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Executive Summary

Final Minutes from Meeting

Methods and Data Comparability Board

January 25th and 26th, 1999

Phoenix, AZ


A total of 35 participants attended the meeting either by phone or in person. Federal agencies represented included EPA, USGS, ACOE, DOE, and DOD. States represented included Virginia, Delaware River Basin Commission (New Jersey), Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio, Connecticut, and New York. Other monitoring interests represented were ASTM, Standard Methods, AMSA/East Bay Municipal Utility District, Eastman Chemical, Chemical Manufacturers Association, Montgomery Watson, Hach, Tetra Tech, Waste Policy Institute, SMi, Dynacorp, and Kent State University.

Biology Workgroup Meeting

Discussed changes to make to the workplan, including prioritized near term objectives and resource issues. Discussed progress in each of the four sub-groups. Each sub-group will continue to refine methods using a tabular format similar to the immunoassay table.

Nutrient Workgroup Meeting

Jack Rowe (SMi) presented information on the state of knowledge for nutrient ion specific electrodes. In general, available electrodes are only sufficient for qualitative presence or absence determinations. Discussed workplan objectives and resource needs. Primary objectives are to research nutrient methods and develop a position paper that will provide information for NEMI, PBMS and regional nutrient criteria.

NEMI Workgroup Meeting

Discussed various alternatives for building and housing NEMI. Larry Keith described the WPI pilot EMSD database, Jim King and Marion Thompson described the pilot EMMI database, and Harry House described the functionality of Oracle as a housing mechanism. A subgroup was put together to develop recommendations for proceeding with NEMI development.

NCOD Presentation

Chuck Job presented information about the National Contaminant Occurrence Database. The database has a drinking water focus and includes data from about 70,000 drinking water systems across the country. The NCOD includes 84 regulated and 48 non-regulated contaminants. The database includes 11 meta data elements and proposes 9 more. The Board agreed to involvement in a new Workgroup to help better define the necessary data elements for the database. The NWQMC’s data management workgroup will also be involved in this effort. The workgroup will be chaired by Chuck Job.

PBMS Workgroup Meeting

Discussed recent changes to the position paper and final comments for inclusion in position paper. Position Paper will be submitted for ACWI approval and revised for submittal to ES&T. Results from ACS pilot study on PBMS should be used to design any Board PBMS pilot study, results will be available this summer. Next workplan objective to address - define the format of DQOs and MQOs to produce useable data under PBMS.

Volunteer Monitoring Presentation

Geoff Dates and Linda Green described volunteer monitoring. Volunteer monitoring techniques vary over a wide range and can be quite sophisticated depending on training. The Board should work with the Volunteer support groups not the individual monitoring groups. Most frequently monitored parameters by volunteers – Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Macroinvertebrates, Phosphorous, Nitrogen, Flow, Turbidity, Secchi, and Bacteria.

Workgroup Reports

Accreditation Workgroup reported that NELAC reviewed the workplan and provided comments. Workplan tasks were discussed - coordination of Board with NELAC; USGS, NWQL accreditation; and a position paper on accreditation.

Public Outreach Workgroup Described workplan tasks and stated that public website will be the focus. A questionnaire will be sent to the Board and Council soliciting feedback on the proposed public website .

Board Activities

Workgroup members will review the integrated draft workplan and provide comments, specifically regarding task priorities and resource needs. Action items were reviewed. The steering committee will review the current Board delegates and alternates rotation and discuss at next meeting. The next Board meeting will be in Cincinnati, Ohio the week of May 10th, 1999.


Minutes from Methods Board Meeting

January 25-26, 1999

San Carlos Hotel, Phoenix, AZ



Katherine Alben - NY Dept. Health/SUNY

Harold Ardourel – USGS, WRD

Richard Ayers – VA DEQ

Bob Berger - EBMUD/AMSA

Herb Brass - EPA

Bob Carlson - Kent State

Gary Cottrell – USGS, WRD

Jerry Diamond - Tetra Tech

Andy Eaton – Mont. Watson/Std. Methods

Michalann Harthill – USGS, BRD

Rick Dunn - Hach

Sam Stribling – Tetra Tech

Chuck Job - EPA

Larry Keith – WPI / ACS

Dave Gustafson – Hach

Chris Yoder – OH EPA

Fred Banach – CT DEP

Harry House – USGS, WRD



Changes to Attachment 1 - moved NCOD discussion to 830-930 (Tuesday), moved PBMS workgroup start back one hour, and moved Workgroup reports to 1500-1600 (Tuesday).

