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Frequently Asked Questions

You can filter our FAQs by clicking on one of the following categories:

What are your certifications?

Torrent is currently certified by the following agencies:
State of California under Certificate #1991: To perform a wide variety of EPA approved methodologies, in Soil and Water matrices.
Department of Defense (DoD ELAP): Torrent Lab offers full service analytical testing under the DoD certification. Torrent Lab’s DoD certification covers all three matrices, namely Air, Water and Soil and all three major disciplines, namely, Volatile Organics, Semi-Volatile Organics and In-organics chemistry.
NELAC: Torrent holds a National Accreditation Certificate for full-service Air Testing methodologies.

What documentation do you require to accept samples?

Torrent accepts samples via a legal document called a Chain of Custody (CoC). Requested analysis are listed on the CoC and are relinquished to the laboratory for analysis through a series of signatures.

What is a Chain of Custody (CoC)?

A Chain of Custody (CoC) is a legal document that is initiated by the client that acts as the formal re-quest for specific analyses to be performed by the laboratory. The CoC contains all of the information required for a clear understanding of what is expected by the client and, once accepted by the laboratory, what is being agreed to be delivered by the laboratory to the client. The CoC contains information including the identity of the client, who can receive reports, where the reports are to be sent, what turn around time (TAT) is required for the report, how the samples are to be identified, how many containers are being submitted for each sample, what parameters are being required for testing and signatures from the client giving the samples to the lab and a return signature from the laboratory that the samples have been accepted by the lab.

What if I need to make changes or additions to the signed CoC?

The CoC is a dynamic document. It may have no changes through the life of the document, or it may have many. For proper documentation, clients must either email or FAX requests for changes or deviations from the originally accepted CoC. Those requests then become part of the CoC and will be included in our final report.

Do you provide Chains of Custody?

Yes, Torrent provides CoCs.

Do I have to use a Torrent Chain of Custody (CoC)?

No, many clients prefer to use their own CoCs. Most are perfectly acceptable and contain the same information in Torrent’s CoC. However, Torrent does not accept any responsibility for special instructions that may appear on client CoCs that are outside what Torrent would consider normal policy and procedure. When accepting a client’s CoC, our laboratory is only agreeing to accept the samples into the laboratory. We will review the requests and instructions before work begins. If any part of the client’s CoC is unacceptable, our Project Management department will contact the client. These circumstances are extremely rare but do happen. We take these actions to safeguard both the client’s expectations and our laboratory’s liability.

How do I get my samples to the lab?

If you are planning to drop your samples off, Torrent’s daily sample receiving hours are from 9 AM to 7 PM. If you are located in the greater Bay Area, we also offer a courier pick up service. If outside of the Bay Area, we receive samples through FedEx, UPS or any other package delivery services.

Do you accept samples after hours or on the weekend?

Torrent’s normal business hours are Monday – Friday form 9 AM – 7 PM PST. By pre-arrangement, staff can be available to receive samples out side the normal working hours and during the weekend.

What is your turn-around time (TAT)?

Torrent offers many TAT options. Our standard TAT is 5-10 business days; starting at 9 am on the day after the sample was received. Faster TATs are available including 4, 3, 2, and 1 working days. When choosing these options, Torrent will email a digital report in pdf format by the close of business on the day it is due.

Torrent also offers a same-day Torrent Express service. Depending on the limitations of the analysis, we can deliver results as little as 2-8 hours.

Please contact our Project Management team to discuss surcharges for accelerated TATs.

How do I know which method to request?

Generally a regulated site will have specific methods that are required for the analyses and will also let you know when substitution of equivalent methods are allowed. When there is no specific method required, the laboratory will default to Best Available Technology (BAT) methods that are accepted industry wide and meet the detection limit requirements of your project.

What are hold times and when and why are they important?

In order for your data to be defensible to a regulating authority or in a court of law, we must adhere to hold time requirements for analytical procedures and/or laboratory sample preparation procedures such as solvent extraction or distillation. Required holding times ensure that the sample is analyzed for the requested parameter prior to any bio-degradation, oxidation, precipitation, sorption, volatilization, and other physical and chemical processes that may occur that can affect the integrity of the sample.

Can you supply containers?

