Call the Bat Phone
Analytical results generated by laboratories are used for a variety of compliance, investigatory, monitoring and legal matters. While many of Environmental Standards, Inc.’s clients rely on our Consulting Chemistry Group’s expertise to perform rigorous third-party data validation, in our 30+ years of operation, data users often call 610-935-5577, aka the “Bat Phone,” when they receive analytical results that they were not expecting or that just “do not make sense.”
Those data may have been generated for compliance (i.e., NPDES permits), long-term monitoring or regulatory split sampling where results are disparate, to name a few. Too often, investigators merely have their consultants collect another sample and have it reanalyzed; in other words they go out and spend money in order to disprove their own suspect initial data set. Unfortunately, even in the best case where the second set of data now makes sense, the investigator is left with two conflicting, formally reported data sets, oftentimes produced by the same laboratory. This situation leaves the investigator in a situation to explain and justify how and why the first data set should be ignored or discarded, and they cannot simply say, “I don’t like the results.”
Environmental Standards’ Consulting Chemists routinely perform real-time, deep-dive reviews into analytical records (e.g., raw data, logbooks and related documentation) in order to verify or debunk the reported results. In a number of cases, our Consulting Chemists have demonstrated that the initial data set was wrong or otherwise misreported for a number of documentable reasons such as switched samples, mislabeled samples or source-identified contamination. Oftentimes when this occurs and the reporting laboratory reviews the findings of our deep dive, the analytical laboratory will rescind the initially reported, suspect data or revise the results reported in the case of documented misreporting.
While Environmental Standards’ Consulting Chemistry Group performs data validation, laboratory audits, environmental forensics and quality oversight of our clients’ contract laboratories, this real-time data quality “Bat Phone” has evolved to be one of our more popular service offerings. For more information, call the “Bat Phone” to contact Rock J. Vitale, CEAC.
Rock J. Vitale
Technical Director of Chemistry
This article is brought to you by Rock Vitale. For more information you can reach him at