John Klein – USGS, WRD

Barabara Erickson – AZ Dept Health

Donna Francy – USGS, WRD

Tom McAninch – Eastman Chemical/CMA

Mike Miller - WDNR

Stan Morton - DOE

Charles Patton – USGS, WRD

Ken Pearson - ASTM

Charlie Peters – USGS, WRD

Jack Rowe - SMi

Ed Santoro - DBRC

Merle Shockey – USGS, WRD

Chuck Spooner - EPA

Ann Strong - ACOE

Marion Thompson - EPA

Robin Nissan - DOD

Jim King - Dynacorp


Biology Workgroup Meeting

Review Workplan Goals and Objectives

Participants suggested the following changes in the Workplan:

There was discussion of adding a 4th objective to the workplan concerning determining comparability of different biological approaches. The current workplan identifies the objective of determining "comparability of different biological methods" but the sense of this objective is to compare different methods for the same parameter (e.g., benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage assessment, Daphnia acute toxicity, fecal coliform abundance). The new suggestion is to develop ways to determine the comparability of information obtained using different types of biological methods and perhaps to develop an expert system or decision tree to guide the user to the types of methods most appropriate to their resource questions and DQOs. It was agreed that the workgroup should first concentrate on developing a compendium of methods including method performance characteristics, if available, and then later work on developing an expert system.

Participants agreed that the workplan was generally acceptable given the above changes. The workplan should also acknowledge that there needs to be links with EPA’s EMMC biology workgroup to learn from their activities and use their experience. Also, resources for this workgroup need to be firmed up and prioritized given limited funding in FY 99. Perhaps a proposal could be prepared on the user interface or database or some product that we could attempt to get funded by AWWA, or WEF, etc.

Overview of ITFM Biology/Field PBMS Framework

Jerry gave a brief overview of the information given in the ITFM Technical Appendices concerning field and biological method PBMS frameworks. Charlie will put these appendices on the Boards’ web page under the Biological Methods Workgroup.

Appropriate Database Fields and Metadata for Biological Methods within NEMI

Each of the current subgroups within the Biological Methods Workgroup gave a brief summary of their progress to date, specifically with regards to their thinking on database fields needed.

Field Methods

Sam Stribling gave a brief summary of the current draft biological population/assemblage database structure. The database would consist of two database "layers", the first one being more protocol-oriented (e.g., RBPs, NAWQA, EMAP, Ohio EPA protocols, etc.) including relevant information on the general types of sampling, subsampling, taxonomic, and analysis methods used. This table would also have fields relating to relative effort or expense involved, rigor of the method, and possibly programmatic or research questions that can be addressed by that protocol. The second "layer" of the database includes more specific information on the individual methods that make up different protocols (e.g., different types of sampling devices, mesh sizes, ways on which sampling gear are employed, subsampling techniques and number of organisms subsampled, taxonomic identification levels, etc.). The utility of this layered database approach is that the database would need relatively infrequent updating. The field methods group still needs to better identify the major metadata fields that should be included in the "protocol layer" and begin examination of a pilot database to evaluate the utility and appropriateness of the database fields.

Charlie will try and get a copy of the NAWQA interagency workgroup report on the website. Jerry will get Charlie his NABS report to put on the website. If anyone knows of other compilations like these they should get them to Charlie for the website. Charlie will talk to Marty Gurtz about getting involved with Workgroup.


Donna Francy recently agreed to participate with the Board and had a discussion with Gene Rice (USEPA) prior to the meeting. Donna and Gene suggested concentrating on human health-related methods including:

There was some discussion as to which sub-group microbiological methods belonged (i.e., biomolecular, organism, or population/assemblage methods). Donna suggested that the workgroup organization should reflect monitoring goals perhaps as opposed to the type of procedure or organism. For example, one could have toxicity/pollutant assessment, ecological/population/community assessment, and fecal contamination/pathogens (microbiological, human health) to reflect different over-arching goals of monitoring. Jerry suggested that the current organization structure in the workplan is adequate but that we have for the time being, set up subgroups for method areas in which we thought we could get a good start on our objectives. Once we have a pilot biological methods database, it should not be a problem to arrange them or categorize them in a number of ways: by organism, procedure, or monitoring goal.

Charlie will get an electronic copy of Donna’s table for the website.


