Resources for Assessing Measurements
Below is information designed to assist individuals generating or using environmental data. There are many great EPA and external documents not to mention programs structured to help all organizations ensure the quality of information generated or used.
- Environmental Laboratory Accreditation
- Environmental Data Standards
- Measurement Quality Programs
- Staged Electronic Data Deliverables
ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ACLASS, ANAB, FQS) : ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization that provides accreditation services to public and private sector organizations in the areas of management systems, laboratories, inspection bodies, reference material producers and proficiency test providers. The company operates under three brands (ACLASS, FQS, ANAB), each servicing distinct markets.
The NELAC Institute (TNI): The NELAC Institute is a not for profit standards development and recognition organization. The organization fosters the development and adoption of the standards using a consensus standards process. Current standards are recognized using an evaluation process for accrediting laboratories in the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP), Field Sampling and Measurement Organizations (FSMOs) in the National Environmental Field Activities Program (NEFAP), Proficiency Testing Providers (PTP) in the Proficiency Testing Program and Stationary Source Audit Sample Program (SSAS).
National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) : Accreditation to the TNI Environmental Laboratory standard provides data of known and documented quality from a technically competent laboratory with oversight by the environmental community. State accreditation bodies recognized by TNI since 1999 are evaluated for conformance to the standard. The accreditation bodies assess laboratories for conformance to the TNI Environmental Laboratory Standard including regulatory and method requirements.
National Environmental Field Activities Program (NEFAP) : Accreditation to the TNI Field Activities standard provides data of known and documented quality from a technically competent Field Sampling and Measurement Organization (FSMO) with oversight by the environmental community. Accreditation bodies recognized by TNI since 2011 are evaluated for conformance to the standard. The accreditation bodies assess for conformance to the TNI Field Activities Standard including project and applicable regulatory requirements.
Certification of Laboratories that Analyze Drinking Water Samples to Ensure Compliance with Regulations: (Chemistry, Microbiology, Radiochemistry) The Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Program is managed through a cooperative effort between the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water and the Office of Research and Development. Laboratories analyzing drinking water compliance samples must be certified by EPA or the state.
NIST National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) : (Asbestos) NVLAP provides third-party accreditation to testing and calibration laboratories. NVLAP’s accreditation programs are established in response to Congressional mandates or administrative actions by the Federal Government or from requests by private-sector organizations. NVLAP is in full conformance with the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), including ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17011.
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) : (Environmental Lead, Environmental Microbiology) The Environmental Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELLAP), recognized by the EPA National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP), accredits laboratories performing analysis of lead in environmental samples including paint, soil, dust wipes, and air. The Environmental Microbiology Accreditation Program (EMLAP), is specifically for labs identifying microorganisms commonly detected in air, fluids, and bulk samples during indoor air quality studies.
American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA): (Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Radiochemistry, Air, Proficiency Testing Suppliers) A2LA is a nonprofit, non-governmental, public service, membership society. The mission of A2LA is to provide comprehensive services in laboratory accreditation and laboratory-related training. Services are available to any type of organization, be it private or government. Laboratory accreditation is based on internationally accepted criteria for competence (ISO/IEC 17025:2005). A2LA also offers programs for accreditation of inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers, reference material producers and product certification bodies.
The NELAC Institute (TNI): TNI is a non-profit membership organization established to promote a national laboratory accreditation program based on a set of consensus standards.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI): ANSI is a private, not-for-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Through ANSI, the U.S. has immediate access to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards development process. ISO standards are available for purchase from ANSI.
ASTM International: ASTM is a not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM offers resources for proficiency testing program needs, certification of products, and an international laboratory directory.
- EPA System of Registries - The System of Registries (SoR) is a resource for environmental system developers and enterprise architects. It provides environmental program managers and users of environmental information with automated services to enable better understanding of environmental terminology and data used by EPA.
- Data Registry Services - Data registry services support the management and use of environmental data maintained in EPA and partner systems. Use of the services promotes discovery and access of comparable information across EPA thereby facilitating understanding of data. Data registry services include automated searching and downloads of critical metadata that allow the names, definitions and meaning of fields in agency data systems to be displayed and compared.
- Data Standards - The use of data standards across EPA's multiple program offices provides consistently of defined and formatted data elements and sets of data values, which provides the public access to more meaningful data.
- Exchange Network Leadership Council (ENCL) - The mission of the Exchange Network is to offer efficient and consistent ways for environmental data trading partners to exchange information. Data standards facilitate that process. The ENLC establishes priorities for developing data standards where data standards offer value in achieving environmental results.
- EPA Quality System - The EPA Quality System requires that each EPA Office, Region and Research and Development Laboratory or Center develop and implement supporting Quality Systems. EPA's Quality System specifications may also apply to extramural agreement holders (i.e., contractors, grantees and other recipients of financial assistance from EPA).
- How EPA Monitors Compliance - Compliance monitoring is one of the key components EPA uses to ensure that the regulated community obeys environmental laws and regulations.
- Best Practices for Laboratory Quality Systems - Links to references, training, examples and other resources for best practices for laboratory quality systems.
- Good Laboratory Practice Standards (GLPs) - EPA's Good Laboratory Practice Standards compliance monitoring program assures the quality and integrity of test date submitted to the Agency under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
- Navy Environmental Compliance Sampling and Field Testing Procedures Manual - The CNO Environmental Data Quality Program and NAVSEA Environmental Laboratory Program provide core expertise and leadership to Naval issues related to environmental sampling, laboratory testing and data quality. Initiatives include the Environmental Data Quality Works group (EDQW), the Intergovernmental Data Quality Task Force (IDQTF) and Navy Environmental Laboratory Advisory Council (ELAC).
- European Commission Environmental Assessment - The European Commission environmental assessment program provides information on the European Union's laws on Environmental Impact Assessments.
The Staged Electronic Data Deliverable (SEDD) is a uniform format for electronic delivery of analytical data for environmental programs that can significantly improve data quality while reducing costs to review data. This has already been the experience in the EPA’s Superfund Program and can be the case for the rest of the Agency. By establishing uniform processes for delivery, review, storage, and retrieval of laboratory data, the scientific integrity of environmental data can be assured. At the same time, the data review process, which can be expensive and time consuming, becomes more cost-effective and time-efficient by employing a uniform format like SEDD which allows systems to automate as much of the process as possible.