Data Validation of a Superfund Site

Association of Construction and Development
January 2, 2013 — 1,576 views  

A superfund site is a land which is contaminated with toxic and hazardous waste materials. These sites are also placed on the NPL (National Priorities List) that contains the details of polluted sites in the United States, which require immediate clean-up. There are around 1,000 such sites in the US, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

After a site has been declared as superfund, technical data regarding the site is collected. This data helps to characterize the site conditions, assess the level of risk to humans and the environment, and determine the nature of the waste. The technical data that is obtained is validated so as to ensure that the data is of enough quality to support the decisions which are mentioned in the project plan.

Purpose of Data Validation

The purpose of this validation is to assess the usability of a particular sample and analyze the results which are important in the decision-making process. The data validation practices should be tailored in such a way that they meet the site’s or the project’s quality requirements.

An engineer involved in data validation should be familiar with the objectives stated in the planning documents and should also need to identify the documents which are to be included in the validation process. The data validation processes which are usually practiced in a high priority contamination site are explained below.

The Preparatory Phase

The preparatory phase in the validation process involves the review of planning documents of the project. After this, data verification records and the verified data, which includes analytical data and field data, should be collected. This is necessary to ensure that the data validator has a full set of information required to perform the validation. The data validation will begin once the appropriate records are obtained and the project needs are identified.

Field Activity Data Validation

The person in charge of the data validation should get a clear idea about the sample collection needs, after reviewing the documents related to field activities and data collection. Following this, the field records should be thoroughly evaluated for consistency. The information obtained from the quality control team should also be thoroughly evaluated. The deviations from the standard requirements are then summarized, and its impact on the quality of data is determined. The details regarding the samples collected are also summarized and finally, a field activity data validation report is prepared.

Analytical Data Validation

Aside from field activity data, the data which is obtained from analytical laboratory activities also needs to be evaluated. The data validator should have a thorough knowledge about the project requirements and needs which were supposed to be fulfilled by the analytical laboratory.

As the initial step of analytical data validation, the data to be evaluated and the planning documents should be assembled. The data verification records are to be reviewed to know the method, contractual and procedural, and required quality control compliance/no-compliance. The verified samples should be then collectively reviewed. The QC deficiencies and data should be summarized and their impact on the overall data quality should be reviewed. Following this, one should assign data validation qualifiers and then prepare the analytical data report.

Focused Data Validation

A focused data validation is an investigation of records identified by the person in charge of the validation. This will eliminate the need for reviewing the data again. This process also ensures that a data user can get an overall idea of the validation, before using the data.

Association of Construction and Development