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Air Testing, Soil Testing & Water Testing in Bay Area

General Questions

Q: What certifications does Torrent have?

A: Torrent is currently certified by the State of California under Certificate #1991, to perform a wide variety of EPA approved methodologies that cover soil, water, product and air analyses in Volatile, Semi Volatile, Metals and General Chemistry.

We are also in the process of obtaining AIHA certification for a variety of Industrial Hygiene analyses. Samples are currently being accepted under our provisional certification.

Q: What documentation is required for Torrent to accept samples?

A: Torrent accepts samples via a legal document called a Chain of Custody (CoC).  Requested analysis are listed on the CoC and are relinquished to the laboratory for analysis through a series of signatures.

Q: What is a Chain of Custody (CoC)?

A: A Chain of Custody (CoC) is a legal document that is initiated by the client that acts as the formal request for specific analyses to be performed by the laboratory.  The CoC contains all of the information required for the clear understanding of what is expected by the client and, once accepted by the laboratory, what is being agreed to be delivered by the laboratory to the client.  The CoC contains information including the identity of the client, whom can receive reports, where the reports are to be sent, what turn around time (TAT) is required for the report, how the samples are to be identified, how many containers are being submitted for each sample, what parameters are being required for testing and signatures from the client giving the samples to the lab and a return signature from the laboratory that the samples have been accepted by the lab.

Q: What if the changes or additions are needed to the signed chain of custody?

A: The CoC is a dynamic document and may have no changes through the life of the document or may have many.  Any requests for changes or deviations from what was originally accepted must be documented with either an email or FAX request from the client.  Those requests then become part of the CoC and will be included in the final report submitted to the client.

Q: Does Torrent provide Chains of Custody?

A: Yes, Torrent can provide two types of CoCs.  The first one requires customers to write each test requested on the lines provided.  On the second CoC, the most commonly requested tests are already listed so customers can check the test(s) desired for their various samples.  More

Q: Do I have to use a Torrent CoC?  

A: No, many clients have their own CoCs that they prefer to use.  Most are perfectly acceptable and contain the same information that Torrent’s CoC contains.  However, Torrent does not accept any responsibility for special instructions that may appear on these CoCs that are outside what Torrent would consider normal policy and procedure.  When accepting a CoC other than Torrent’s, the laboratory is only agreeing to accept the samples into the laboratory.  A review of the requests and instructions will be made and the Project Management department will contact the client BEFORE work is to begin if any part of the CoC is unacceptable.  These circumstances are extremely rare but do happen.  The actions taken are to protect both the client’s expectations as well as the laboratory’s liability.

Q: How do I get my samples to the laboratory?

A: If you are planning to drop your samples off, Torrent’s daily sample receiving hours are from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM.  If you are located in the greater Bay Area, we also offer a courier pick up service at no extra charge as long as we have a minimum four hour window.  If outside of the Bay Area, we have accounts with both California Overnight and Federal Express.  Just give our PM department a call and they will provide you with the necessary information to have your samples shipped to us at our cost.

Q: Does Torrent accept samples after hours or on the weekend?

A: Torrent’s normal business hours are Monday – Friday form 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM PST.
By pre-arrangement, staff can be available to receive samples as early as 7:30 AM and as late as 10PM during the normal work week.  We are closed on the weekends but special arrangements can be made in the event of an emergency situation or through a pre-planned schedule managed by the PM department. Please contact our Project Management department for details.

Q: How does Torrent define Turn Around Time (TAT)?

A: Torrent offers many TAT options.  Our standard TAT is 5 – 10 business days and TAT starts from the moment the samples are received by the laboratory or by a laboratory representative.  Faster TATs are available from 4, 3, 2, and 1 working day.  When choosing these options, your report will be delivered to you in pdf format via email or  FAX by the close of  business on the day it is due.  Torrent also offers Torrent Express service where, depending on the limitations of the analysis, results can be delivered in as little as 2 – 8 hours.  Please contact the PM department for the surcharges that apply to TATs less than 5 – 10 business days.

Q: How do I know which method to request?

A: Generally a regulated site will have specific methods that are required for the analyses and will also let you know when substitution of equivalent methods are allowed.  When there is no specific method required, the laboratory will default to Best Available Technology (BAT) methods that are accepted industry wide and meet the detection limit requirements of your project.

