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Executive Summary

Final Minutes from Meeting

Methods and Data Comparability Board

August 13-14, Denver, CO

A total of 30 participants attended the meeting either by phone or in person. Federal agencies represented included EPA, USGS, ACOE, and CDC. States represented included Arizona, Kentucky, Delaware River Basin Commission (New Jersey), California, Wisconsin, and New York. Other monitoring interests represented were ASTM, Standard Methods, AWWA, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Merck and Company/Chemical Manufacturers Association, Hach Company, VG Elemental, Waste Policy Institute, Colorado State University, and Kent State University.

Announcements and General Comments

Next Board conference call will be on 9/16, 1998.

Next Board Meeting will be 10/26 to 10/28, 1998 in Reston, Virginia.

A Board meeting will be held in Phoenix, Arizona in late January 1999.

The Board's Fact Sheet will be printed and distributed in October, 1998

The Board's internal website is available at URL:

Workgroup meeting time will be a larger component of future meetings, info exchange and

operations portions of meeting time will be reduced.

Need to start biology and field chemistry components of the various workgroups.

Action Items Update

Previous action item status was discussed. A new action item list (see Attachment 2) was prepared for the Board and for the workgroups and will be maintained on the Board's internal website. URL: [action item list has been divided up and placed under each of its respective workgroups as "Actions Items List, 9/98" (dww 12/21/98)]

National Monitoring Conference

Over 400 individuals representing a wide segment of the monitoring community attended the first National Monitoring Conference in Reno, Nevada July 6-9, 1998. There were four tracks discussed at the conference - Monitoring Design Strategies, Methodology and Information Sharing, Indicators and Reference Conditions, and Linking Monitoring to Decision-Making. A final wrap-up session produced a list of recommended actions that included: establishing state monitoring councils, the need for the NMC to act as a clearinghouse and to issue guidance documents, and the need for future monitoring conferences.

National Monitoring Council

A NMC meeting was held July 9-10, 1998 in Reno, Nevada. The council used the recommendations from the NWQM Conference to help formulate a concise workplan for presentation to the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI). The five workplan elements are: Define and promote goal-oriented monitoring - chair is Bob Ward; Methods and data comparability - chairs are Herb Brass and Merle Shockey; Institutional collaboration - chair is Emory Cleaves; Data management and accessibility - chair is Lynn Singleton; Public awareness and stakeholder outreach – chairs are Ellen McCarron, Linda Green, and Toni Johnson. Funding for Council activities is tenuous at best.

Second National Monitoring Conference

Bob Ward presented a draft announcement for a conference to be held in Denver, CO in the fall of 1999. Draft included 6 one-day pre-conference workshops that roughly corresponded to the NMC workplan elements. A half day Plenary opening session, followed by 2 days of meetings that includes 15 sessions (3 concurrently) in 6 tracks that roughly parallel the workplan elements. Followed by 3 demonstrations - field methods, laboratory methods, and data management. The methods Board objectives would be the primary focus of the conference.

Workgroup reports

Database and Compendium - The name of the compendium and the purpose of the compendium were agreed upon. A format for the database and database fields were discussed for chemistry and toxicology lab analyses. The addition of several new fields - ruggedness, meta data needs, rating system, and species sensitivity were discussed. A table and text will be prepared for each method. Next steps - prioritize methods for inclusion, develop field and biology subgroups, and develop a workgroup workplan.

PBMS - The strawman document (reservoir dog) was revised by the workgroup. A subgroup was assembled to develop a glossary of terms for PBMS. A subgroup was established to discuss liability issues. The relevance of PBMS to ambient versus compliance monitoring was discussed. Discussed other PBMS approaches - FDA, NOAA, EPA pesticides, WPI test. Tested the lab validation table on a Phosphorous study example and added additional fields -matrices, false negatives and positives, and appropriate blanks to the table. Discussed NELAC PBMS approach. Next steps - position paper to NMC (for approval) and EMMC during 1998, create a biology and microbiology subgroup, prepare a workplan, liaison with NELAC effort.


Discussed the Boards portion of the NMC workplan. Several minor changes were discussed and accepted. Decided that the Board should have it's own workplan that includes the various workgroup workplans and that discusses resource needs in depth. A revised NMC workplan for Goal 2 will be added to the website. Training and volunteer efforts should be added throughout workplan. Discussed need for funding and defined several possible sources to pursue.

Board Representation and Communication

Discussed other groups to pursue for Board representation - Native Americans, DOD, DOE, World Bank, and Dept. of Commerce, TVA, Rural Water, additional states, public health labs, and national association of environmental authorities. Various individuals were tasked to develop these contacts. Discussed use of three lists for email distribution - delegates and alternates, workgroup members, other interested parties. An email archive is available on the website to facilitate topical email discussions.

Long Term Method Detection Level

Bill Foreman of the USGS' National Water Quality Laboratory presented results of a study of approaches to establishing method detection levels based on long term variances that are recalculated annually. This approach should reduce the incidences of false negatives and false positives reported. The power point presentation is available on the NWQL website at URL: Board suggested that NELAC get a copy of the presentation. Board will be available to review the journal article that is being prepared.

National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation

Moving ahead slowly and some feel that standards are being compromised. Discussed how the Board's accreditation effort should be linked to NELAC efforts. Should not duplicate efforts, should maintain strong liaison positions, a NELAC website link has been made to the Board's internal site. The Board should develop a position paper to support various aspects of the NELAC effort. The USGS NWQL may want NELAC accreditation -a subgroup will look into how to proceed with that. Jean Mourrain (NELAC director) should be invited to attend an upcoming Board meeting to discuss the NELAC and Board relationship. Board members should review what is on the NELAC website ( ), especially Chapter 5 (Quality Systems)- the most relevant to the Boards work. The Board should review legislation introduced in California for possible support.


