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Quality Assurance and Hazardous Waste Test Methods

Regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) often require the collection and use of environmental data. To ensure decisions are based on sound science, it is critical that environmental data be of sufficient quantity and quality for its intended use. To ensure the collection and use of quality data, EPA recommends following a structured quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) system.

Helpful quality assurance resources include: 

  • Chapter One of SW-846: addresses quality at the project level, including analytical method QA/QC. The chapter focuses on planning, implementation, and assessment.

In addition to the guidance found in Chapter One of SW-846, SW-846 contains several base methods (e.g., Method 8000D) which contain general guidance pertaining to other methods in the series. The individual SW-846 methods also contain quality control information. Information in the individual method should supersede information in the base method, which should supersede Chapter One in the case of conflicting information.

  • With the exception of the 29 method defined parameters (MDPs), which are listed and explained on the Methods Innovation Rule Web page, SW-846 methods are intended to be guidance methods with information on how to successfully perform an analytical procedure or technique. The intention is that laboratories can use the guidance as a starting point for generating their own detailed standard operating procedure (SOP). 

  • The Waste Analysis at Facilities that Generate, Treat, Store, and Dispose of Hazardous Wastes guidance manual discusses how to perform waste analyses and develop waste analysis plans (WAPs) in accordance with RCRA.