Katherine presented a draft database structure including several immnoassay kit methods and those included in USEPA’s Office of Solid Waste program. Similar to the Field Methods current database design, Katherine used two "layers" or databases, one concerning general method quality and the other concerning data quality specifications. All agreed that both the layout and suggested database structure are very good starts. It was noted that decision criteria need to be identified and documented regarding how a method is characterized for data fields such as "analytical confidence" or "monitoring application". A similar observation was noted for the Field Methods database concerning fields such as "relative rigor" or "ecological complexity".

Charlie will get Katherine’s power point presentation and her handout for the website. NEMI subgroup was previously formed to develop a glossary. That subgroup should proceed with glossary development.

Whole Organism Toxicity Testing

Chris Ingersoll (USGS) was unable to attend the meeting. However, he had previously prepared a fairly extensive table characterizing many invertebrate toxicity test methods. The database fields are fairly specific concerning the different methods (e.g., test chamber size, temperature, etc.). As of yet, no method performance fields have been included and this needs further discussion. In some ways, the existing table is similar to the more detailed methods "layer" in the Field Methods subgroup.

Next Steps


Nutrients Workgroup Meeting

Ion Selective Electrode Methods

Jack Rowe (SMi) provided a handout of his powerpoint presentation. Charlie will get a copy for the website. Currently available probes do not meet most field range, accuracy and resolution needs for nitate or nitrite. Miniature spectrometers are about 5 times better than ion selective electrodes, however, these don’t necessarily work to the advertised criteria in the field and have problems with bio-fouling during longer term field employment. Realistically the nitrogen electrodes can only be used to detect presence or absence and relative concentrations. First generation specs for nitrogen mini spectrometers look promising and should improve with time. No phosphorous ISE probes are currently available. There are first generation phosphorous spectrometers available. Fiber optic probes and sensors are an emerging technology that may be available for more analytes and provide improved detection levels. Federal labs and NASA, etc. are doing some work on these technologies, however, this is going pretty slowly. A documented need would stimulate this development. Field probes can’t currently get anywhere near lab analyses, however, it is progressing. Forums are available to verify the technologies.

any available sensors. No sensors currently available for total phosphorous or phosphate. How should the Board incorporate probe technology in the compendium? Should be in there, but at this point may need to say won’t work in the field, may provides some general trends, but won’t quantify and becomes bio-fouled easily. In compendium make sure that the matrix is discussed (may work in lab with clean water). Accuracy and precision should be discussed relative to matrix in the compendium. Data qualifiers available for only about 25% of EPA methods, and those only developed in clean matrix. Methods need to be tested in numerous matrices, including spike recovery. How do we fill in these fields for any method or technology? Utility of methods need to be described - Why, when, how use these. Goal based monitoring or volunteer monitoring - DQOs. Interview field people (ie. a guestbook of ideas). Method summaries should provide an indication of applicability and what needs to be tested. Manufacturers can provide some of this information. Start from manufacturer recommendations and build. Add a recommendation to this compendium - what you need to do to make this method produce legitimate data. Perhaps include a good laboratory practices page - section 9 of EPA. QAQC guidelines. This could be in the expert system for each set of methods.


Discussed objectives:


NEMI Workgroup Meeting

Alternatives for Building and Housing NEMI

Two method summary databases exist, EMMI and EMSD. EMMI is an EPA product that is built using Delphi software. EMSD is a WPI product built using Access. Another option is to build a new database using Oracle software. Oracle (context package) allows a combination of standard queries and theme searching. Oracle (context) can search from full methods in electronic format, however, only about half the methods are currently available electronically. Building in Oracle (context) would still require a person to clean up the summaries. Another option is to continue to build EMMI and EMSD and port to Oracle later. We also need to determine where NEMI should be housed long term.

Presentations and Discussion about EMSD, EMMI, and Oracle.

EMSD is already started and can have about 45 methods in one year for $100K. EMSD has all 26 data fields the Board feels are needed. Could use EMSD as the database and populate it from EMMI , WPI has volunteered as non-profit to build and maintain. Provided an example of what is on EMSD for some analytes and compared to what is in EMMI for the same analytes. EMMI included no information on how MDLs were calculated. Interferences are typically not included in EMMI unless they are a significant weakness of the method. This is important for comparison. EMMI database was built for a different purpose. The NEMI needs to be a consensus product that is overseen by the Board. EMSD will provide Board ownership, will EMMI? If decided on Oracle WPI would maintain theirs until Oracle was up and running. There are 1000s of methods but only 100s are primarily used, EMSD is built in Access which is large enough for a database this size.. EMSD will provide a table of "meta data" that describes method performance capabilities. A search mechanism for method comparisons for instruments, etc. could be developed for EMSD.