Bill Battaglin and Ed Furlong (USGS) discussed the USGS-DuPont CRADA results. The paper was also presented at the National Monitoring Conference in Reno and the paper will be included in those proceedings. The study is looking at analytical methods for several newer DuPont pesticides. A Fact Sheet is available on the Boards internal website. The Board will be asked to review technical papers and data produced from the project. A list of planned reports and time frames will be provided to the Board to help plan those reviews.

Methods and Data Comparability Board

Draft Meeting Minutes

July 13-14, 1998 Denver, CO


Herb Brass, Merle Shockey, Ann Strong, Gary Cottrell, Cliff Annis, Jr., Bob Held, Barbara Erickson, Katherine Alben, Ed Santoro, Michal Harthill, Andy Eaton, Dave Gustafson, Larry Keith, Bill Battaglin, John Klein, Charlie Peters, Bob Carlson, Alden Henderson, Steve Posavec, Mike Miller, Bart Simmons, Rob Henry, Bob Ward, Bob Williams, Rick Creamer, Jack Rowe, LeRoy Shroeder, Bob Berger (by phone), Giles Miller (by phone), Chuck Spooner (by phone), Chris Ingersoll (by Phone)


Provided as attachment 1


There will be conference call meetings on 9/16, 2:00 PM EDT and 10/14, 3 PM EDT.

The next meeting is October 26-27, 1998 in Reston, VA. The NMC meeting will be held October 28-29, 1998 in Reston. Members of the Board will present an overview of the boards efforts at the start of the NMC meeting on the morning of the 28th.

There will be a Board meeting in Phoenix, AZ January 25-27, 1999. There will be a NMC meeting in Phoenix January 28-29, 1999. There may be a combined portion of this meeting as well.


Bob Williams USGS, National Water Quality Laboratory Chief welcomed the Board to the NWQL. Merle Shockey and Herb Brass thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and a special welcome to new Board members. All meeting participants introduced themselves.

Meeting logistics, transportation, and evening plans were discussed.

Prior Minutes and Action Items

Handed out copies of the April meeting minutes, and May, June, and July conference call

Minutes. Future meeting minutes will retain the same format - executive summary, complete

Minutes, and action items, future conference call minutes will retain the same format. All

Minutes will include the date of the last update. There were no minutes revisions suggested.

Current action items were discussed.

Native American Delegate (Gary Cottrell has a contact name).

A new action items list is included as Attachment 2 and is available on the website.

National Monitoring Conference

John Klein presented an overview of the Conference held in Reno, NV on July 6-8, 1998:

More than 400 individuals representing a wide segment of the monitoring community attended. The conference was co-sponsored by the GWPC and The NMC. The conference was organized around 4 tracks -Monitoring Design Strategies; Methodology and Information Sharing; Indicators and Reference conditions; and Linking Monitoring to Environmental Management and Decision Making. A wrap-up session at the end of the conference presented recommendations for each track that were compiled from the various sessions. Comparable methods and protocols were shown as a high priority item in the recommendations. Recommendations also indicated that the council should act as a monitoring information storehouse and should be involved in preparing position papers and guidance documents. The establishment of state councils was also highly recommended.

Board Member comments:

The conference was a success because of its discussion style format. There was some criticism that there were too many concurrent sessions and that the presentations were too short. Conference helped emphasize that state and national level monitoring issues are similar. Suggestion to add more of a public health component. Session titles should be more closely linked to the presentations within. Perhaps sessions should be "invited" position papers. Suggest expanding poster session size and include evening poster session. NMC needs to respond to the information obtained. An annual conference was requested by many.

National Monitoring Council

John Klein presented an overview of the July 9-10, 1998 National Monitoring Council Meeting in Reno, NV:

The NMC thought that the Conference was a big success primarily due to the networking potential demonstrated. NMC will be looking into the possibility of another conference in the fall of 1999. Some concern that the time frame is too short. Conference recommendations were instrumental to the councils finalizing its workplan. The workplan was finalized for presentation to the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) in Denver the week of August 17th, 1998. The workplan related 5 goals to the Clean Water Action Plan (CWAP) objectives. The CWAP was only funded for the EPA and the NRCS, the USGS and others were zeroed out. Some of the EPA funding may be reprogrammed. Unclear how the council can be effective in reaching it's CWAP mandated goals without adequate funding. Herb will provide a summary of the CWAP action items. The 5 workplan goals and chairs of the Boards being assembled to address the goals are:

Monitoring - Bob Ward - dialog on what the group will be doing is just in the beginning stages.

Methods - Herb and Merle - Board has made the most progress.

Collaboration - Chair ?? - Will promote state councils and study ambient versus compliance linkage potentials, and support volunteer monitoring efforts.

Data Management - Lynn Singleton - Promote data and information sharing.

Outreach - Toni Johnson - Promote public awareness of monitoring; support outreach activities for other Council workgroups/Boards.

Volunteer monitoring groups presented a special evening session to the NMC. It was suggested that the volunteer monitors also make this presentation at the January 1999 Board meeting.