Yes, Torrent Lab can provide sampling supplies for water and soil. We also provide soil method 5035 (Encore) sampling kits at additional cost. Suma canisters and all supporting flow controllers and gauges are provided for Air sampling when arranged at least 5 days in advance. Tedlar bags are also available for purchase. The only containers we do not provide are brass, stainless steel and acetate sleeves.

How do I get containers or request a sample pick up?

Fill out our Torrent Express Sample Pick Up request form or contact our Project Management Team. We ship all containers are shipped via Overnight delivery service or can be picked up at our Milpitas Office. For large bottle orders, we ask for a minimum of 2 days to fulfill the request but, in special circumstances, can have bottles express delivered by a courier service for a fee.

How do I know what type of container I need for collecting my samples?

Our sample bottle request form lists the containers and recommended sample volumes. Remember that some parameters can be combined together in one sample container so please contact the PM department if you would like to know what can be “mixed and matched” or, if you know what you need, enter it in the request form.

How do I determine the water sample volumes required for my requested analyses?

While each method gives a suggested sample volume, due to improved technologies the actual volumes necessary may be much less than previously needed. Additionally, methods are written as though only a single parameter is being collected while in the real world you may be sampling for several parameters which can be analyzed from a single volume. If you contact the PM department at the laboratory and let them know what parameters you need tested, they will be able to provide you with the correct collection volumes and containers.

When should samples be preserved at the time of collection versus at the laboratory?

There are very few parameters that require immediate preservation of samples at time of collection. In most cases, we preserve samples upon receipt, as long as they are received by our laboratory within 24 hours of collection. Torrent prefers to send unpreserved containers whenever possible for the following reasons:
–Injuries or accidents may result in the field if untrained personnel are asked to preserve samples using acids and/or caustic materials.
–Fewer sample volumes need to be taken field, which reduces possible contamination.
–By preserving samples in the laboratory, we can ensure samples are preserved to the correct pH.

What about those parameters that do require field preservation?

Whenever there is a requirement, Torrent will provide pre-preserved containers that are clearly marked with the type of preservative and the parameter of its use. Examples of these are:
VOC analysis which are almost always collected in HCl preserved vials, and Total Sulfides which are collected in NaOH/Zinc Acetate preserved bottles. When in doubt, call your Torrent Project Management Team. We will be happy to assist you.

Do you analyze Storm Water samples per NPDES requirements?

Storm water analyses are part of Torrent’s routine services. Our sample control department can put together kits that will meet your exact storm water sampling requirements. Just notify us prior to the beginning of the season (July 1st) and we will make sure you have all the necessary bottles in order to be ready when the appropriate storm water event occurs.

I am regulated by the city/county to monitor our waste stream. Can you help?

Torrent has participated in helping clients with their monitoring requirements for over 25 years. If you provide us with the information from your regulator we will make sure all of the correct parameters are sampled in the correct sampling containers.

Can you take samples for me?

Torrent can assist you in the collection of some water samples in a limited capacity. In situations where self-monitoring is required, our trained field chemist can arrange to take the necessary samples from designated sample points. In cases where a water composite sample is needed, Torrent can provide the equipment necessary to collect the sample correctly over the composite time stipulated by your regulator.

Do you analyze wipe samples?

Yes. Torrent analyzes and reports wipe samples for a wide variety of analytical methods. We can prepare your wipes with the proper “wetting” agents to ensure that the parameters you are testing for are samples and retained properly.

How are wipes reported?

Final results for wipes are reported as ug/wipe. The data that is submitted to you is what was found on the wipe which can only be calculated as “x” per wipe. There is no simple conversion form ug/Wipe to typical ppb or ppm units of measure.

What is the proper way to take a wipe sample?

How you take your wipe sample is critical to the data from the wipe being of any use to you. NIOSH has set up wipe sample protocols that, when followed, will return the valuable information you re-quire. The wetting agent on the wipe used to collect the samples; the techniques of “up/down” and “side to side” swiping of the wipe, and the measured area over which the wipe is taken are all critical factors. For the NIOSH method of wipe sampling, refer to ‘Sampling Guidelines for Wipes‘.

Can you analyze raw material and/or product samples?

Yes, Torrent can analyze raw material and product samples, but it is important for you to discuss the project parameters with our Project Management Team. This discussion must happen prior to submitting your sample, so we can ensure that what you expect is what we can deliver. As a regulated enterprise, we must understand and control the nature of raw or neat materials that may enter our controlled environment. Torrent also needs to minimize any contamination issues that could result from highly-concentrated sources. With prior planning and contact with Project Management, nearly all situations can be accommodated to our mutual satisfaction.

