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Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Research Lab

Performance Evaluation Studies

The Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Research Laboratory participates in various performance evaluation studies to enhance quality assurance of data produced. There are two ongoing evaluations and several invitational inter-laboratory comparisons. Detailed performance results can be furnished upon request.

1. National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada (NWRI)

a. Participants are evaluated through data comparisons with other laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. SECRL participates in biannual proficiency testing studies on natural waters through NWRI. The parameters assessed include almost all of the inorganic water chemistry procedures that are available at SECRL.

b. SECRL participates in the Ecosystem Performance Evaluation study for trace elements in sediment. The sediment study is a semiannual evaluation that began in 2001.

2. Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

The International Cooperative Program on Assessment and Monitoring of Acidification of Rivers and Lakes is a NIVA program in which SECRL analytical results are evaluated against about 75 other laboratories. The reported analytes are those related to acidification: pH, alkalinity, anions, base cations and 7 trace metals. The NIVA inter-comparison study is once per year.

3. National Institute for Standards Testing (NIST)

The Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Research Laboratory was invited to participate in an inter-laboratory comparison exercise in 2001 and 2003 for trace elements in marine animal reference material. The results from SECRL and 30 other laboratories are used to determine baseline trace metals data for a new whale liver QA material.

4. NIMT/University of Edinburgh

SECRL took part in an inter-comparison study on the elemental content of a candidate reference material for ombrotrophic peat. Several trace metals were reported, including mercury.

5. Environmental Resource Associates

Proficiency testing samples are analyzed biannually to meet the State of Maine certification requirement for mercury in wastewater using method EPA 1631E.


Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Research Laboratory
5764 Sawyer Research Center
The University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-3288 | Fax: (207) 581-3290

The University of Maine
, Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System