In Superfund or other environmental clean-up and monitoring projects, data validation is the process of examining analytical data to ensure the data is precise, accurate, and adequate for the intended use. EPA Quality Policy requires that all environmental decisions are supported by data of known and documented quality, thus any data used to support Superfund site decisions should undergo some type of data validation.
Data validation can be expensive and labor-intensive, especially in the traditional format where hundreds of pages of analytical data and associated laboratory quality assurance and quality control information are examined manually by an experienced chemist, who then makes a determination on the usability of the data for the project. Although imperative, the data validation process can delay crucial site decisions and increase costs.
The mission of the EPA Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) is to provide data of known and documented quality for Superfund site decisions. The EPA CLP program uses the Electronic Data Evaluation and Exchange Software (EXES) tool for automated data review and evaluation. The EXES tool is programed to automatically identify potential data quality and usability issues, thus reducing the time necessary for manual data validation. The EXES tool can be adapted to any chemical analytical method. When the EXES tool is used correctly by experienced chemists and data validators, the software can significantly reduce the time, effort, and cost of data validation.
The EPA CLP is working to provide access to the EXES tool to EPA Regional laboratories and other Superfund data validators and end users. This CLU-IN session will provide an overview of data validation, and outline ways that Superfund Remedial Project Mangers, site contractors, data validators, or end data users can incorporate the EXES tool and electronic data assessment tools into their clean-up monitoring projects to increase efficiency and lower costs.