Does Torrent analyze samples that are not strictly “environmental” samples?

Yes, Torrent has the ability to provide consulting and analytical services for a wide variety of parameters outside of those that are classically considered as “environmental”. We have an entire department designated as Special Projects which is specifically designed to assist clients in a variety of ways including R&D support, failure analysis, method development, etc. For information regarding Special Projects, please contact our project management department.

What air methods does Torrent offer?

Torrent supplies data for a range of air methods including NIOSH, OSHA, ASTM, and EPA Air Compendium Methods (TO, CO, IO). Our Project Management department is constantly bringing new methods on line, so if your request is not listed, give us a call. We may be able to offer the method you need or suggest an alternative.

What is the difference between TO14A and TO15?

TO14A is a GC method with specific sampling protocols. While it is very effective for some compounds, others of current concern, including Naphthalene and TBA, are not recovered well or at the necessary detection limits. TO-15 identifies compounds by GC/MS, allowing for an extensive list of compounds including those analyzed by TO-14A. Utilizing SIM or SIS modes, TO-15 can detect compounds in the pptv range while TO-14A is limited to ppmV and high ppbV ranges. TO-15 sets performance criteria supporting alternative but equivalent sampling equipment not allowed by TO-14A. TO-15 also includes enhanced analytical protocols yielding a higher percentage of qualified data. Overall, the TO-15 GC/MS approach provides more scientifically defensible data, a wider compound list, and lower detection limits.

Can Torrent report TO14A?

Yes.  Although our default method is TO-15, Torrent can analyze samples through both the GC/MS as well as the GC (we use a split sample technique).  Choosing the TO14A method is more a function of how the field samples are taken.

Does Torrent analyze for petroleum hydrocarbons?

Torrent analyzes for Gasoline range Hydrocarbons by TO-3, and TPH Diesel range compounds by NIOSH 1550/EPA 8015B, both GC methodologies. TPH Gas range analysis is performed with either a sample taken in a Tedlar Bag or Suma canister while TPH Diesel range is analyzed after extraction of sorbent material from specialized sample media. For more detail, please feel free to contact our Project Management department.

Should I use Tedlar bags or Suma Canisters for collecting air samples?

Suma canisters are generally preferred for collecting samples for several reasons: The holding time is much longer with a canister– 30 days vs. 72 hours for a Tedlar bag (some parameters as short as 24 hours); unlike a bag, canisters reduce or eliminate leaking due to an inadvertent puncture or a leaking seal; and the inert nature of the canister allows for trace level analysis of compounds without significant contribution from background contaminants sometimes found in Tedlar bags.

Tedlar bags are appropriate when sampling at sites with significant contamination from petroleum fuel sources, sites being sampled for only sulfur or atmospheric gases, or from chlorinated solvent contaminated sites where expected HVOC levels are in the ppmV or high ppbV range. Tedlar bags are ideal for immediate, onsite analysis but less appropriate when samples are being transferred to a stationary lab site.

Tedlar bags are never appropriate when sampling to Indoor air ESLs or when Naphthalene is a compound of concern.

What sampling equipment does Torrent supply?

For sampling of volatile compounds, Torrent supplies 6L Suma canisters, sampling manifolds with particulate filter (equipped with dual ports for use when employing purge canisters), flow controllers preset for desired sampling time (1, 3, 8, 12 or 24 hours), and initial/final vacuum gauges to ensure enough sample is collected for accurate analysis.

For collecting ambient air samples, we supply a U-shaped regulator along with a canister and attached vacuum gauge.

1-liter Tedlar bags are available upon request, but are subject to a fee.

For air sampling requiring sorbent tubes or filters, pump devices or special tubing, Torrent can arrange for the materials to be shipped directly to you. We can also connect you to our preferred supplier so you can make specific arrangements. Contact our Project Management Team (how?) for assistance.

What do you charge to rent canisters and sampling accessories?

Torrent does not charge a separate rental fee for any equipment that we supply. As long as the parameters of your sampling event are communicated to our Project Management Team with at least 48 hours notice, all batch-certified canisters (and accessories) can be delivered to your place of business or sampling site.

How do I sample with the Suma canister?