A handout was provided on EMMI. Charlie will get a copy for the website. EMMI was designed to explain to the public how EPA methods relate to criteria for legislation. User can compare methods against regulatory limits. 700 water methods with 21 of 26 NEMI suggested data fields. The other 5 could be added when info is available, workgroup would need to establish rules on how to determine precision and accuracy, etc.. EMMI is a relational database designed to allow considerable growth. EMMI is in the Windows environment. There is a stand alone version of EMMI that runs on local hard drive - available from NTIS on DOS since 1992, thousands of copies are in circulation. DOS version is not very user friendly. Basic search has been added to the internet prototype (see website). Prototype can access the full text of EPA water methods. Prototype Biology screens have been developed. By July 2000 final internet version with all Board data fields. Prototype hosted on Dyncorp server at no costs. The stand alone and internet versions provide some utility. Internet deployed applications sacrifice 50% functionality relative to a stand alone system. Internet deployed system is more dynamic. The update compilation can be built transparent to the user. Internet deployment advantage is platform independent. Better off downloading to do sufficient queries. Internet prototype has been developed in the last 1/2 year. Complete populating in window version in 1/2 year. New data fields can easily be put in - relational database, so can just add to the table. EMMI has been incorporated into the new STORET. Include all methods compliance and ambient - most methods in it are guidance. EMMI would accommodate any changes the Board recommends. Any database can be ported or read directly by another database or spreadsheet. Board can help define what is in EMMI and what it looks like. Board has to make distinctions between quality of data. They will support us with the database if we want to provide the info to them. Consensus organizations update methods every couple years, how does EMMI handle updating? As a new method comes out, software is updated. How present copyrighted methods? Could provide a link to organizations websites to get more of the info, EMMI will include only an abstract. 4449 abstracts exist - includes all methods available. EMMI workgroup reviewed precision and accuracy strawman, Marion will provide us with this information. Board should compile a strawman series of options on how best to include these fields Concerns with where resides, especially regarding controversial fields - ruggedness, precision, etc. What if EPA doesn’t agree with that way of handling. How will that be resolved? Use EMMI as jumping off for NEMI then it becomes the Boards product. Biology screen has 400-600 biology methods, would need to redesign this for our needs.

Wisconsin District only available for one part of the project - storage and delivery of data using Oracle. Oracle runs on Windows, Sun, etc. Access only runs on Microsoft. Oracle can migrate EMMI or EMSD design very easily. Money spent on those designs would not be lost. Delivery platform is important. Cost next to nothing to modify design, migrate database, set up end user access and context use, about 15K if data is clean. Would have to load one of the databases (EMSD or EMMI) into Oracle and resolve data integrity problems. District has Oracle experience and experience using the internet to distribute data, no learning curve. Abstract tools and data warehouse currently available, those are 40 to 50K tools. It is always best to use a high end tool to browse or serve data. Oracle is the industry leader, Amazon, Yahoo, etc use Oracle and Context. Nine of 10 largest websites use Oracle. Don’t necessarily need Oracle, Access can handle this database for quite some time, however, how long does it take to load data and develop query tools and functionality and what is the cost of developing that with less powerful software. The STORET database is also being built using Oracle. Where NEMI will be housed is important - USGS and EPA both standardize on Oracle. Internet supplied databases typically Oracle. Tool in context of where ultimately housed. Technology is dynamic and fluid. Need to look forward to where technology is leading us. Many methods not currently on-line, however, when they are put on-line Oracle Context will be able to query the method and can summarize what a document is about, short summary or a reading list, but most useful is that it indexes each individual phrase or a variety of indexes created previously so it can do a rapid search. If Context were used to search on-line methods, a significant proportion of the summary clean up will have to be done by others. Oracle Discover allows you to get at data in any database. This will be a powerful web tool that will allow searching of the database using a standard query or could allow a user to query the database in any fashion they like. Oracle could have 10,000 people hitting the database at one time. Ease of developing applications, and customizing pages. There would be a minimal cost to maintain database and to maintain licenses.

