The field Chain-Of-Custody (COC) record is a document that we are all very familiar with. They are used daily while collecting water, wastewater, air, stormwater, and many other types of environmental samples. The COC provides a mechanism for tracking samples from the moment of collection, through analysis, and final disposition. This document is necessary to ensure that data is legally defensible and submissible to courts and government agencies. COCs may also serve to document and communicate sample collection details, field data, and requested analyses to the laboratory. To ensure quality control, EPA and states require certified laboratories to have written standard operating procedures describing acceptance of samples to include complete COCs.
The format of chain-of-custody forms are numerous and every laboratory, water utility, and sampling team(s) has their ‘preferred’ form that suits their specific needs. Generic and customized COCs are often designed and printed using word processing or spreadsheets, or may be generated from LIMS or other database applications.
In addition to recording required sample collection information – such as date, time, location, sampler and signatures, most COCs also provide space for recording field measurements. Field data may include chlorine residuals, temperature, pH, conductance, and other visual observations. While important, this data is often not captured and reported unless entered manually into LIMS by the laboratory staff.
NJBSoft developed SAMS (scheduling monitoring and analysis software) modules for water, wastewater, air, industrial pretreatment, and other applications to help streamline sampling. Generating chain-of-custody forms within SAMS modules is a value-added feature utilities are now using. NJBSoft ‘gets it’ and doesn’t force utilities to use standardized COC formats. Instead, forms are tailored to the utilities needs. Capturing field data is simplified and may be entered manually into SAMS after samples are collected, or by using smart phone and/or tablet devices while in the field, or by other unique ways preferred by the utility. Smart device applications developed by NJBSoft now allow users to seamlessly update field data “online” and transmit it to their SAMS account. This allows managers and technicians in the field to see the new data populated in real time and ensure all the water quality compliance related activities are already performed and working. NJBSoft’s vision is to “Provide global software solutions while incorporating local requirements for Utility Compliance and Data Management.” Let us know how we can help with your unique sample collection needs. Give us a call at 602-759-1905 to discuss how we can help to streamline your data.