Email Us       |      Client Login

Brownfields Grants and the Importance of Third Party Data Validation

I don’t know about you, but I go for quality. Polyester pillows? No, thank you. Cardboard toilet paper? No way. A spouse who won’t help around the house?…you get the picture.

brownfields and the importance of data validation: time/cost/quality triangle --> choose two!
Choose two!

By virtue of using brownfields grants to investigate or remediate property, one is using public fund$. Taxpayers want assurance that their money is being well spent. They want quality. The brownfields grantee wants assurance that property redevelopment decisions are based on data of known quality. No grantee wants to design and promote a property for a particular use, only to find out the data were of poor quality, or worse, they have potentially put public health at risk.

Understandably, most brownfields grantees do not have the experience to discern that a good laboratory is being used or if a data set is any good. In almost every case, the grantees’ consultant selects the laboratory to be used, and often times the selection is based on price. A common response is, “If the state certified the lab, they are good enough, right?” Sadly, wrong.

According to a May 2014 US EPA OIG report, EPA Has Not Implemented Adequate Management Procedures to Address Potential Fraudulent Environmental Data; one in seven laboratories audited had cases of severe improper procedures. In October 2014, a West Virginia laboratory manager admitted to fraudulent activities over a five year period. Because of these and other cases, third party data validation is now necessary and required. Someone needs to be checking the quality of the data.

How is third party environmental data validation different? Third party data validation is a data review performed by an entity that is not the owner, did not collect the samples, and did not analyze the samples. The intent is for there to be no conflict of interest and to give an unbiased assessment of the data quality. For the end user, the grantee, the data will have a known and documented quality.

If you are a brownfields grantee or data user, ask the following questions:

  • What State and/or Federal Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) am I operating under and what is the scope of data validation required?
  • Who is selecting the data validator and what is the validator’s relationship to the project?
  • Is the data validator a chemist with documented experience?
  • Can your consultant explain, in terms you understand, the data validation process and how it affects the usability of your data?
  • Are you sleeping well at night?

If you answer “I don’t know” or “no” to any of the above, please give Environmental Standards, Inc. a call. Our team of quality assurance chemists can answer your questions and ensure that your brownfields data are of a known quality and usability.

Data quality services offered by Environmental Standards include assistance in laboratory selection, third party laboratory audits, third party data validation, designing client dedicated analytical technical specifications, QAPP development, sampling consultant selection, consultant evaluations, quality assurance of sample and field data collection, field audits, and training.