Next Steps


NCOD Presentation

EPA is developing a National Contaminant Occurrence Database (NCOD). A minimum set of data elements for water quality results is needed for data comparability. NCOD will accept data if it has these minimum data elements. Since the NWQMC and Board already provide a broad cross section of potential users they would like us to propose a list of core data elements and encourage its use. Chuck Job provided 2 handouts – a proposal/referral background, and a core set of data elements (a subset of the 114 that NCOD proposes).

Proposal is an approach that includes: developing a core set of data elements, presenting the data elements to the public, considering public input and communicating the need to use this set of data element. Chucks proposed core set of data elements is based on an ITFM Technical appendix. A list of individuals, about 1/2 of whom are not current Board members, were proposed to make up a Workgroup for this activity. The NWQMC workgroup on data management also should be members of this Workgroup. This may be a good vehicle to connect the Board to the Council. Would like to have something through public review during mid 2000. The NCOD database must be set up by August 2001, so 1 year to 16 months available to complete the Workgroup tasks. A workplan will be developed based on this proposal.

Discussion- Add a "range of method applicability" data element. There are 100s of possible data elements. Need to do some benchmarking (ITFM, NCOD, USGS, NAWQA, DOE lists). Don’t want the entire list just a common core list that ensures data quality for sharing. Focus on minimum required. A justification for the core set should be provided. Several elements should be combined into one when possible. Practicality of collecting this info must be reviewed to prevent data being thrown out because dealing with a rigid data elements system. This must be broad based benefit, not just EPA benefit.

Chuck will develop this Workgroup. Chuck will discuss with the Council tomorrow. PBMS and NEMI workgroups are both dealing with this issue, so will help address several needs. Should be coordinated with STORET and their layered data sets.


PBMS Workgroup Meeting

PBMS Issue Paper V.5.1

Jerry prepared a summary of changes made between versions 4.1 and 5.1. Charlie will put the summary on the Board’s internal web page.

Ken suggested that since the paper discusses disadvantages of a prescriptive methods approach, the paper should also include advantages just as it does for a PBMS approach. Andy indicated that many of Ken’s other comments were incorporated in the paper and that many of the advantages of a prescriptive approach, suggested previously by Ken, are actually advantages of using validated consensus standards organization methods. Ken and others agreed that the document is satisfactory for now. ASTM D19 committee is also looking at the paper.

Katherine suggested that it would be good to include examples of DQOs where the term is mentioned on the bottom of p. 6 of the document. MQOs are more commonly discussed and are included in the table in the document. DQOs are a bit more elusive to describe or define for many people. Larry Keith and Andy will look at this text and supply some keywords or examples. Is there something in the ITFM glossary?

Merle commented that the term "reference method" was still in the document in some places (e.g., Table 1) and should be changed to "validated method" to be consistent with the rest of the document and the philosophy agreed to by the Workgroup and the Board. Jerry will make the changes.

Marion Thompson commented that the Board needs to be careful on the terminology. A reference method may not be a validated method (e.g., some Office of Solid Waste reference methods), though the reverse is often true. After some discussion concerning the pros and cons of using the term reference method, the Board agreed that this term has too much "emotional baggage" and that it is primarily an EPA Office of Water term only. The Board’s perspective is necessarily broader than one agency or program and the current definition and philosophy of PBMS discussed in version 5.1 is believed to reflect the best science and the most reasonable approach available.

Barbara Erickson brought up the issue of liability and other challenges to PBMS identified in the issue paper. If these are not addressed in some systematic way, PBMS can not be implemented effectively. Who will address these issues? The Board? Jerry commented that ELAB and NELAC, in conjunction with EPA Office of Water, are specifically addressing implementation issues of PBMS (including liability issues) in a regulatory setting. One of the Board’s tasks, and the PBMS Workgroup specifically, is to coordinate efforts with ELAB and NELAC for this very purpose. All agreed that implementation issues need to be addressed by the Board. However, it is not yet clear what the Boards’ role should be in this regard. This topic needs more discussion by the Board as a whole and more input on what specifically NELAC and EPA are doing. Merle and others on the Board will be attending the annual NELAC meeting later this year and are on the agenda to specifically discuss respective positions on PBMS and coordinate efforts among the two groups. Herb also noted that EPA’s Office of Water PBMS Implementation Plan is due out in March of this year and the Board should examine this document when available. We also agreed that since there is another workgroup on accreditation which deals with ELAP already, they should keep the Board appraised of what is going on with regard to ELAB and liability.


