxxx, Revision x, Month Year, Final Update x to the Third Edition of the Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, EPA publication SW‐846.

    For example, Method 3060A would be: Method 3060A, Revision 1, December 1996, Final Update III to the Third Edition of the Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, EPA publication SW‐846. You can use the Methods Status Table to find the dates and related Update version of specific methods.