Overview of EPA's Contract Laboratory Program

RCED-88-109FS: Published: Mar 30, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Contract Laboratory Program (CLP), which provides laboratory analytical support for the Superfund Program, focusing on its: (1) services and how it provides them; (2) laboratory selection process; (3) review of laboratory analytical results; and (4) assessment and management of laboratory performance.

GAO found that CLP provides: (1) routine laboratory analyses of soil, water, and other substances from Superfund sites to determine the presence of volatile organic and inorganic substances, and dioxin; and (2) specialized laboratory analyses of substances through subcontracts, which a management services firm arranges under its contract with EPA. GAO also found that EPA: (1) reviews laboratory results for data useability and compliance with contractual requirements; (2) uses contract compliance screening results to determine contractor payments; (3) periodically tests laboratories' technical capabilities and conducts on-site evaluations to monitor performance; and (4) will not send additional samples to laboratories with performance problems until they have corrected the problems. In addition, GAO found that CLP laboratories analyzed: (1) about 22,000 samples at an estimated cost of $7.6 million from fiscal years 1980 through 1982; and (2) analyzed 92,000 samples at an estimated cost of $37.4 million in 1987.

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