Next National Monitoring Conference

Bob Ward provided a handout in the form of a conference announcement:

Focus of the conference would be to provide information on how to do monitoring with specific knowledge transfer sessions and a variety of networking opportunities. Conference location suggested was Denver. Time frame suggested was the fall of 1999. Suggested holding 6 half day workshops on Monday (could attend two of these if interested) - topics suggested for workshops were - Goal oriented monitoring, comparable monitoring methods, use of internet to present data, uniform watershed characterizations, informing the public about status and trends, and Monitoring for TMDLs. Each day would end with a meet and great session for networking. A number of special events for luncheons, evenings, etc., were suggested. Conference would start on Tuesday with a plenary session and luncheon speaker. Three concurrent sessions would be held Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The sessions would be organized around the 6 workshop themes. Thursday afternoon would be devoted to three separate tours - field demonstration, lab demonstration, internet data demonstration. Thursday final session each track would summarize the recommendations from the meeting. Format similar to Reno conference. Bob will present his draft to the NMC in Reston in October.

Board Suggestions/Comments on conference plan:

Too USGS oriented. Perhaps could have additional demonstrations. Need to get volunteer groups and other Federal and State agencies involved. Hold a large poster session throughout the conference and on evenings since many individuals cannot attend if they aren't presenting. Suggested a session to collect information needs from the various monitoring data customers. Include a discussion of action taken on last year's conference recommendations. Discussion of historic database changes and their importance. Suggested only invited position papers for presentation. It takes a full year to pull a conference like this together, need to start soon.

Workgroup Reports (see Attachments 3 and 4 for more detail)


Four goals of August 12th meeting were: define the purpose of workgroup; define the information fields needed; define the search parameters for the database; determine future work efforts.

Purpose - To allow rapid comparison of critical parameters of methods (e.g. analytes, instrumentation, matrices, interferences, sampling, sample handling, and data quality) for use with methods selection and/or method modifications and data comparability (e.g., for litigation, compliance monitoring, ambient monitoring, PBMS, risk assessment, and research).

Title - The National On-line Environmental Methods Summary Database and Compendium (NOEMSDC).

Format -The Database/compendium should provide environmental method summaries (2 pages) that include critical information (rationale) for selecting a method for use based on data-quality objectives. There should also be a table format. The database should be on-line and searchable, as well as available as hard copy. Should be viable for all parts of the United States. Concentrate on most used laboratory methods first. Benchmark prior efforts (EMMI, etc.) and describe why/how this is needed/different. Will be linked to more detailed referenceable method papers.

Information Fields - Vary depending on parameters input -chemical, biological, microbiological, field and laboratory.

Water Chemistry - Method #, source of method, method title, applicable matrices, summary of method, interferences, instrumentation required, MDL and how concentration determined, accuracy, precision, , applicable range, maximum holding time, sample preservation, other QAQC, contact name/number, reference, chemical name, CAS #. Larry provided a handout strawdog that included a part of WPI database being prepared. WPI Database is linked from the Board website.

Sediment Toxicology - Chris Ingersolls' table was provided as a handout and discussed. Table is available from the Boards website.

Some suggested fields to add - Ruggedness (perhaps a rating number), meta data needs, Method Quality Objectives (MQOs), short method title, species sensitivity, cost rating.

Search Parameters - Method, Chemicals, CAS#, Govt. Program, Accuracy, Precision, key words. Build in synonym for searching. Possibly develop a CRADA or IAG to populate?

Future work - Prioritize lab chemistry methods. Collect prioritized methods from a number of sources. Compare Phoenix group database fields and USGS database fields to proposed fields, Develop subgroups to deal with biology field and lab, chemistry field, microbiology field and lab, sediment chemistry. Discuss maintenance issues - data control. Develop a workgroup workplan. Get the workplan and strawdog to colleagues for review and comment.


Meeting goals: update position paper; test reservoir dog methods data table for phosphorous, additional benchmarking discussions, discuss liability issues, discuss ambient versus regulatory monitoring, discuss managing the transition.

Position Paper - Revised and is available on the website. URL: The Boards opinion regarding implementing PBMS will be sent to the EPA, NELAC, EMMC, etc. after NMC approval. Create a subgroup to work on a glossary of terminology. Add more background information to reservoir dog. Discuss regulatory versus ambient - Jerry Diamond will prepare a strawman for this. Focus on laboratory analytical chemistry first. Expand introduction to describe why PBMS versus prescriptive - Jerry Diamond will prepare strawman. Cite various benchmarked examples and their pertinent aspects. Include ideas on how to phase in change to PBMS - training, etc. Bart Simmons will provide a definition to describe accepted versus verified technology to make clear that black box approaches don't qualify.

Phosphorous test case - A handout was provided by Bob Carlson. The handout was a "mock" request for a volunteer monitoring group to use other than EPA approved methods to collect and analyze phosphorous samples. The "mock" request was used to test the methods data table included in the PBMS reservoir dog for inclusivity. The table was revised to include: a specified matrix, appropriate blank results, desired rate of false negatives and positives, DQOs, spikes where appropriate, appropriate data qualifiers, appropriate calibrations, test all relevant sample preservation parameters, and interference checks. Text should be prepared to support the table and provide statements of consideration regarding each of the table elements.