There are two sampling techniques typically employed for Suma canisters: Grab sampling which is a simple matter of opening the canister for a set period of time, and soil vapor sampling which involves using a manifold/flow controller system. Download our detailed instructions for both techniques.

What reporting limits can I expect for air analysis?

Reporting limits are dependent on several factors. Torrent’s initial Reporting Limits are below the current ESLs for most compounds of interest. That being said, the final reporting limit is a function of the amount of sample available for analysis (are the inches of Mercury at –5 to 0 or will the lab have to dilute the sample to the correct psi?) , the sample requires dilution due to high concentrations of compounds of interest and/or interfering compounds and, in some cases, matrix interference such as high concentrations of sultanate compounds or fixed gases (methane, ethane, ethane, CO2, etc), resulting in the need to dilute the sample prior to analysis. The last two situations are rarer than the first, but do happen occasionally.

Does Torrent analyze for fixed gases?

Yes. Torrent has an independent instrument capable of analyzing for Methane, Ethane, Ethene, Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Hydrogen and Helium.

Do I have to take separate samples if I need both TO-15/TO-14A/TO-3 and the Fixed Gases?
No. As long as the canisters are full, all analyses can be performed from the same sample. If the sample volume is low, it will affect final reporting limits. However, if multiple techniques are requested, Torrent will perform the most sensitive technique first. Because fixed gases are reported in % and/or ppmV ranges, slight dilution factors due to low pressure does not affect the final reporting limits as dramatically as the TO methods.

How does Torrent define special projects?

A special project is defined by several criteria: the request for analysis of a non-environmental sample/material (normal water and/or soil), a project that requires customized analytical techniques to meet client-specific matrix and investigation criteria, a project including Torrent staff consultation on process and procedure, or a project with in-depth data review and report processing including but not limited to conclusions and recommendations by a subject expert.

What kind of special project and/or R&D testing does Torrent offer?

Torrent can routinely perform the following Special Project functions.
Method Development
Product Investigation and/or Identification
Failure Investigation
Reverse & Forward Engineering
Contamination Testing
Development of Sampling Methodology and Strategy
Process Consulting
Raw Material Assay

What is the cost of a special project?

Cost is dependent on project complexity including the analytical procedures being used and/or the fees associated with Torrent staff consultation. For a cost estimate, contact Torrent Lab’s customer service department at customerservice@torrentlab.com and a qualified staff member will contact you within the same business day.

What if my special project is located outside of California?

We work with many clients outside of California. Torrent can provide consultation services via phone or Web conferencing. You can ship samples to us via UPS, FedEx or any other overnight service.

What types of matrices can you test?

We work with all kinds of matrices including air, water, soil, solvents, slurries, raw chemicals, pure product, plastics, solar panels, silicon wafers, polymers, bulk materials (metallic and non-metallic), wipes, foams and multi-phase aqueous samples.

What type of turn-around time can I expect on a special project?

For projects that do not require extensive set up times, Torrent’s TAT is between 7 and 10 days. However, shorter TATs are available upon request. For projects requiring complex analytical procedures, the purchasing of special materials, or time-restricted sample preparation, the TAT may be longer than 10 days. These instances are rare and we will discuss with you prior to the submission of your project.

What type of payment options does Torrent offer?

Torrent offers a variety of payment options, including the establishment of an account or payment by any major credit card. For large projects with several different stages or processes, Torrent will invoice at the completion of each stage. In cases of phased payments, we will discuss terms and conditions with you prior to the submission of the project.

How will I receive my report?

Report generation is a function of the complexity and scope of the project. Generally, data is presented in PDF format with a cover page, the analytical data, and scanned copies of any correspondence between the client and Torrent. For projects requiring an extensive write up of procedures, suppositions and/or conclusions drawn for the analytical findings, Torrent provides a separate narrative report with all appropriate information including, but not limited to, tables, graphs, chromatograms, etc. All data is delivered via email. Hardcopies will be generated only upon client request.

How can I be certain that proper analytical techniques were used to present data?

Torrent uses a wide variety of analytical techniques, including those approved by EPA, NIOSH, ASTM, and OSHA. Where established methodology doesn’t exist, we use sound physical and chemical principles to develop specialized procedures. We always run quality control samples to support reported analytical data. Our chemists are experienced and degreed professionals with a minimum of a BS in Chemistry or a related discipline and have years of experience in method development and analytical procedures. Our department managers hold advanced degrees in areas such as Analytical Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering. Torrent employs best available technology (BAT) throughout the laboratory and adheres to rigorous quality assurance protocols.

