FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Why should I participate in MAPEP?

  2. What is the distribution schedule?
    MAPEP studies are conducted each February and August.
    Sample matrices shipped with each distribution include soil, water, air filters and vegetation.

  3. How do I get included in the testing?

    The MAPEP handbook (which describes the program in detail) can be downloaded from this server. The MAPEP Handbook is in Adobe PDF format.

  4. What makes MAPEP unique?
    Compliance and quality assurance issues associated with DOE regulatory authorities typically require analytical services under contract with DOE to participate in a variety of performance evaluation programs (PEPs). The primary objective of the PEPs is to foster reliability and credibility for the analytical results used in the decision making process, particularly as it relates to the environment and public health and safety. Each PEP checks for specific analytical proficiencies in radiological, stable inorganic, or organic analyses. Regulatory requirements, however, frequently include analyses for radiological and nonradiological constituents of the same sample. A PEP for quantifying these mixed analytes was not previously available.

    The Analytical Services Division of EM established the MAPEP to address this deficiency and to help assure the quality of analytical services across the DOE Complex. The Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (RESL), under the direction of DOE-HQ Health Safety and Security (HS&S) will administer the MAPEP. MAPEP samples will include water, soil, air filter and vegetation matrices with environmentally important stable inorganic, organic, and radioactive constituents. Consolidating the major analytes of interest into a single PEP will provide a more representative mixed analyte sample and an efficient means for laboratories to demonstrate the required proficiencies.

    The radionuclide levels in MAPEP samples are typically high to mimic environmental samples, but are below 2 nCi/gram for transportation reasons. This activity level typically allows less than 10% uncertainty with reasonable sample size and counting time. There is no other PE program for the quantification of both radioactive and nonradioactive analytes in the same sample.

  5. Are MAPEP soil samples a mixed waste?
    "MAPEP samples are analytical standards or a "product" generated for the purpose of securing and evaluating analytical services; they are not hazardous waste and they are not samples of hazardous waste... Thus, a laboratory participating in the MAPEP is in the process of establishing it's eligibility and credentials to do DOE analytical work. It follows, therefore, that the laboratory is the "generator" of the waste resulting when the samples and the resulting residues are to be discarded." (MEMORANDUM OCC-95-189, Office of Chief Counsel, October 16, 1995)

  6. What is the sample turnaround time?     RESL typically allows ~ 60 days.

  7. How are MAPEP results reported?     The MAPEP results are reported via the internet.

  8. What reports can I expect to receive?
    The MAPEP reports individual laboratory performance (current and historical), statistical reports and a summary report for each study. These reports will be available within 10 working days after the reporting deadline.

  9. How much sample will the laboratory receive?
    Current sample distribution is one (1) liter of water (mixed analyte water, gross alpha/beta water, semi-volatile organics water), three hundred (300) grams of soil for radionuclides/stable inorganics and two 30 gram samples of organics in soil. Two (2) radiological and one (1) gross alpha/beta air filters are distributed as well. Two samples (large and small) vegetation samples are distributed for radionuclide analysis. Participants may request additional sample as needed for their analytical routine.

  10. Can remaining sample and/or sample residues be returned?
    No. The receiving laboratory must arrange disposal in accordance with their waste plan.

  11. Will a mixed waste be generated by performing analysis of MAPEP samples?
    While hazardous analytes are present in the sample below regulatory levels, the laboratory must determine whether it's analysis of the sample has generated a mixed waste.

  12. What if I already participate in U.S. EPA performance evaluations. Must I also participate in MAPEP?
    Yes. If your laboratory is performing analytical work in support of U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management (EM) programs. (See Question #1 above)

  13. What will happen if I choose not to participate?
    RESL staff provide DOE-HQ and DOE site oversight staff with full reports following each study. These reports detail participating laboratory performance, point out marginal or poor performance and delineate those laboratories under contract to U.S. Department of Energy which are not participating.

  14. How will I be evaluated?
    The performance flags used in MAPEP reporting are defined in the table below.



    Criteria for Radiological and Inorganic Analytes

    "A" Acceptable

    Bias <= 20%

    "W" Acceptable with Warning

    20% < Bias <= 30%

    "N" Not Acceptable

    Bias > 30%

    Semi-volatile organics are evaluated in accordance with National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Criteria.

  15. Must I perform analyses for all analytes listed on the sample description?
    No. Analyses are required for only those analytes that are a component of the participant's routine EM analytical work load. Although complete analysis will provide the participant with additional QA data, it may not be appropriate.