Benchmarking - FDA process - validate method, community review, use data in approval filing process, when approved method is ok for use. Any changes to method need to be refiled for approval. Method validation done via the APOC process which is extremely rigorous to public health concerns. NOAA process - need Mussell watch status and trends report from Adrianna Cantillo to include on Board website. California process - Demonstrate sound scientific basis for method relative to the ability to sample and analyze. Undergoes scientific peer review, then a regulation is proposed. Bart Simmons will get a copy of the California regulations. ACS study- Larry Keith provided two handouts (study write-up and EPA methods guide). Purpose of ACS study was to: 1) evaluate the extent to which laboratory data provide an accurate assessment of compliance using three methods; 2) estimate the relative cost of using the three methods. The three methods were: 1) prescriptive EPA method; 2) streamlined method; 3) PBMS. Defined the method quality objective (MQOs): matrix spike at 0.5 times the project level needs; include sensitivity, accuracy, and precision. Draft report defines three tiers to validate performance: single matrix/single facility; multiple matrices; multiple facilities. Study based on wastewater testing not ambient; ambient would require a different approach. Larry would like members of the board to provide a review of this paper. Others - Reports on PBMS approach and results for EPA pesticide and NASA are still needed.

Liability -What are the liability issues associated with PBMS. Are EPA or the regulated states liable? How will liability issues for PBMS be different from prescriptive methods. Regulated industry will remain liable, no different from now. Contract labs might share in responsibility. Under PBMS method will have to be certified, whereas now method is prescribed. Under PBMS DQOs would specify what is ok. Herb will contact the correct EPA general counsel and set up a conference call with Jan Jablonski, Barabara Erickson, Cliff Annis, Steve Posavec, Andy Eaton, Jerry Diamond, and ???. Lab accreditation issues overlap with PBMS here. Barabara provided a list of concerens the state of Arizona has regarding PBMS and liability. The workgroup will address this issue at their next meeting after the conference call has taken place.

Ambient versus compliance monitoring - PBMS is really for regulatory not ambient status and trends. However, ambient is similar to compliance when close to the detection level. PBMS most applicable when several orders of magnitude above detection levels.

Managing the transition - What are time frames for streamlining and PBMS implementation? What are the steps to full PBMS implementation? Training? Prepare a position on a preferred implementation approach.

Future Work - Prepare a workplan. Determine liability issues. Prepare ambient vs. compliance strawman. Liaison with NELAC. Develop a transition plan. Revise position paper. Test position paper concepts. Get position paper approved by NMC and distribute. Set up a subgroup to work on biology and field aspects of PBMS.


Fact sheet has been sent to the printer. Continuing to update distribution list. Fact sheet will be distributed in late October. Internal web page - Add expiration dates to listed terms for delegates and alternates. Add a running list of action items to the minutes page. Add NELAC meeting announcements. Identify new emails and internet postings. Board members should provide Charlie with comments about what parts of the website should go public. Add a web page access counter.


Used conference recommendations to revise workplan. Clearinghouse is a major Council function. Latest NMC and Board workplans will be put on the Board website. Version numbers and dates will be added to workplan drafts. Changes to workplan draft: objective A, task 1 - change "completion date" to "final draft" ; objective A, task 2 -Change entire task to "Provide an evaluation of PBMS pilot tests"; objective B, Task 3 - change "guidance on use of" to "issue paper on requirements of an an-line" and "compendium" to "compendium and database". Change "reference" to "validated" and "completion date July 1999" to "final draft January 2000"; Objective B, task 4 - change "Prepare on-line compendium" to Prepare phase one on-line compendium/database" and add training to this task. Education and training and volunteer monitoring should be added throughout.

Pilots will need to get started soon if we are to provide an evaluation of them. Need resources to do pilots. Board will need to prepare their own workplan that includes each of the workgroup plans and provides a focus on the resource needs to accomplish the tasks. Task 5 needs to be considered regarding what the actual board effort will be. Add website link to field certification appendix in ITFM report. We need to put together a workgroup for nutrients to work with Bob Cantilli. Individuals named as possible for this workgroup - Richard Ayers, Charlie Patton, Michalann Harthill, Ann Strong, Katherine Alben, Mike Miller, Jeff Stoner, Charlie Peters, Bob Carlson, and Ed Santaro. Bob Carlson will put together a presentation for the January Board meeting to describe how volunteer monitoring could be incorporated into the Boards activities.

Board support from EPA and USGS as outlined in CWAP is minimal. The Board needs to find additional sources of funding from: federal partners - NRCS, FS, NOAA, Dept. of Commerce (Dave Gustafson has a list of contacts), DOD, DOE (Herb to get name of Idaho QC programs chief from Rob Henry and contact); perhaps CRADAs or IAGs for compendium/database population; World Bank - training or other development funding (Larry Keith will try and get names); private and states can lobby CWAP congressional supporters and for CA congresswoman bill (Cliff to provide contact information); World Health Organizations? Send Fact Sheet to congress and senate? Need to work with EPA and USGS congressional liaisons.

Board Representation

Delegate and Alternate vacancy needs - Native American representative, Department of Energy representative, Several State representatives, DOD - Navy, Department of Commerce, World Bank, Tennessee Valley Authority, Rural Water Group, Association of State Public Health Laboratory Directors, Colorado State Lab (Ron Cada-sp??), Association of Environmental Authorities.

Everyone needs to carefully consider which work groups to get involved with. As more workgroups are formed it would be easy to get spread to thin if not careful about involvement.

Long Term Minimum Detection Level

Bill Foreman of the USGS, National Water Quality Lab, Methods Research and Development Group made a presentation on development of a new approach to reporting analytical detection levels. Bill provided a handout of his power point presentation. The presentation is accessible from the Boards website. URL:

Currently there is confusion regarding detection levels. The objectives of this project were to develop a generally accepted consistent, statistically based, procedure for establishing detection and reporting levels for low-concentration environmental data. A non detection value (NDV) is set at least 2 times the LTMDL (an information rich limit, established for each instrument over an extended range of concentrations for a minimum of 24 samples) for each element so that there should be less than 1% false negative and positive detections. The plan is to implement the LTMDL approach at the NWQL during FY 98 and FY99 and to provide documentation on the NWQL website.

