ETS recently made a field trip to Northport's Wastewater Treatment Plant! Employees found the visit very informative and educational pertaining to the work we do here at ETS. If you are a Northport, AL resident, we highly recommend making a visit to the Wastewater Treatment plant to see what happens when YOU flush your toilet!
- Do not flush anything besides toilet paper down the toilet. Feminine products should be thrown in the trash.
- Do not dump any type of chemical or cleaning product in your sink, toilet, or bathtub.
- Check all household plumbing and appliances annually (at least) for any leaks or drips. Learn how to read your water meter to check for leaks too.
- Try not to run large appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers unless you have a full load of material.
- Stay informed!
Understanding Quality Control is a series written by Kailey Dickens, environmental lab manager at ETS. The series focuses on real quality control issues and solutions as experienced in the lab at ETS.
A laboratory information management system, commonly referred to as LIMS, is a software-based laboratory platform for storing many types of information related to sample analyses. LIMS is a useful tool in a laboratory for storing customer information, sample information, analyses, methods, procedures, instrument maintenance schedules, and workflow schedules.
One of the most useful aspects of LIMS to a laboratory is the ability to monitor quality control over time. In the below case study of copper, it’s important to see why control charts are useful tools for trouble shooting lab related issues.
The below chart references the laboratory fortified blank (LFB) control sample, analyzed with each batch of 20 copper samples. The copper LFB is made at a 0.1 ppm to fit into the copper calibration curve. The majority of plotted LFBs on this chart indicated that the process is in control. However, 2 major outliers occur in succession of one another, on consecutive days.
As the lab manager, interpreting this data is key to understanding what is happening in the lab. Is the instrument running inconsistently? Have the standards expired? Were the samples prepared improperly? Were the correct samples run? Was the data recorded properly, and transcribed correctly?
The first thing to note is that the 2 outliers are hovering very closely around 0.5 ppm.
Following the paper trail, the bench sheet shows what the culprit for the out of control LFB is:
The LFB was made at a 0.5 ppm instead of a 0.1 ppm.
Quality control is a compound process. Many different elements constitute the elaborate procedures used to insure quality is achieved: people, chemicals, methods, instruments, sample preparation, etc. At any time in the process, these components are bound to produce errors.
Finding the solution is not always as easy as identifying technician error; many times it is a combination of several factors that can take weeks or months to uncover. Utilizing LIMS offers a clear picture of when a process is out of control.
ETS' Annual Employee Appreciation Day! What a beautiful Alabama day for it!
Barbeque for everyone, of course!
We might need some more chairs for next time!
ETS has a wonderful, dynamic team of employees, and their hard work does not go unnoticed. THANK YOU everyone at ETS for everything that you do!