Q: What are hold times and when and why are they important?

A: In order for your data to be defensible to a regulating authority or in a court of law, analytical procedure and/or laboratory sample preparation procedures such as solvent extraction or distillation must adhere to hold time requirements.  The purpose behind holding times is to ensure that the sample is analyzed for the requested parameter prior to any bio-degradation, oxidation, precipitation, sorption, volatilization, and other physical and chemical processes that may occur that can affect the integrity of the sample.


Q: Does Torrent provide sample collection containers?

A: Torrent supplies all water sample containers at no additional charge to the client. Suma canisters and all supporting flow controllers and gauges are provided for Air sampling when arranged at least 48 hours in advance.  Tedlar bags are also available but we do charge $10 per bag.  The only containers we do not provide are Brass, Stainless Steel and Acetate sleeves  as well as soil method 5035 (Encore) sampling kits.  Please contact the PM department if you need assistance in locating a supplier for sleeves or 5035 sampling kits.

Q: How do I get my containers?

A: You can fill out the sample bottle request form found on our website or contact our PM department.  All containers are shipped via California Overnight  or can be picked up at our Milpitas Office. For large bottle orders, we ask for a minimum of 2 days to fulfill the request but, in special circumstances, can have bottles express delivered by a courier service for a nominal fee.


Q: How do I know what type of container I need for collecting my samples?

A: Our sample bottle request form lists the containers and recommended sample volumes.  Remember that some parameters can be combined together in one sample container so please contact the PM department if you would like to know what can be “mixed and matched” or, if you know what you need, enter it in the request form


Q: How do I determine the water sample volumes required for my requested analyses?

A: While each method gives a suggested sample volume, due to improved technologies the actual volumes necessary may be much less than previously needed.  Additionally, methods are written as though only a single parameter is being collected while in the real world you may be sampling for several parameters which can be analyzed from a single volume.  If you contact the PM department at the laboratory and let them know what parameters you need tested, they will be able to provide you with the correct collection volumes and containers. 


Q: When should samples be preserved at the time of collection versus at the laboratory?

A: There are very few parameters that require immediate preservation as long as the samples are received by the laboratory within 24 hours of collection where we will preserve the sample upon receipt.  Torrent prefers to send unpreserved containers whenever possible for several reasons: it reduces possible accidents in the field to personnel unfamiliar with working with acids and/or caustic materials, it allows for fewer sample volumes to be taken in the field which reduces possible contamination and, it ensures that the samples are preserved to the correct pH once they are received at the laboratory.

Q: What about those parameters that do require field preservation?

A: Whenever there is a requirement, Torrent will provide pre-preserved containers that are clearly marked with the type of preservative used and for what parameter it should be used for.  Examples of these are – VOC analysis  which are almost always collected in HCl preserved vials, and Total Sulfides which are collected in NaOH/Zinc Acetate preserved bottles.  When in doubt, call your Torrent PM and they will be happy to assist you.


Q: Does Torrent analyze Storm Water samples per NPDES requirements?

A: Storm water analyses are part of Torrent’s routine services.  Our sample control department can put together kits that will meet your exact storm water sampling requirements.  Just notify us prior to the beginning of the season (October 1st) and we will make sure you have all the necessary bottles in order to be ready  when the appropriate storm water event occurs.


Q: I am being regulated by the city and/or county to monitor our waste stream.  Can Torrent supply the analyses being required?

A: Torrent has participated in helping clients with their monitoring requirements for over 10 years.  If you provide us with the information from your regulator we will make sure all of the correct  parameters are sampled in the correct sampling containers .  Our PM department will send reminders to you when your next SMR event is scheduled and arrange, at your convenience, to collect and/or pick up the samples so that you receive your data in time to meet your reporting deadlines.

Q: Can Torrent take the samples for me?

A: Torrent can assist you in the collection of some water samples in a limited capacity.  In situations where self monitoring is required, our trained sample technician can arrange to take the necessary samples from designated sample points.  In cases where a water composite sample is needed, Torrent can provide the equipment necessary to collect the sample correctly over the composite time stipulated by your regulator.

