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Analytical Quality Control Programs

Do you often ask yourself these questions?

  • Did I choose the right analytical laboratory?
  • The laboratory we chose appeared to be the best value for money during the tender, but how confident am I that the results their analysts are producing are accurate?
  • What evidence do I have that my instruments are being maintained or calibrated correctly?

These are questions that worried several of our customers before they asked to be included in AWQC’s Analytical Quality Control (AQC) Program . AWQC’s AQC Program provides an independent third party check of the accuracy of your laboratory. Given the important operational decisions which are made on the basis of analytical laboratory results, it’s important to have a program in place which assures the quality of your laboratory. Our AQC program has already provided considerable value to our clients in identifying analytical issues which would otherwise have gone undetected. Some of these issues have  resulted in laboratory equipment being recalibrated or removed, modifying  analytical methods and additional training  of analysts.

So what’s involved? AWQC provides you with AQC solutions containing analytes at known concentrations (see list of analytes below). These are provided at whatever frequency you require. The solutions prepared are randomly chosen from a series of seven different concentration ranges so that each round of AQC solutions may differ from the previous batch. All solutions are checked, verified, bottled and labelled with the name of the solution only (the concentration is not indicated). These blind solutions together with a reporting sheet and a chain of custody form are provided for you to send to your laboratory along with your routine samples.

Analytes Typical Range Unit
Alkalinity 29 - 3200 mg/L as CaCO3
Total Chlorine Residual 0.5 - 8 mg/L
Chemical Oxygen Demand 100 - 300 mg/L
True Colour 456nm 6.4 - 48 HU
Conductivity 580 - 3300 uS/cm
Fluoride 0.6 - 0.8 mg/L
Free Chlorine Residual 0.5 - 2.5 mg/L
Ammonia 0.4 - 28 mg/L
pH 7 - 9 pH Units
Soluble Phosphorous 0.12 - 0.18 mg/L
Total Hardness 50 - 145 mg/L CaCO3
Turbidity 0.2 - 160 NTU
N & P Containing Pesticides Various ug/L
Chlorinated Pesticides Various ug/L
Trihalomethanes Various ug/L

Upon receipt of the AQC solutions, you return the completed chain of custody sheet to AWQC and distribute the AQC solutions to your laboratory. Most clients will provide these together with their routine samples. The AQC Solutions are then analysed in the same way as the other routine samples. Once you receive the AQC solutions results, these can be electronically submitted to AWQC.

AWQC’s AQC laboratory carries out a comparison against the known concentrations and a report is issued advising you of the status of the results. If the difference between the measured result and the known result exceeds an acceptable level then a Code 2 “Warning” or a Code 3 “Out of Control” status is indicated.  Repeat AQC solutions can also be provided for rechecking. We can tailor the reporting to your needs with Trending graphs such as those shown below issued with the reports.

AQC2 AQC2

If you would like to take part in AWQC’s AQC program or would just like further information on how the Program may assist you please contact AWQC.