The NWQL would appreciate Board technical review of the LTMDL reports upon completion. It was suggested that the reports should be sent to the NELAC quality systems committee for review as soon as possible. This effort is similar to what Larry Keith called reliable detection limit (RLB) in 1991. The most serious limitation noted by the Board was that the approach does not address matrix effects adequately.

Board Representation and Workgroup Formation

The Board will be divided into three groups to help with email dissemination. One group will be comprised of delegates, alternates, Chuck Spooner, John Klein, Jerry Diamond, and Charlie Peters. This group will get all email. The second group will include the first group plus workgroup members. This group will get all meeting and conference call announcements as well as pertinent workgroup information. The third group will include all those in the second group plus any individuals who have expressed interest in board activities. This group will only receive Meeting and conference call announcements, agendas, minutes. The email archive set up on the Boards website is available to share information about specific topics for discussion. Emails will be linked to other emails with the same subject line. The email archive can be used like a chat room to work towards resolution of assorted topical issues prior to consensus decisions.

The email address for the website archive is By replying directly to any email in the archive your response email will be linked via the thread index in the archive. Charlie will forward pertinent emails to the archive for comment.

Board members should consider which workgroups they participate in. Currently most of the Board members are a part of the PBMS workgroup. Some members may want to reconsider their role in that workgroup so that they can devote more time to one of the other workgroups being formed. The workgroups that are being formed are Field and Lab accreditation, Nutrients, and Biology. The current workgroups are PBMS, Database/Compendium, and Outreach. Board members are urged to consider time availability and select the workgroup(s) that will provide the greatest contribution to the Boards efforts.

National Water Quality Lab Tour

Gary Cottrell led about ten Board members on a tour of the NWQL facilities.

National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation

Merle Shockey, Barbara Erickson, and Bart Simmons updated the Board on the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC). These three individuals are involved with NELAC and provide a good link between the Board and NELAC.

Merle has unofficially been appointed the Department of Interior representative to NELAC. Merle attended the last meeting and indicated that the USGS needs to be involved at a much higher level than previously. The USGS is discussing the need for NELAC approval for the NWQL. Several USGS District offices (currently 6-7) would like the NWQL to have the NELAC stamp of approval, not state by state approval as it is currently. EPA and USGS are discussing how best to achieve national NWQL certification. EPA office of Drinking Water and the USGS Branch of Quality Assurance (BQA) currently review the laboratory and it's methods annually. Barbara recommended that the NWQL might want to pursue EPA regional certification, however, the EPA regions are leaning towards the NELAC accreditation approach. USGS wants the accreditation sticker on the door. The BQA accredits laboratories that do work for the USGS. USGS should complete its assessment of need for accreditation (Bart and Barbara may be involved in these discussions). The results of those discussions should be provided at the October Board meeting and a Board recommendation obtained.

Barbara has served on the performance testing committee since the start of NELAC and has recently been appointed the Arizona representative to the on-site assessment committee. Initially NELAC accreditation was to ensure comparability of data between approved labs. NELAC is a voluntary program. EPA uses NELAC approval as a means to help insure that statutes are followed. Twenty states have applied for approval, 10 states have been approved. NELAC audits are inconsistent. States pay for NELAC approval - there is resistance to seeking approval due to costs and impact on State statutes. Not adequate reciprocity available due to small numbers approved. Commercial labs don't care about reciprocity and many are too small to be able to afford it. EPA is not coordinated on how to utilize NELAC approval. A national law may need to be written to move primacy to NELAC. Industry is becoming more involved in NELAC decisions. The judicial system may not be flexible enough to accept PBMS and a loosely defined accreditation system.

Bart suggested that a link to NELAC be provided from the Boards website. There is a June annual meeting for voting on NELAC standards. There are interim meetings for committee work. The NELAC structures and standards are arranged into six chapters on their website. Chapter 5 is most pertinent to Board activities and is intended to be compliant with ISO 25. Chapter 5 is currently more stringent than ISO 25. An advisory board (ELAB) oversees NELAC. There are a number of other standing and ad hoc committees and sub committees. California has an accreditation program that is fairly broad. Fees are an issue with the CA program as well. EPA regional staff and NELAC members form a 4 - 5 member team that reviews laboratories for accreditation. Hope is that eventually there will be national standards for lab accreditation. Jerry Paar chairs a NELAC sub committee on PBMS that will attempt to incorporate PBMS principles into the NELAC standards eventually. Bart is a member of that sub committee. The issue of PBMS has been put on the back burner by NELAC because it has been viewed as a "show stopper". Bart chairs a field measurement ad hoc sub committee. The sub committee is interested in standards and certification. A survey of NELAC members indicated broad interest in field measurement standards, but less interest in individual accreditation. Probably will move towards accrediting organization methods. An issue paper that will outline an approach to developing field standards is in preparation for presentation to ELAB. Hope to prepare a set of standard methods for organizations to use even if they do not receive official accreditation. Air sampling standards are the furthest along. There is currently legislation proposed in California for a gold standard accreditation. Concern that NELAC does not currently represent a "gold standard".

The Board needs to show its support for the NELAC efforts. The Board needs to stay abreast of NELAC work to be sure that the Board agrees with the standards being set. Perhaps the Board could promote a two tiered system (Gold and Silver standards) that would be more feasible for smaller labs to comply with. Currently some labs do no QAQC. The Board should not duplicate NELAC but rather provide a position paper for all issues the Board feels are important - PBMS, gold/silver standards, LTMDL, compendium, etc. The Methods Board should look into an official position on ELAB. The board should have Jean Mourrain (director of NELAC) present her views on NELAC at a Board meeting. All Board members should become familiar with what is on the NELAC website.