Q: Does Torrent analyze Wipe samples?

A: Yes.  Torrent analyzes and reports wipe samples for a wide variety of analytical methods.  We can prepare your wipes with the proper “wetting” agents to ensure that the parameters you are testing for are samples and retained properly.

Q: How are wipes reported?

A: Final results for wipes are reported as ug/wipe.  The data that is submitted to you is what was found on the wipe which can only be calculated as “x” per wipe.  There is no simple conversion form ug/Wipe to typical ppb or ppm units of measure.  For more information regarding the calculation of wipes and what the data means to you, please click on the NIOSH link provided.

Q: What is the proper way to take a wipe sample?

A: How you take your wipe sample is critical to the data from the wipe being of any use to you.  NIOSH has set up wipe sample protocols that, when followed, will return the valuable information you require.  The wetting agent on the wipe used to collect the samples; the techniques of “up/down” and “side to side” swiping of the wipe, and the measured area over which the wipe is taken are all critical factors.  For the NIOSH method of wipe sampling, refer to 'Sampling Guidelines for Wipes'.

Q: Can Torrent analyze raw material and/or product samples?

A: Yes, but it is important to discuss the project parameters with our Project Management department prior to submitting the sample so that we can ensure that what you are expecting is what we can deliver.  As a regulated enterprise, it is important for Torrent to understand and control the nature of raw or neat materials that may enter our controlled environment.  Torrent also needs to minimize any contamination issues that could result from highly concentrated sources.  With prior planning and contact with Project Management, nearly all situations can be accommodated to the satisfaction of both the laboratory and the client.

Q: Does Torrent analyze samples that are not strictly “environmental” samples?

A: Yes, Torrent has the ability to provide consulting and analytical services for a wide variety of  parameters outside of those that are classically considered as  “environmental”.  We have an entire department designated as Special Projects which is specifically designed to assist clients in a variety of ways including R&D support, failure analysis, method development, etc.  For information regarding Special Projects, click here or contact Mukesh Jani, at mjani@torrentlab.com.

Q: How do I receive my report?
 
A: Torrent prefers to send your report through email as a pdf document.  Fax copies or hard copies are available but must be requested on the Chain of Custody (CoC) or a pdf will be submitted as the final document.

Q: Does Torrent provide EDD and EDF files?

A: Torrent can provide your data in a variety of EDD formats – from a simple Excel spreadsheet to a high level EquIS format.  For a nominal set up fee, Torrent is also able to produce client specific formats if one of our existing formats does not fit your needs.

EDFs for submission through the Geotracker system are also available.  Please provide you Global ID and your LOGCODE information of the Chain of Custody and an EDF will be generated at the time of your report submission.  For work orders that are complicated due to multiple dilution requirements, EDFs may  follow the report by 2 to 3 days.  Please contact the Project Management department for more detail about both EDD and EDF packages.

Q: What does Torrent’s report format include?

A: A standard report includes: A signed cover page describing the work received and number of samples involved; a case narrative describing events outside of normal procedures during the sample receiving, preparation, analysis and reporting stages or special instructions followed at the client's request; the data section of the report including results for parameters tested; the sample IDs, detection limits, QC Batch numbers and any comments specific to the samples; a Quality Control section that demonstrates Torrent’s adherence to the methodologies used in determining the result reported; a copy of the Chain of Custody (CoC) received with the samples; and any correspondence requesting action to be taken outside of the information found on the originally received CoC.

Q: Can Torrent provide client specific reports?

A: Torrent can tailor reports to reflect any special reporting requirements including project specific detection limits and/or QC reporting requirements.  Just contact our PM department with your specific needs and they will take all the information required to provide you with the report that you require.

Q: What units will my data be expressed in?

A: Normal default units for water analyses are mg/L or, in the case of Volatile and semi-volatile method, ug/L.  Some general chemistry parameters, such as pH or Conductivity (Specific Conductance), are expressed in units unique to the analysis.  Normal default units for soil/oil/bulk analyses are expressed as mg/Kg or ug/Kg.  If you require units other than our default units, such as ppm or ppb, please let our Project Management team know via the CoC or through contact via email or phone and they will be happy to accommodate your request.