New Guidance in New York State for Volatile Analysis of Soil & Sediment Samples

October 25, 2012

To York Analytical Laboratories Clients:

Please be aware that recent communication (10/15/2012) from the New York State DOH has provided current guidance from Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) on the collection of soil and sediment samples to be analyzed for Volatile Organics.

Excerpts indicating the requirement for EPA SW846 Methods 5035/5035A field preservation is as follows:

Low-level Collections:

Sample collection information (e.g., lab prepared VOA vial, EnCore, TerraCore, etc.) must be indicated on the chain of custody and lab report.  If samples are submitted with a request for low-level volatile analysis (less than 200 ug/kg), but have not been collected according to 5035 low-level specifications*, the lab must notify the client that the sample does not meet sample acceptance criteria and provide the client an opportunity to re-collect the sample.

If the client chooses not to re-collect the sample and proceed with analysis, the lab must qualify these results as “may be biased low due to the sample not being collected according to 5035-L/ 5035A-L low-level specifications.”
(See 5035A, sec 8.2.1.)  This will be done by a flag/qualifier affixed to the sample data.

High-level Collections (with chemical preservatives):

All samples following the high-level collection protocol must be identified on the chain of custody and lab report as collected in a water miscible solvent (such as methanol).  The reporting limit for a field-preserved sample may vary depending on the dilution factors, percent moisture, and the range of the initial calibration curve. (See 5035A, sec. 8.2.2.)

High-level Collections (without chemical preservatives): 

Any reported concentrations less than 200 ug/kg for samples collected without chemical preservation must be qualified as “may be biased low due to the sample not being collected according to 5035/5035A low-level specifications.”  The 200 ug/kg concentration may not be reduced (even if supported by the low end of the initial calibration curve) as this concentration is the limit for high level sample collection – not the analytical procedure.

The collection of samples without the use of a chemical preservative is appropriate for those samples or wastes suspected of percent level contamination. (See 5035A, sec 8.2.3.)

Please contact me with any questions or any additional requests.

NOTE: The proper containers are Encore samplers or preserved VOA vials.  Please call with any questions for the best option for your program.

Best regards,


Richard August

Director of Client Services
York Analytical Laboratories, Inc.

ph. 203-325-1371