How do I receive my report?

Torrent prefers to send your report through email as a pdf document.

Do you provide EDD and EDF files?

Torrent can provide your data in a variety of EDD formats – from a simple Excel spreadsheet to a high level EQUIS format. EDFs for submission through the Geotracker system are also available. Please provide you Global ID and your LOGCODE information of the Chain of Custody and an EDF will be generated at the time of your report submission. For work orders that are complicated due to multiple dilution requirements, EDFs may follow the report by 2 to 3 days. Please contact the Project Management department for more detail about both EDD and EDF packages.

What does your report format include?

Torrent’s standard report includes:
–a signed cover page describing the work received and number of samples involved
–a case narrative describing events outside of normal procedures during the sample receiving, preparation, analysis and reporting stages or special instructions followed at the client’s request
–a data section including results for parameters tested
— sample IDs, detection limits, QC Batch numbers and any comments specific to the samples
–a Quality Control section that demonstrates Torrent’s adherence to the methodologies used in determining the result reported
–a copy of the Chain of Custody (CoC) received with the samples
–any correspondence requesting action to be taken outside of the information found on the original CoC.

Can you provide client-specific reports?

Torrent can tailor reports to reflect any special reporting requirements including project specific detection limits and/or QC reporting requirements. Just contact our Project Management Team with your specific needs, and we will collect all of the information necessary to provide you with the report that you require.

What units will you use to express my data?

/L. Some general chemistry parameters, such as pH or Conductivity (Specific Conductance), are expressed in units unique to the analysis. Normal default units for soil/oil/bulk analyses are expressed as mg/Kg or ug/Kg. If you require units other than our default units, such as ppm or ppb, please let our Project Management team know via the CoC, or contact us by email or phone. Our team will be happy to accommodate your request.

What is Quality Assurance?

Quality Assurance is the program by which the laboratory ensures that all standards and procedures are adhered to and that all data delivered to the client meets performance requirements. Because environmental testing laboratories are regulated by both the State and Federal Government, an active Quality Assurance program is an integral part of a laboratory’s operations.

What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

Quality Control is the statistical measurement of the laboratory’s ability to meet analytical specifications for precision and accuracy. These specifications may be pre-determined by method requirements, or developed within the laboratory as a function to monitor trends and deviations from norms.

What tools do you use for Quality Control?

Torrent’s primary Quality Control tool involves control charts that set acceptance criteria for each method performed at the laboratory. Some limits are mandated by specific methods but most are a function of collecting and managing data points to determine accuracy and precision criteria. Quality control charts are updated quarterly.

What tools do you use for Quality Assurance?

Tools include Standard Operating Procedure documents for each method performed, maintenance logs for instrument performance, a wide variety of bench sheets, log books and forms used to track all functions occurring within the laboratory, quarterly internal audits of adherence to standards and procedures, on-going training records for all analysts, and participation in yearly double-blind performance evaluation studies.

What Quality Control is included in my Report?

There are several levels of Quality Control (QC) packages available. A standard or Level II QC package includes results QC samples associated with your specific samples: Method Blank, a laboratory Control Sample (LCS), a laboratory control sample duplicate (LCSD) and, if applicable to your samples, the results for a matrix spike (MS) and matrix spike duplicate (MSD). An extended or Level III package would include all of the above as well as any QC that is associated with the instrumentation used during the analysis of your samples including calibration data and on-going instrument verification data. With both QC levels, any volatile or semi-volatile analysis performed also includes surrogate data for each sample analyzed.

What is the purpose of a Method Blank?

A method blank (MB) is an analyte-free matrix such as DI Water for liquids or cleaned sand for solids and/or soils that is processed in exactly the same manner as the samples. The main function of the MB is to document contamination resulting from the analytical process. For an MB to be acceptable it must be no higher than the highest of the following:

–The method detection limit (MDL)
–5% of the regulatory limit of the analyte being tested
–5% of the measured concentration in the sample

The importance of the method blank is the confidence it provides in assuring the reported values found in your samples are “real” and not the result of laboratory contamination.

What are Laboratory Control Samples?