Merle attended the NELAC meeting in Bethesda, MD in January and indicated that ELAB and NELAC have avoided the term "reference method" in all of their discussions and instead use "validated methods", in agreement with the Board. Merle and Jerry gave a brief summary of the Boards’ activities and comparisons between ELAB’s and the Boards’ PBMS issue papers. Charlie will put Jerry Diamonds comparison of the 2 documents on the website. Jerry Parr of ELAB expressed interest in seeing the Boards’ finalized paper and asked what will become of the Boards’ paper once it is finalized. All agreed that V5.1 is ready to share with ELAB with the communication that more information will be forthcoming concerning DQOs.

Publish PBMS Issue Paper

Andy and others indicated that ES&T expressed interest in publishing information about the Boards’ activities and perhaps the publication of the PBMS issue paper. Andy or Herb will follow-up with the editors of ES&T and all agreed that the paper needs some fine-tuning prior to submittal (e.g., comments or changes raised previously in these minutes and more complete references). Also, more information on EPA’s DQO process (i.e., 7 steps for formulating DQOs) needs to be incorporated into the document. Charlie will get a link to this and Herb will send Charlie the hardcopy. Jerry will work with Andy, Herb, and Merle on finalizing the paper for journal submission.

ACS Pilot PBMS Study

Larry Keith summarized the status of the ACS Pilot Study. He noted that it has been difficult finding labs willing and able to participate and who understood what was needed in this study. Three labs are participating, not the six they were hoping for, and the study is ready to go. Samples will be collected in February and sent to labs by the end of February or early March. Data are due back within 2 months. The project will be expedited quickly because the contract ends by summer 1999. Parameters to be analyzed include: PAHs, PCBs, herbicides, and inorganics. Matrices include water and two kinds of soil. Concentration levels vary from low ppb to hundreds of ppb. Larry noted that labs can change any part or all of prescribed methods as long as MQOs are met. DQOs were not really specified in this project.

A question was asked as to how one would judge success of the pilot? Larry responded that the aim of this project is to look for lessons that can be learned concerning implementing and evaluating a performance-based approach. This project will not be looked at as failing or succeeding. After hearing about the ACS pilot, the Workgroup agreed that the Board should not start developing a PBMS pilot of their own until we get results of the ACS pilot.

Workplan Priorities

Andy went through the list of proposed objectives for the workgroup in the integrated Board workplan developed by Charlie. Andy noted that the first 2 objectives (prepare PBMS issue paper and link with ELAB) have been accomplished or are in progress. The third objective, regarding NEMI coordination, will need more input from the NEMI workgroup before much can be accomplished on this objective. The next priority objective (#4) is: establish formats of required data under PBMS. This objective implies the need to define DQOs and link these to MQOs. Larry noted that he has a powerpoint slide show on the WPI web site that may be relevant to this objective. Charlie noted that WPI web site is already linked to the Boards’ web page. The Workgroup needs to review Larry’s slide show and also review EPA’s DQO information. Charlie will work with Jerry and others to link relevant EPA web sites and information with the Board’s web sites for Workgroup members to review. It was suggested that once the Workgroup has some ideas of how to define and communicate DQOs, and relate these to MQOs, perhaps we can then address metadata requirements as indicated in Objective #4.

There will be a superfund session at the WQTA conference in Washington in July to discuss how one goes from MQOs to a project plan and carrying out MQOs. This may be a good forum with which to link or gain information.

There needs to be a connection made between DQOs, project planners, data users, and data generators. We need to lay out an example illustrating these relationships. Herb indicated that he may have such an example from EPA’s ICR that he will share with the Workgroup.

Other Discussions

Ken noted that ASTM is very willing to assist the Board and indicated that D-19 is especially interested in the Boards’ activities and PBMS particularly. Ken indicated that he has had discussions with D-19 and that they would like to be able to share some of their thoughts on the Workgroup’s discussions. Ken also noted that ASTM committees have been working to get various performance characteristics required in their standards so they could be more easily used in a PBMS approach. ASTM is also developing a policy for validating manufacturer instrumentation/methods and getting these methods considered for standards approval. Ken noted that there are opportunities for collaboration between the Board and some ASTM committees in this regard.

Barbara suggested that some agency or organization at the federal level needs to take responsibility/liability for method approval under a PBMS. She noted that anything which contributes to individual harm or injury is subject to liability. Validation of methods is expensive as is training for education and auditing in a PBMS approach. Barbara pointed out that the FDA assumes the role of responsible party concerning method validation for the clinical field. Something similar needs to be in place on water monitoring methods as well.

