C&T Thought Leadership

Coming Soon: Seasonal Pricing

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in C&T Thought Leadership

With retailers chomping at the bit to offer discounts and begin the holiday spending season, we here at C&T are preparing for the doldrums of winter. As many of you know, and see in your own work, sampling in January and February is normally slow. In an attempt to jump start our year and help our clients be more profitable on winter specific work, C & T Labs is proud to announce new seasonal pricing (additional terms and conditions apply). Essentially, if you bring us samples from a project we’ve not previously worked on, and those samples come to the lab in January and February, we’re going to significantly cut pricing. The idea is to have a true business partnership with our clients, you help us by keeping our people busy when it’s normally slow, and in turn we help you save money on lab costs which ultimately helps the bottom line of any project. For specific details or pricing information contact me directly at 510.204.2236 or contact Carson Brown at carson.brown@ctberk.com STORMWATER WEBINAR On November 19th, C & T Labs will be partnering with GIS software firm Mapistry on a webinar entitled, “Managing Storm Water on Construction Sites: Discharge Sampling, Inspecting BMPs, and Maintaining Sediment & Erosion Controls” which is being hosted by SWS. John Goyette, Client Services Manager, will not only be presenting but will also offer his laboratory expertise to the panel discussion. The webinar will be a great “soup to nuts” introduction to storm water management and a fantastic refresher for those more experienced with the storm water regulatory process. As an incentive, all participants in the webinar will earn one Professional Development Hour (PDH). Please click here to...

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When you need the very best: Choose a DoD/DoE NELAP Certified Lab

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in C&T Thought Leadership

C&T is accredited to the highest standards of practice for environmental test and measurement laboratories. Our testing services are fully defined through reproducible processes that ensure accurate test data backed by recognized controls for monitoring results. Essentially, C&T is a lab that meets (and in many cases exceeds) the highest standards set by the industry, and has been recognized as one of the best in the California Bay Area by various auditing parties. Accredited labs provide trust and:  Value – accreditation assures data generated in conformance to standards of practice Confidence – that testing results are accurate and reliable. Acceptance – of test results by other users and regulators. Risk Management – by defined processes with comprehensive recordkeeping. California’s ELAP program, lacking a standard of practice and subject to an uncontrolled highly variable system of laboratory assessments, is necessary for regulatory acceptance of data and yet insufficient for ensuring credible defensible labwork is performed in the laboratory facility. Relying on a Lab that is only ELAP certified opens the client up to data validity risk. Supported by the US EPA and based on the international ISO 17025 standard, the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) is the consensus standard of practice for environmental labs in the US. The US departments of defense and energy extended and defined the NELAP standard (DoD/DoE NELAP) for their environmental test & measurements programs. C&T is NELAP accredited by CA ELAP, and to the DoD/DoE NELAP standard and ISO 17025 by A2LA and is your gold standard laboratory for data accuracy, integrity...

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Chromatography to the Rescue!

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in C&T Thought Leadership

Did you know that diesel and heating oil spills can sometimes be age-dated? If you want to know if a release was recent or if it occurred years ago, we can use chromatography to find out the answer, if the degradation of specific compounds follows known patterns. This type of information is often used to determine liability for clean-up or confirm that any release concerns are not the responsibility of a new owner. Here’s an example of this type of a challenge brought to us by a client. Challenge:  We were recently asked by a client to determine whether the diesel range hydrocarbons we detected in a sample were from a recent release or something older. The “weathering” of fuels in the environment can occur through evaporation, leaching or microbial action (biodegradation), all of which have different effects, but in this case the sample chromatogram represents the archetype of biodegraded diesel. Solution: Diesel is a mixture of hundreds of compounds. In the fresh diesel chromatogram below, each compound is represented by a peak along the x-axis. The prominent, evenly-spaced peaks represent the C10 to C22 n-alkanes. Those straight-chain hydrocarbons are the first to be digested by microbes, followed by the cycloalkanes and aromatics that together make up the majority of diesel. But there is another class of compounds called isoprenoids which comprise less than 5% of diesel. These branched alkanes have a chemical structure that inhibits biodegradation. In the fresh diesel chromatogram, two of these compounds – pristane (C-19 isoprenoid) and phytane (C20 isoprenoid) – can be seen just to the right of the C17 and C18 alkanes respectively. In the degraded diesel chromatogram below, the alkane peaks are not visible above the chromatographic “hump” of unresolved compounds. Instead, the prominent peaks represent various isoprenoids, including pristane and phytane. Christensen and Larsen (1993) famously developed a model to age date diesel and heating oil spills in soil that was based on the peak-height ratio of n-C17 to pristane. The n-C18/phytane ratio can be similarly compared. Those ratios start at approximately 2 in fresh fuel and fall to 0 after about 20 years. The method was developed using data collected from various European sites where the age of the spill was known and where the release had not been weathered significantly except by biodegradation. Results:  In this case, the C17 and C18 alkanes are not detectable above the hump, so the ratios are 0 and we can be confident that this was not a recent release. While this model won’t always be applicable, we work with our clients to help find answers to their particular challenge using the appropriate models and testing procedures....

