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Lessons Learned from Performance Evaluation Studies
Ruth L. Forman, Quality Assurance Specialist/Principal
Rock J. Vitale, CPC Technical Director or Chemistry/Principal Environmental Standards, Inc., 1140 Valley Forge Road, Valley Forge, PA 19482

Paper published in the Proceedings of WTQA '99 (15th Annual Waste Testing & Quality Assurance Symposium), pp. 38-46.

Performance Evaluation (PE) samples are routinely utilized by both the regulatory and regulated communities to demonstrate a laboratory’s proficiency in performing a given analytical method. PE samples are submitted to laboratories for a wide variety of regulatory programs and are typically prepared in deionized water, clean soil, or other prepared media. The laboratory’s reported results are compared to the known identities and concentrations of target analytes in the PE samples. The evaluation of the laboratory’s performance is typically based upon the percentage of analytes the laboratory successfully recovered within a defined range of acceptance limits. However, typically executed PE studies do not provide an indication of the laboratory’s ability to successfully identify and quantitate target analytes in a complex matrix or test other non-analytical aspects of the laboratory’s operation. This presentation will focus on the authors’ experience in conducting PE studies for a multi-state pipeline project and will present the findings relative to these studies. Information gleaned from the PE studies relative to the evaluation of the laboratory’s performance will be discussed. Furthermore, observations regarding the laboratories’ performance in analyzing multi-phasic samples will be presented.

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