Bill Battaglin and Ed Furlong presented the current state of the DuPont CRADA effort. The CRADA concerns analytical methods development for several classes of new pesticides in water samples. These pesticides are applied at extremely small concentrations (gram per acre) and the range of toxicity for various plants ranges over seven orders of magnitude. Their use has tripled in the 1990's - currently 66 million acres of use compared to 43 million acres for Atrazine. Highest overall concentrations in water samples found this year. Overall, however, a general decline in median concentrations since 1989. Method detection limit is 5 to `15 parts per trillion, recoveries are about 80% with good linearity between 5 and 1000 ppt. About 200 samples analyzed to date. There are some problems with matrix enhancement for some analytes and these differ between GW and SW. An external calibration approach and sequential isolation has helped correct this problem. The fact sheet describing this effort is available from the Board website. URL: The Boards role is to review significant products. The Board would like an approximate schedule of when these products will be available for review. The Board should look into the possibility of using a CRADA to help fund either the nutrients or the Compendium workgroup efforts (Larry Keith should talk to Larry Fradkin).


Board meetings should focus more on workgroup efforts. Workgroups should attempt to do a lot of their work through email and conference calls between Board meetings. Board meetings should continue to include some technical presentations. Biology and field aspects need to start moving forward. Outreach needs to continue and become more effective.

Future Meeting Information

The next Board meeting will be in Reston Virginia at the USGS Headquarters Office on October 26th and 27th. The National Monitoring Council will meet in Reston on the 28th and 29th. The morning of the 28th will include a Methods Board update to the NMC. A draft agenda for the overview has been provided to John Klein.

A Board meeting will be held in the Phoenix, AZ area the last week of January 1999. More detailed information about this meeting will be available in October.

The National Monitoring Council workplan goals teams (includes the Methods Board) will be holding their first meetings prior to the October NMC meeting.

Board conference calls will typically be held on the third Wednesday of each month at 3 PM EDT (if lines are available). The next two conference calls will be on 9/16 at 2 PM EDT and 10/14 at 3 PM EDT.

Workgroup conference calls, when required, should be scheduled separate from the Board's monthly conference calls. Herb can help arrange those calls through the EPA office in Cincinnati.

Attachment 1.

Interagency Methods and Data Comparability Board

August 12th, 13th, and 14th Meeting Agenda

USGS, National Water Quality Laboratory

5293 Ward Road, Arvada, CO

August 12 -- Workgroup Meetings

0830-1100 Compendium workgroup meeting (Larry Keith)

1100-1130 Lunch Break (order in)

1130-1700 PBMS workgroup meeting (Andy Eaton)

1830-2200 Rockies game (dinner at game) (optional)

August 13 -- Board Meeting

0830-0850 Welcome/Introductions (Merle Shockey, Herb Brass, Charlie Peters)

0850-0920 Prior minutes and action items report (Charlie Peters)

0920-1000 NWQM Conference and NMC meeting (John Klein)

1000-1015 Break

1015-1045 Next NWQM Conference (Robert Ward)

1045-1145 Work Group reports (Larry Keith, Andy Eaton)

1145-1230 Lunch (ordered in)

1230-1400 Workplan discussions (Herb, Merle, Charlie, John Klein)

1400-1515 Board representation and workgroup formation (Herb, Merle)

1515-1530 Break

1530-1700 LTMDL discussion (Bill Foreman)

1900 Group Dinner (optional)

August 14 -- Board Meeting

0730- 0830 Lab tour (Gary Cottrell) (optional)

0830- 0930 NELAC discussion (Merle, Bart Simmons, Barbara Erickson)

0930- 1015 Communication and Outreach (Bob Berger)

1015- 1030 Break

1030-1115 Communication and Outreach (continued)

1115- 1215 Working lunch (ordered in)

1130- 1230 CRADA presentation (Bill Battaglin, Mark Burkhardt, Ed Furlong)

1230- 1245 Roundtable discussion (Herb, Merle)

1245- 1300 Wrap-up, future meeting info (Merle, Herb, Charlie)

Attachment 2.

Methods Board Action Items 9/1/98

High priority

Proposed agenda (Board overview, PBMS, Compendium, and Outreach workgroup reports, approval of Reservoir Dog) sent to John.

Medium priority

Probably will be presented at January Board Meeting. Perhaps Mike Miller will present a part of this.

Board website ID has been changed to "methods" and password to "nocarp99"

Low priority

Oneida and Menominee Nations contacted, still need to contact Great Lakes Tribal Council, Red Lake Chippewa Tribe, Nevada Indian Environmental Council, Lower Colorado Consortium (Gary has a name with CERT), etc. Delegate Profiles will be sent and a delegate selected. -Charlie

PBMS Workgroup

High priority

Jerry has sent a draft to Andy for inclusion in version 3.0 of the reservoir dog.

Barbara has sent a review of Arizona's legal concerns. Conference call arranged for 10/14 at

3pm EDT.

Version 3.0 has been prepared and is on the website for further review.