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Do you know which soil test protocol to use? And when?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in C&T Thought Leadership

Curtis & Tompkins tests a lot of soil samples for leachable Lead using both the STLC and TCLP extractions. Have you wondered when you use one vs. the other? Or wondered why the results are often so far off from one another? In fact, it’s common for the STLC result to be ten times higher than the TCLP result. Why is that? There are three main reasons: 1. Sample to Leaching Fluid Ratio. The Waste Extraction Test (WET), used to generate a leachate for STLC determination, uses 50 grams of sample combined with 500 mL of leaching fluid (1:10), whereas the TCLP ratio is 100 grams to 2L of extraction fluid (1:20). With nothing else different, the TCLP result would be half the STLC concentration. More on those ratios below… 2. The WET extraction takes place over a 48-hour period; the TCLP extraction is 18 hours. 3. Most importantly, while both leaching fluids are approximately pH 5, the STLC fluid is more highly buffered, which allows it to remain at this pH for a longer time, in turn leading to a more aggressive extraction. Making the STLC & TCLP Decision Curtis & Tompkins has created a handy reference for review of your total metals results to see if you need to run STLC or TCLP, available here  on our website. The STLC extraction is called for when the total result is greater than 10 times the STLC regulatory limit; for TCLP it’s 20 times. Those are the same ratios of sample to leaching fluid described above. As an example, if we had a sample containing 40mg/Kg of lead (100% extracted into the leachate) and we wanted to check on the proper test, we could look on page 4 of the decision guide. There we see that we would need to run an STLC on lead (Pb) if there was more than 50 mg/Kg of lead in our sample. So, with only 40mg/Kg, lower than the regulatory level, there is no STLC needed. If you have soil samples that need testing and want some help, either check out the decision guide  or call your project manager at...

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25 years of DoD Service.

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in C&T Thought Leadership

For over 25 years, C&T has met the highest standards for the most demanding clients in the industry.    First the US Navy:  In 1987, C&T completed its first laboratory audit by Navy contractors and began laboratory testing to support clean up projects at the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, CA.  Our Department of Defense (DoD) work continued with site investigation labwork at the Hunters Point and Mare Island Naval Shipyards around San Francisco Bay. Then the US Army and the US Air Force: C&T was approved to provide services to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the spring of 1989 and for the US Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (AFCEE) in 1993. This month C&T celebrates its 25th anniversary providing analytical services for the DoD. A number of our key personnel, including the Lab and QA Directors as well as Client Services and Wet Chemistry Department Managers remain with C&T from 1988. Since that first project, C&T has completed hundreds of task orders, and today operates one onsite laboratory for the Navy and is completing 25 task orders at a dozen different defense sites in the Pacific and across the United States. Detailed reporting & accreditation: Today, as in the past, DoD labs must provide extensive electronic and paper reporting requirements including fully defensible third party validated data packages for all work performed upon request. Fortunately, DoD merged its USACE, Navy, and AFCEE programs creating the DoD Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) using the DoD Quality Systems Manual (QSM) as a standard of practice. Laboratories providing services to the DoD, must at their own expense, obtain accreditation services from one of four internationally recognized laboratory Accrediting Bodies (AB) performing conformity assessments to ISO/IEC 17025 the international standard for laboratory quality systems, as well as the DoD QSM. Due to deteriorating state-run AB performance eroding the NELAP program’s credibility, DoD-ELAP and DoD-QSM are today’s gold standard for laboratory quality systems and accreditation in the United States. C&T’s extensive experience providing environmental test and measurement services to the worlds most demanding clients is your assurance of...

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Update on Helium Shroud.

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 in C&T Thought Leadership

C&T designed and built the first commercially available soil gas sampling Helium leak detection shroud in 2011. This device quickly became the industry standard for its simplicity, ease of use and compliance to published standards. We thought about what we and our clients wanted: a shroud that is light-weight; easy-to-use; efficient and compact.  And so we designed and created a kit that included all materials necessary for a two-person crew to sample 8-12 soil gas wells under Helium in an 8 hour day.  This shroud has been recognized by all users as the easiest Helium leak detector device to use of all available alternatives. But, we didn’t stop there.  We’ve recently improved the design of our soil gas sampling shroud by incorporating a more compact sampling train and a pressure gauge that allows the sampler to verify the pressure between the train and the well to record measurementsdemonstrating compliance to CA Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) soil gas sampling advisory guidance. As of spring 2013, C&T’s shrouds have been employed sampling nearly 3,800 soil gas wells at more than 200 sites around the USA. Today C&T has an inventory of two dozen single train and several duplicate and dual depth Helium leak detection shrouds available to assist clients complete their soil gas sampling projects. C&T will also sample soil gas wells with and without Helium leak detection for clients who need these...

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