Laboratory Control Samples and Sample Duplicates (LCS/LCSD) are samples prepared in the laboratory that contain analytes that are representative of the analytes of interest in client submitted samples. Known concentrations of analytes are added to either DI Water or Sand and are processed in the same manner as the client samples. The results of the LCS are used to demonstrate that the laboratory is in control of the processes involved in the preparation and analysis of specific tests. Control charts are maintained with acceptance criteria for each of the LCS analytes. These acceptance criteria must be met before results for client samples can be reported. The criteria include both accuracy or bias (% recovery) and precision (% RPD – or reproducibility) measurements. It is critical that the laboratory be able to not only accurately recover what is present but to be able to reproduce that action as well. A laboratory control sample duplicate (LCSD) is used to demonstrate reproducibility.

The importance of the LCS/LCSD is to provide confidence to you that what the laboratory claims it can recover and reproduce is actual and not hypothetical.

What are Matrix Spike and Matrix Spike Duplicates?

A Matrix Spike and Spike Duplicate (MS/MSD) are representative but randomly chosen client samples that have known concentrations of analytes of interest added to the samples prior to sample preparation and analysis. They are processed along with the same un-spiked sample. The purpose of the MS/MSD is to document the accuracy and precision of the method for that specific sample. Control charts are maintained that are indicative of typical MS/MSD recoveries of ‘real’ samples rather than laboratory controlled samples.

The importance of the MS/MSD is specific in nature. The MS/MSD is only significant to the client whose sample was chosen for spiking. The MS/MSD data serves as an indication of the problems that may be associated with a specific sample or sample site. For example, if a known concentration of Lead is added to a sample but only 20% is recovered, it may be an indication of matrix interference resulting in suppressed recovery of Lead. This is important when evaluating all of the lead results that may be associated with a group of samples taken from the same general location. The MS/MSD is not useful to a client whose sample was not chosen and thus, is not reported to that client unless specifically requested.

What is a surrogate?

A surrogate is an organic compound similar to the analytes of interest in both chemical composition and behavior in the analytical process, but not normally found in environmental samples.

Why do you use surrogates?

Surrogates are used in most organic analysis to demonstrate matrix compatibility with the chosen method of analysis. Each sample is spiked with a known concentration of surrogate compound(s) prior to the preparation and analysis of the sample. Control charts are maintained that are indicative of typical surrogate recoveries of ‘real’ samples rather than laboratory-controlled samples. Samples that fail surrogate recovery criteria are re-spiked and re-analyzed to determine if poor recovery is due to laboratory spiking error or matrix interference.

Reported surrogate recoveries are important because low recoveries indicate matrix interference in the sample resulting in suppressed recovery of analytes of interest. This becomes important when evaluating the data. For example, if TCE is an analyte of interest but the associated surrogate is only recovered at 28%, the reported value for TCE may be biased low as well and the client may want to consider the possibility that more TCE is present than is being reported.

What are Method Detection Limits?

Method Detection Limits (MDLs) are the minimum concentrations of substances that can be measured with 99% confidence that the analyte concentrations are greater than zero. MDL studies are performed for all analytes of interest for each method at a minimum of once a year. MDLs are matrix specific as well and have very specific analytical procedures and acceptance criteria.

What is the difference between an MDL and an RL/PQL?

MDLs are the starting point within a laboratory of defining normal Reporting Limits (RLs), also called Practical Quantitation Limits (PQLs). An MDL is a value that is statistically determined and represents what can be identified above the “noise” level of an instrument as being present but not necessarily accurate. The RL/PQL is a laboratory determined value at 2 to 5 times above the MDL and can be reproduced in a manner that results in a 99% confidence level that the result is both accurate and precise.

Does Torrent report results below the RL/PQL?

Although Torrent would prefer to report data to the laboratory determined RLs, Torrent will report results between the MDL and the RL/PQL under very specific circumstances or upon client request. Whenever results are reported to the MDL, the sample will have a specific comment associated with it indicating the reason MDLs are reported. Additionally, any detected values between the MDL and RL will be qualified as ‘estimated’ rather than ‘quantitative’ concentrations and will be flagged with a’J’ qualifier in the case of organic analysis or a ‘tr’ in the case of inorganic analysis.

Does Torrent report data that is out of control limits?

Torrent makes every effort to report only qualified data to the client. Occasionally, there will be QC failures that can not be corrected prior to the release of data. An example of this would be a MB or LCS failure for an extractable analysis that requires a minimum volume of sample. Normal corrective action requires the re-extraction and re-analysis of all samples associated with the failing QC. However, sometimes the client is not able to collect the extra volume of sample originally requested due to low flow wells or high level of sediment, and there is no possibility of performing the re-extraction. In such cases, the data is reported and a case narrative is included with the report describing the nature of the QC failure and why corrective action was not possible.