Medium priority

Low priority

Compendium/Database Workgroup

High priority

Proposed name "The National On-line Environmental Methods Summary Database and Compendium" (NOEMSDC). Approved

Proposed purpose " To allow rapid comparison of critical parameters of methods (e.g., analytes, instrumentation, matrices, interferences, sampling, sample handling, and data quality) for use with methods selection and/or method modifications and data comparability (e.g., for compliance monitoring, ambient monitoring, PBMS, risk assessment, litigation, and research)." Approved

Ann has provided 39 methods from the Corps of Engineers, Bart has provided 31 for the

State of California.

Present at October Board meeting. Perhaps Phoenix group work on NWIS should also be presented.

Medium priority

Low priority

Larry checked and it is not pertinent to lab effort. Will be pertinent to field component.

Outreach Workgroup

High priority

Fact Sheet is at USGS CAPP undergoing camera ready prep for printing, distribution list file has been created, need additional distribution input: Ann (COE ), Charlie (NELAC from website). Printer will distribute near the end of October.

Medium priority

Draft slide show will be complete by end of September.

Laboratory and Field Accreditation Workgroup

High priority

Medium priority

Merle --- do you want me to wait until we have a tape of this presentation? Should I be working with Bill on a tape or just get the PPT Presentation out?

Low priority

Provided in ACS newsletter. Charlie will put on website.

Nutrient Workgroup Action Items 9/1/98

High priority

Low priority

Attachment 3.

Minutes of the August 12th Compendium/Database Workgroup Meeting


Herb Brass, Merle Shockey, Larry Keith, John Klein, Cliff Annis, Michalann Harthill, Bob Carlson, Rick Creamer, Jack Rowe, Steve Posavec, Brbara Erickson, Rob Henry, Ed Santaro, Mike Miller, Gary Cottrell, Charlie Peters, Pete Rogerson, Katherine Alben, LeRoy Shroeder, Chris Ingersoll (by phone), Bob Berger (by phone), Giles Miller (by phone)


Purpose of Compendium/Database

Fields of Information - Chemical, Biological, Microbiological, Lab and Field

Search Parameters - Chemical, Biological, Microbiological

Next steps

Larry Keith provided a handout that included a proposed purpose statement, fields of information, and search parameters. Handout also included printouts of two methods from the current WPI methods database.


Discussion of purpose of compendium- Initially a compendium (hard copy with information on methods) was suggested. Recently this has changed to an on-line database. The terminology of compendium/database should be used. The highest ITFM priority was to produce a prioritized list of methods requiring comparability assessments. Currently full methods are available on CD rom and diskettes from EPA for some methods. The EMMI database has brief methods descriptions. We want something in between these two extremes (1-2-page methods summaries) that include the critical information required to make a decision regarding the method to use based on data quality objectives.

Straw Dog Purpose Statement- To allow rapid comparison of critical parameters of methods (e.g. analytes, instrumentation, matrices, interferences, sampling, sample handling, and data quality) for use with methods selection and/or method modifications and data comparability (e.g. compliance monitoring, ambient monitoring, PBMS, risk assessment, litigation, and research).

Discussion - Need to have a prioritized minimum number of methods (recommendations provided by ITFM) that includes meta data to support decisions throughout the country. Databases currently available (EMMI, etc.) should be referenced and described. Define the users for the database (EPA, states, lawyers, universities, etc.) - Outreach workgroup needs to get the word out about the database. The purpose statement should include "widely distributed". Training should be encouraged in the position paper

Proposed name - The National On-line Environmental Methods Summary Database and

Compendium (NOEMSDC). Compendium will include validated methods. Proprietary methods can be listed but all info won't be available. Methods should be open to review to be included in the compendium.

Fields of Information

Proposed chemical fields - Method number, Method Source, Method Title, Applicable matrices, Method Summary, Interferences, Instrumentation required, Precision, Accuracy, Method detection limit (and how concentration determined), Applicable range, Sampling method, Sample preservation, Maximum holding time, Sample preparation, QA/QC requirements, Technical contact information, Reference source, Chemical name, CAS number. See Board website link to WPI website. If use the WPI site we need to discuss the implications of using that site.

Discussion - How do we deal with matrix effects? The database should contain a rationale data field for specific methods. Terminology should be defined - A subgroup will be formed to develop a glossary (data comparability, ruggedness, MDLs, for all fields of information, meta data, etc.). Add percent recoveries for different matrixes, measurement quality objectives (MQOs), reference samples, meta data required, ruggedness, short method title (agency method number, instrument, description). How will sampling be included in the database? Include individual methods - DQOs will include a list of specific methods used (sampling, sample handling, analyses, etc.). Some of this measurement of methods system will be covered by the NMCs database management group under the meta data fields.

Proposed sediment toxicology fields - Method source, media, duration, endpoints, organism name - scientific and common, cultured organism, life stage, water quality, temperature, chamber size, water renewal, feeding, number of organisms, control survival, light quality, photo period, minimum number replicates, round robin, reference toxicity tests. Provided a table format.

Discussion - Add to the sediment toxicology list for effluents, etc. Add a method summary similar to what has been done by Larry for chemicals. The compendium should have pointers to more detailed method descriptions. Chemicals should also provide the tabular format. Add a method update date column. Add a test reproducibility, and organism sensitivity field.

General discussion - Similar efforts for field chemical, biological, and microbiological and lab biological and other media toxicology need to be developed. Resources must be made available to maintain the database. Compare chemical fields to USGS database fields. Field methods group should define what a method summary is (i.e. meta data).

Search Parameters

Proposed fields - Method reference, chemicals, CAS number, government program, accuracy, precision, keywords, data fields, methods source (need to address method copyright issue - usually a fee charged, summary prepared by board, links via internet to summary pages).

