Instructions for the RPI Digital COC
For a very long time, we at RPI have been talking about automating the laboratory. The most important reason for this is to minimize the effort required to report analytical results and nearly eliminate the potential for errors. COC documents are an artifact from a time gone by and most people now use computers in the field or their smart-phone to assist with documenting sampling work. With current technology and practice in mind, we decided to move to an all-digital COC system. As you look at the new format, it is easy to notice we’ve made significant changes. Over the next couple of months, we welcome comments from our RPI-Group family and plan on revising the form accordingly.
Things that help us in the Lab: Although Bob is pretty good at holding VOAs up to the light and telling us what the COC concentrations are, the largest source of reruns is our poor ability to guess correctly. Reruns are one of the main causes for delays in you getting results. Site maps, historical data from other labs, PID values, soil-boring and monitor well locations and field notes are all helpful in speeding up the analytical process as they help to avoid unnecessary reruns or contaminating instruments. Soil samples are notoriously labor intensive. Knowing which samples must be extracted versus which can be analyzed directly is highly desired. PID values can clearly help but logs are also very helpful as they will provide historical data indicating hot zones.
Please attach any additional info that is readily available to the email containing the COC. It will always be welcome. This information can always be sent separately upon returning to the office.
Whenever shipping samples, please notify RPI by email or with a phone call so we know samples are coming and please provide us with the tracking number. This simple step will help to mitigate the stress created when samples do not show up as expected.
No Saturday deliveries: The lab is only staffed Monday through Friday. So, unless special arrangements have been made with the lab to ensure someone can be there to receive it, do not ship for Saturday delivery.
Description of Fields on the COC Form
- Logo: RPI understands that everyone wants to have documents displaying their information so we have left the top left hand corner of the document open for just this purpose. For illustration, AST’s logo has been left in as a place marker. This part of the form can be edited so you may add your logo and other company specific information as desired.
- Project Number: All of us would agree, tracking projects and making certain that sample data ends up with the correct project is essential. Historically, RPI has used store numbers, site addresses, or related descriptions for this purpose. At one time this was adequate however we now have too many samples arriving every week so a change is necessary. We assume that RPI-Group companies assign unique numbers to projects and it makes sense for us to use this identification. This will reduce the potential for creation of duplicate projects and ensure data does not get misplaced.
- Project Name: Related to project number (above), this will assist with uniquely identifying projects. Many things can be written here including store numbers, or a unique name. This simply becomes another way to confirm site identification. For example;
- John’s Full Service Station
- Project Manager/Email/Phone: What we want here is the client information, not the RPI-Group contact. Please identify the consultant project manager along with their email and phone number. There will be times when you may not know who the ultimate project manager is, but have always worked with a field manager. Provide us with what you have – it is appreciated.
- Lab Contact/Phone: Please email your digital COC to Kathy at the email address shown on the form. If you want to contact us for any reason, the phone number is also provided. We plan to set up a new mailbox available from our web site soon and will advise everyone when that is activated.
- Site Location: Address, City, State or Province, Country: RPI realizes that this may seem redundant however having several ways to verify project identity is a good thing so please add this information. Very often sites are in the middle of nowhere and an exact address is not known. In this case a site name and county road will suffice – for example.
- 117 County Rd 6, Nowhere-ville, Colorado
- Project Designations: For the most part, RPI runs a comprehensive set of analyses so there is typically no need for you to specify testing. We do need to know if Contaminant of Concern are chlorinated, hydrocarbon, and/or if diesel or heavy hydrocarbons are present to direct the lab work. It is also helpful to know if the samples are in support of the RDC or if they are post-injection. At this point we receive far more soil samples from quarantined regions than from unrestricted areas. Specific packing and shipping procedures apply to soil samples shipped from outside the country or from these quarantined regions and they are handled very differently in the lab. Please mark all designations that apply with an “x”. If you have unusual analytical testing, please note this in the comments area of the form.
- Shipping Information: Select a Courier and provide a tracking number. We have identified the most common companies and if you are not using one of those, please check the box for “other”. Tracking numbers are very important, particularly so when samples do not show up at the lab. If we have the number, you will not be involved in the fire drill.
- Sample ID: Sample names must be unique. Most naming conventions are alphanumeric including letters and numbers like MW-13 or RDC-01. If you have nested wells, please add another character to distinguish them and do the same thing if, for example, you advance a soil boring and encounter shallow refusal necessitating an off-set to obtain deeper samples. Most soil borings will have multiple depths where samples are collected. Please use the same sample ID for each of the depths – for example, do not use descriptors like, RDC-01a, RDC-01b, RDC-01c, etc. For every depth simply use RDC-01 or whatever the ID happens to be.
- If you are labeling samples with both letters and numbers, then there must be leading zeros with the numeric portion!
- RDC-1 must be RDC-01, MW-2 must be MW-02, SB-48 is SB-48. This is required even if historically the wells have not been identified with leading zeros.
- Note: There is no limit to the number of samples that can be added to this sheet, no additional excel sheets need to be created for large projects. The bordering of the cells goes to row 1000 that is cosmetic only.
- Finally, there is no need for blank rows for a break between different borings. You can use them if desired but it is not needed.
- Depth: This must be a discrete numerical value. Units should to be in feet or meters and is designated filling in the box as such.
- Date, Time: Provide the date and time of sampling. Sometimes in shipping labels become blurred because they get wet from ice or otherwise difficult to read and this information is often used to help identify the sample.
- Bottles /VOA/Jars: A total count of sample containers per sample.
- Matrix: Soil or water mark as a simple S or W RPI likes to get sample of NAPL whenever possible and for this case please use FP as the matrix designation. I think this is the only exception.
- Comments and Additional Sample/Site info: If you have PID data or any information as to the “Hotness” of a soil sample (e.g. odor, visible NAPL, relative position to wells or samples,) please denote the information in the Comments column. This column should also be used to identify unusual analytical needs or anything else worth noting. For example, “contains BOS” is always a good thing to bring to our attention when it comes to soil samples.