Monitoring the Quality and Performance of Analytical Process Testing

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1 Monitoring the Quality and Performance of Analytical Process Testing Ken Middlebrook Manager, Proficiency Testing 1

2 What is Process Testing? Testing performed in support of water and wastewater treatment. 2

3 What is Process Testing? Performed using simple equipment (e.g., HACH). Requires rapid turnaround. 3

4 What is Process Testing? Often performed by operators. Testing is small fraction of responsibilities. 4

5 What is Process Testing? Critical in water and wastewater treatment performance. 5

6 What Process Testing is Not? Not necessarily the analysis required for certificate of approval (licence, code of practice). Generally not performed in accredited laboratory. Usually has minimal quality control. 6

7 Different Types of Testing Three basic types of analytical testing. Research testing. Routine analytical testing. Process (field) testing. 7

8 Different Types of Testing Analyst Education Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 8

9 Different Types of Testing Method Specific Experience Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 9

10 Different Types of Testing Cost per Result Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 10

11 Different Types of Testing Complexity of Equipment Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 11

12 Different Types of Testing Precision and Accuracy of Results Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 12

13 Different Types of Testing Level of Quality Control Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 13

14 Different Types of Testing Direct Impact on Minimizing Treatment Problems Research Lab Analytical Lab Process Lab 14

15 What is Proficiency Testing? Inter-laboratory testing of unknown samples. Performance is evaluated against facilities of similar nature or against regulatory requirements. 15

16 What is Proficiency Testing? An effective tool to improve analytical performance. 16

17 What is Proficiency Testing? More effective as part of third party audit system (e.g., accreditation, registration, licencing, etc.). 17

18 History Prior to 2000 Each province regulated water and wastewater systems. Operator certifications. Inspections Grandfathering. Cutbacks. No serious problems. Must be effective. 18

19 History Walkerton Contaminated drinking water. 7 dead >2000 ill. Inquiry makes 93 recommendations including, and all drinking-water testing should be performed only by accredited facilities. 19

20 History Post Walkerton All provinces reviewed and modified drinking water regulations. Most provinces now require proficiency testing and/or accreditation for drinking water testing. Process testing, for the most part, is exempt. Falls under operator certification. 20

21 What This Means Testing regulations have been aimed at identifying non-compliances after they happen, not preventing them from happening. Illness or environmental impact 21

22 What This Means Testing regulations have been aimed at identifying non-compliances after they happen, not preventing them from happening. Illness or environmental impact Regulatory non-compliance: E. coli in drinking water, high solids in wastewater, etc. 22

23 What This Means Testing regulations have been aimed at identifying non-compliances after they happen, not preventing them from happening. Illness or environmental impact Regulatory non-compliance: Process Testing Problems: improper dosing, improper testing, operator error, etc. 23

24 What This Means Quality assurance and quality control is in place for analytical testing laboratories but inadequate for process testing laboratories. Illness or environmental impact Regulatory non-compliance: accreditation, proficiency testing, comprehensive QC protocol, etc. Process testing problems: 24

25 What This Means Quality assurance and quality control is in place for analytical testing laboratories but inadequate for process testing laboratories. Illness or environmental impact Regulatory non-compliance: Process testing problems:operator certification, facility licencing. 25

26 Possible Solutions Ontario requires full accreditation and licencing for health related parameters. Process testing parameters must be performed by certified water quality analysts and must be performed in an accredited facility (standard yet to be identified). A regulatory and sometimes confrontational approach. Effective. 26

27 Possible Solution Alberta Laboratory Data Quality Assurance Policy requires data reported to AENV to be performed in accredited lab. Alternate program for process tests conducted in facilities. Acknowledges the importance of both PT and site assessments. Cooperative approach. 27

28 Possible Solution British Columbia Environmental Data Quality Assurance Regulation Requires labs reporting results to the province to use a registered lab. Registration involves participation in PT. Accreditation or third party assessment not required. 28

29 Possible Solution Laboratory Requirements Province Regulation PT 3rd Party assessment Ontario OSDWA, etc. Yes Yes Alberta LDQAP Yes Yes British Columbia EDQA Yes No 29

30 Possible Solution Process Testing Requirements Province Regulation PT 3rd Party assessment Ontario OSDWA, etc.?? Alberta LDQAP Yes Yes British Columbia EDQA No No 30

31 Alberta Alternate Laboratory Data Quality Assurance Program ACLAE Site Evaluations No initial evaluation required if facility only analyses for chlorine. Facilities with additional tests must successfully undergo initial site evaluation. Failure in two out of three proficiency testing rounds for a parameter will trigger a site evaluation. Proficiency Testing Analysis of samples twice per year. Failure triggers a set of follow-up samples. 31

32 Conclusions Data quality is maximized through combination of PT and accreditation. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have mandated laboratory accreditation and PT in one or more regulations/policies. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia have mandated PT. 32

33 Conclusions Process testing is the most critical testing in the treatment process. Alberta is the only province that has attempted to address process testing in legislation. 33

34 Prediction If properly implemented and monitored, Alberta s Alternate Program will result in a reduction in the frequency of water quality incidents. 34

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