Herb noted that the Board is charged with developing a workable framework, using good science, for determining data comparability. How do we transition from the "old" culture of prescriptive methods to the PBMS approach while still safeguarding against potential challenges such as liability issues? That is part of the Boards’ mission. Part of the transition involves outreach and education. The Board may need an outreach vehicle to publicize its view of PBMS. An article in ES&T would be one vehicle. Merle commented that the Board still needs to define the PBMS process better.

Next Steps


Volunteer Monitoring Presentation


Workgroup Reports

Accreditation Workgroup Report


Public Outreach Workgroup Report


Board Activities

Integrated Draft Workplan


Board Delegates

Next Meetings

Round Table Discussion




Attachment 1.

Interagency Methods and Data Comparability Board

January 25th and 26th, 1999 Meeting Agenda

San Carlos Hotel

202 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona


Meeting Goals:


January 25th, Monday

Workgroup Activities

8:00 - 8:30 Welcome/Introductions (discuss agenda)

8:30 - 11:30 Biology workgroup (workplan, NEMI fields, membership, pilot

11:30 - 12:15 Working Lunch

12:15 - 14:00 Nutrients workgroup (workplan, ion selective electrodes,

14:00 - 14:15 Break

14:15 - 18:00 - NEMI workgroup (EMMI, Oracle/Access, housing NEMI,

Group Dinner or other Group activities


January 26th, Tuesday

08:00 - 08:30 Introductions (agenda discussion)

08:30 - 11:30 PBMS workgroup (Workplan, v5.0 of Position Paper,

11:30 - 12:30 Lunch

12:30 - 13:30 Workgroup reports (those not meeting in Phoenix)

sheet, WI pilot FS, membership slide show, public website review,

workplan, excerpt published)


Special Presentations

13:30 - 14:30 Volunteer monitoring presentation

14:30 - 15:00 Break

15:00 - 16:00 NCOD data elements (review proposal and discussion)


Board Activities

16:00 - 17:00 Integrated workplan and budgets (includes budget

and resources discusion)

17:00 - 17:30 Board delegate and alternate discussions

17:30 Roundtable and adjourn


January 27th, Wednesday

NWQM Council Meeting

09:00 - 09:45 Welcome/Introductions

09:45 - 10:45 - Methods Board presentation to the Board - Herb and Merle

(present workgroup detailed workplans, products, progress,

budgets; others Board members available for comments/discussion)

10:45 - 11:00 Field trip overview/instructions -Wayne Hood

11:00 - 18:00 Field trip to Waddell Dam and Pumping Facility


Meeting call in number – 513-569-7897

Access number – 3881#

5 lines available throughout meeting


Attachment 2.

Methods Board and Workgroup Action Items 1/6/99

Board Activities

High priority

A revised draft integrated workplan is on the website for review.

Final October minutes are on the website. A draft of January executive summary, meeting minutes, and action list are also on the website for review.

Stan Morton (DOE) and Robin Nissan (US Navy) have joined the Board.

Herb and Charlie talked with Larry Fradkin and Tony Ingebritsen about CRADAs.

There is a table on the website for review.

A Workgroup has been formed with Chuck Job as the chair.

A strategy discussion has been prepared and is on the website.

Medium priority

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

Low priority

Oneida and Menominee Nations contacted, still need to contact Great Lakes Tribal Council, Red Lake Tribe, Indiana Health Service (Ellen Meyer), etc. Delegate Profiles will be sent and a delegate selected.

PBMS Workgroup

High priority

Andy and Lew will contact Jan Jablonski (EPA) to get a training presentation at May meeting.

DQO links have been made.

Medium priority

Merle, Harold attended and made presentations.

Low priority

NEMI Workgroup

High priority.

Medium priority

Low priority

Outreach Workgroup

High priority

Medium priority

Low Priority

Laboratory and Field Accreditation Workgroup

High priority

Medium priority

Low priority

Nutrient Workgroup

High priority

Low priority

Biological Methods Workgroup

High Priority

Gene Rice (EPA), Chris Yoder (OHEPA) and Donna Francy (USGS) have agreed. Bob Carlson will check with Laura Leff (KSU), Jerry Diamond will talk to Chris Faulkner, Chris Ingersoll will contact ASTM, and Charlie Peters will talk to NAWQA.

Medium priority


High Priority