Discussion - Provide links between methods and precision/accuracy information. Short method title should be consistent to allow searchability.

Future Work

Prepare a workgroup workplan that includes - What will be done, the products, timelines, data control and evaluation, resources needed, outreach. How will database be populated, how maintained, where maintained? Should be OK on WPI site since has same objectives as Board and is a non-profit. Biology group - Miller, Yoder, Diamond, USGS NAWQA. Microbiology group? Field Chemistry group - Charlie, Larry Shelton, various states. Get the info out and get additional input.

Attachment 4.

Minutes of the August 12th PBMS Workgroup Meeting


Herb Brass, Merle Shockey, Andy Eaton, John Klein, Larry Keith, Cliff Annis, Michalann Harthill, Bob Held, Bob Carlson, Rick Creamer, Jack Rowe, Katherine Alben, Steve Posavec, Barbara Erickson, Pete Rogerson, Mike Miller, Rob Henry, Gary Cottrell, Ed Santoro, Bart Simmons, Glenda Brown, Jan Jablonski.


Discuss liability issue


Review and revise reservoir dog

Test reservoir dog table on Phosphorous

What's next

The reservoir dog was distributed


Discussion - Where will liability lie under PBMS? With the EPA, states, laboratories? The regulated agency will remain responsible for the quality of their data. No different than today. Has EPA ever been challenged over a method? Under PBMS the lab will have to certify that the method works. Currently they don't have to prove method performance. There is an audit system that checks whether method employed properly. Under PBMS the DQOs would need to specify what is being permitted. Herb Brass will set up a conference call between the EPA general counsel (Steve Sweeny), Jan, Barb and the AZ legal folks to further discuss the liability issue. Should primarily consider water quality in these discussions. Fraud, bad methods, primacy of data are all issues. Who decides what method is better or if methods are comparable? Performance criteria will look at precision, accuracy, calibrations, etc. to determine if method meets DQOs. Board will provide a position on this issue. NELAP is also dealing with the liability issue- they have concluded that liabilities won't change. California uses a peer review requirement. Before a regulation is proposed the scientific basis must be demonstrated relative to ability to sample and analyze for. Bart will get a copy of the California approach to share with EPA.


NOAA - obtain an electronic copy of the mussel watch trends document for the website.

FDA - Develops and validates a method. Community reviews method, then it is approved and filed with FDA. Major changes to method requires revalidation, approval and filing. Minor change requires review. APOC validation process is used - extremely rigorous.

ACS project - Larry provided a handout on the ACS wastewater approach. Used Measurement Quality Objectives (MQOs). Criteria that the method is sensitive enough to quantify any analyte at the project decision level. Decide what precision and accuracy is needed to meet the needs of a specific project. If no method is available to meet these levels then determine if method can be refined or revise the MQOs.

Discussion- Ambient monitoring is a different animal - need to do as good with best precision and accuracy, and lowest detection limits as possible. USGS defines a major method change as when data is expected to be affected by a change. Report to best achievable when methods aren't available for the specific matrix (i.e. sulfide in Puerto Rico). PBMS is really for regulatory not status and trends. However, if close to the detection limit in regulatory arena this is important. When labs provide an MDL that is always exceeded by several orders of magnitude PBMS is most applicable. NELAC will be making a recommendation regarding PBMS - what are key elements, legal defensibility, and flexibility. Both groups going the same direction need to coordinate so as not cover the same ground. Pesticide Program uses PBMS approach. Contact Brian Cooke and arrange an OPP presentation. Add a link to the NOAA Mussel watch page.

Reservoir Dog

Suggested changes - Add definitions of terms- subgroup (Merle, Larry, Jan) to provide. Add DQOS and/or MQOs. Add background and context for a broader audience - Jan. Add discussion of ambient versus compliance monitoring - Jerry. Expand the explanation of prescriptive methods as they relate to PBMS -Jerry. Use the terminology-validated methods rather than reference methods. Provide a discussion of how EPA proposes to use PBMS - Jan. don't cite NOAA approach because some state people might have a negative response. Use pre-notification not pre- approval of methods. Support streamlining or a phased transitional approach to implementing PBMS. Include discussion of training needs. Include discussion of communication needs. Replace MDL with project decision level. Need MDL for ambient. Add false positives and negatives to table. Specify method blanks and duplicates better in table. Definition of verified technology to make it clear that black box approach is not allowed - Bart. Define what method-defined parameters are.

Test Table for Phosphorous example

Valid methods being compared - OK

Deviations described - OK

Method Blank results - How many are needed? Number and size of false negatives and positives dictated. False positives must be defined. Use project decision level not MDL.

Reference sample results - choose to mimic the matrix and test method changes.

Prepare statements for consideration for each of these items.

Spike results - document what types of spikes and how they are prepared. Spikes also must mimic matrix.

Ruggedness- CH% in NELAC covers this.

Surrogates - not applicable.

Cal checks - use multi point or single point as appropriate.

Add to table or discussion - Is this a method-defined parameter? Identify each parameter method and laboratory.

Sample data results - not appropriate. Belongs in a separate generic table, results of raw data.

Interference checks- check if appropriate and what for specific matrix.


Sampling and preservation - Show that methods appropriate.

Add in - definition of matrix (stream, lake, clay presence, etc.). Streamlining document describes matrix and media.

Add in - need for DQOs and required precision and project decision level.

Future Work

Revise reservoir dog

Board review and revise again.

Prepare cover letter and transmit to NMC liaisons and NMC.

Present to NMC at October meeting and obtain approval.

Liaison with NELAC.

Manage Transition to PBMS.

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