A second circumstance where data is reported despite QC failure is when the QC limits are exceeded on the high side of the acceptable range but the samples are Non Detect (ND) for any associated compounds. Both situations are rare but do occur.

What do the terms ‘RL’ and ‘MRL’ on your report mean?

RL refers to the initial “Reporting Limit”. This is the lowest quantifiable reporting limit that can be achieved when an analysis is performed under ordinary conditions.

MRL refers to “Modified Reporting Limit” and is the final reporting limit that applies to the sample once all sample preparation factors and/or dilution factor have be applied. For example, if Chromium in soil was reported at a dilution factor of 10 the RL column would read ‘5’ but the MRL column would read ‘50’. Or, for example, if an oil and grease sample was analyzed with only 500 mL rather than 1000 mL, a preparation factor of 2 would be necessary and the RL column would read ‘5’ while the MRL column would read ‘10’.

Do I need to correct values in the Results column for dilution?

All data in the results column is final. We have already applied any preparation factors and/or dilution factors.

What is a case narrative?

Torrent includes a case narrative with final reported data whenever there are any issues regarding sample receipt, preparation, analysis, and/or reporting that are outside of the normal policies and procedures of Torrent Laboratory. Items included in the case narrative can be as benign as a client request to amend sample IDs, or deviations to methods due to limited sample mass or volume. A case narrative may also describe more serious issues regarding Matrix Spike recoveries or explanations of why data is reported despite failing QC. Within the case narrative, we may present information regarding specific samples, such as matrix interference problems, instances where the sample required special preparation procedures, and/or information regarding requests made by the client as to how the sample should be treated.

Torrent also uses the case narrative to indicate whether any analyses required sub-contracting to another certified laboratory. Finally, if we revise or re-issue a report for any reason, the case narrative describes the incident leading to this action and notes the date of a report’s revision or re-issue.

Some of my data values do not seem correct. What do I do?

Please feel free to contact the QA department at Torrent anytime you have questions or concerns about the presentation of the data or the data itself. Torrent can open a ‘Data Validation’ request to re-validate the reported data. While instances are rare, data mistakes can be made, and Torrent will check each step of the analytical process in order to re-assure you that the data presented is correct. If we find an error, we will re-issue the report to you immediately with a case narrative describing the genesis of the error and the corrective action that has been taken to ensure that the same error is not repeated.

How do you ensure that your error rate is low?

Torrent uses a Six Sigma method to report and present data. All of our analysts are empowered to make quality assurance decisions within the scope of their expertise, and each department manager is encouraged to think of project management as their final client. In this way, data coming into project management has already passed rigorous analyst review, peer review and department manager review. Conversely, Project Management is encouraged to think of each department as their vendor which means any special requirements or protocols outside of the normal scope of work must be communicated to the departments prior to the release of samples for analysis. This ensures that the departments have the information they need to qualify their work to client specifications before submitting final data to Project Management.

What if I need to change or add tests to samples that I’ve already been submitted?

If the samples are in process, a simple request from the client (in writing) will initiate a ‘Change Order’ form and we will communicate changes to the respective department. We make every effort to adhere to the client’s original turn-around time (TAT) request. Due to capacity limitations, changes may delay the final report by a day or two.

If Torrent has already signed and released a report, any requests for additional analyses will be logged under a new CoC. We will fill out and forward a new CoC to the client for signatory approval. Torrent will assign a new work order ID and TAT to additional requests, and the new CoC will refer to the CoC connected to the original samples we received.

What if I need a report re-issued or revised?

Contact the Project Management or QA team to discuss your needs. Torrent’s QA procedures include the electronic storage of all generated reports. We will issue a revised report with a unique name and number identifier; a revised reports will not replace the original report but rather be stored alongside it. This procedure allows for the re-creation of any action that may have taken place during the issuing of an original and/or revised report.

Does you supply chromatograms?

Yes, Torrent supplies chromatograms upon client request. We do not release quant sheets unless a client requests a Level IV data package.

Torrent Laboratory Inc 483, Sinclair Frontage Road, Milpitas, California, 95035, United States
(408) 263-5258

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