Report of Committee on Sample Shipping Integrity and Cost

In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 412                                     March 20, 1992


Subject:  REPORTS--Report of Committee on Sample Shipping 
Integrity and Cost


The Office of Water Quality (OWQ) recently appointed an Ad Hoc 
Committee to address problems experienced by the Water Resources 
Division related to sample shipping integrity and cost.  This 
Committee met on December 16, 1991, at the National Water 
Quality Laboratory (NWQL) in Arvada, Colorado. The Committee 
addressed the assigned tasks in workmanlike fashion, and made 
concrete recommendations to solve the existing problems.  They 
are to be congratulated for an excellent job performed in an 
expeditious manner.  A copy of their report is appended to this 


The Committee recommended a two-phase implementation of 
solutions to problems.  "Short-Term Solutions" are based on 
ideas generated by the Committee, and incorporate unofficial 
guidelines issued over the years by the NWQL.  The OWQ requests 
that all short-term solutions be implemented immediately upon 
receipt of this memorandum.

The committee also proposed "Long-Term Solutions" to some 
problems.  The OWQ will evaluate these recommendations over the 
next year and will report decisions to the Division in a future 

David A. Rickert Chief, 
Office of Water Quality

Key words:  sample shipping

This memorandum does not supersede any previous Office of Water 
Quality Technical Memorandum.

Distribution, A, B, S, FO, PO


The National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) has experienced 
persistent and continuing problems arising from receipt of 
samples which are leaking (or have leaked) due to the use of 
improper packaging and shipping procedures by the Districts.  
Shipping vendors will not deliver these packages to the lab.  
The packages must be picked up personally by lab personnel.  
This involves significant expenditure of time and expense 
(potential hazardous materials considerations often coming into 
play) .  Additionally, recent U.S. Postal Service regulations 
have removed the franking privilege for sample shipment, 
imposing an additional expense element at a time when many 
Districts and the Water Resources Division (WRD) as a whole are 
experiencing financial strains. Because sample packages could 
previously be sent via franked mail, there was only limited 
awareness of alternate shipping costs.  In order to address 
these twin problems of sample shipping integrity and cost, the 
Chief, Office of Water Quality, formed an Ad Hoc committee on 
Sample Shipping Integrity and cost.  The report of this 
committee follows.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Sample Shipping Integrity and Cost met 
on December 16, 1991, at the National Water Quality Laboratory 
(NWQL). The following people attended:

Joseph D. Broadus, Tech Support, NWQL, Chairman Doris Adair, 
Colorado District Marguerite Cheney, Tech Support, NWQL James 
Futrell, Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility (HIF) Will Lanier, 
Supply Management Group, NWQL Vernon Norman, Central Region 
Peggy O'Mara-Lopez, Log-in Group, NWQL Frank Wells, Texas 

The Committee decided that the Water Resources Division requires 
a two-phase implementation for solutions to existing and long-
range sample shipping problems.  The first, short-term phase 
would be implemented as soon as the final committee report is 
released; the second, long-term (1+ years) phase would be 
implemented as a result of development of new or modified 
shipping containers, materials, and procedures.

The short-term solution is the implementation of new ideas 
generated by the Committee, in addition to unofficial guidelines 
issued over the years by the Log-in Group at the NWQL.

Short-Term Solutions (0-1 year)


-             Assure that sample integrity is maintained.

-             Reduce shipping costs wherever possible.

-             Provide immediate, Divisionwide recommendations for 
the shipment of samples to the NWQL.

-             Assure that all shipping requirements are met so that 
full and continuous service can be provided from shipping agents.

Three recommendations were developped by the committe to meet 
these goals:

1.            Provide Recommended Shipping Procedures to insure 
integrity and minimize cost.

2.            Determine default account numbers for each District 
office.  These are available from the NWQL billing data base.  
This will facilitate prompt and accurate cost accounting.

3.            Establish a computer data base of District contacts 
and default account numbers to know immediately who is 
responsible for shipping containers from each office:  name, 
prime ID, position title, telephone number.

Resolution of these recommendations follows:

Recommendations to District Offices for Shipping Samples to the 

Shipping Containers

1.  Ship all unchilled samples (both inorganic and radchem) in 
disposable cardboard boxes.  These boxes are available through 
GSA.  To assist Districts in obtaining the best boxes for 
shipping samples to the NWQL, National Stock Numbers (NSN's) for 
three different sized boxes are listed below:

NSN 8115-00-183-9505 6" x 4" x 4"bundle of 25$ 4.32
NSN 8115-01-017-6054 11.25" x 8.75" x 10"bundle of 25$12.20
NSN 8115-00-117-8344 14.75" x 12" x 9.5"bundle of 25$16.29

Districts should use the most appropriately sized carton for the 
size and number of bottles being shipped.  This will result in 
cost-effective shipping.

2.  When samples are to be shipped in a cooler, carefully 
inspect the cooler for leaks or damage.  Spouts must be sealed, 
preferably with silicone or epoxy.  Broken and/or leaking 
coolers must be replaced.  As part of our program to enhance 
relations with the Post Office and private carriers, Log-in 
Group personnel will discard any damaged coolers which arrive at 
the NWQL and notify the owners.

3.  With a permanent waterproof marker, label the inside of each 
cooler and cooler lid with the current return address and 
telephone number in case the shipping label is separated from 
the cooler.  Both the shipping agent and the NWQL need to know 
where a cooler is from, to ensure that it is correctly delivered 
and/or promptly returned.

4.  Ship all nutrients in dedicated coolers.  Label the inside 
of each cooler and cooler lid "nutrients only".  The NWQL 
recommends the round Gott coolers as the most durable and leak-
proof.  These coolers currently are available through local 
vendors and come in three sizes: 

1 gallon      - holds       1 to 5 250-ml bottles plus adequate ice 
3 gallon      - holds       6 to 15 250-ml bottles plus adequate ice 
5 gallon      - holds       15 to 30 250-ml bottles plus adequate ice

Preparing Samples for Shipment

1.  Label each bottle with permanent, waterproof marker, or use 
pre-printed labels that will remain securely attached to the 
bottles.  Labeling should include station I.D., date and time 
collected, bottle type, and Field ID (FID), if applicable.  This 
label stock (SMS) is available from DENSUPPLY.

2.  Securely fasten each cap. Do not tape the caps.  When caps 
are taped, there is a real threat of contamination - 
particularly to organic volatile samples.

3.  As samples which require chilling are collected in the 
field, they should be kept chilled.  Pack the samples in fresh 
ice for shipping.  Coolers should contain at least 30 percent 
ice (more in hot weather)

4.  When sending multiple sets of samples in one container, 
label each set of sample bottles with a letter of the alphabet; 
A, B, C, etc. (each bottle in the set should have the same 
letter as others in the set).  This makes it quicker and more 
efficient for Log-in to match up sets of samples.  Put the 
corresponding letter code in the upper right hand corner of the 
log form. Rubber band sets of samples together or put them in 
mesh bags.  These procedures will help prevent sets of samples 
from being mismatched or mixed up.  Sorting bottles in the Log-
in Group according to 15-digit station ID's is very difficult.

Preparing Log Forms for Shipment

For the NWQL to quickly and efficiently log-in and analyze 
samples, Districts must send in log forms that are accurate, 
legible and complete.  When log forms are inaccurate, can't be 
deciphered, or are missing data, the samples are logged-in only 
after the problem is resolved.  This can be a detriment to 
timely and accurate analysis.  Therefore, when sending in log 
forms, the following guidelines must be followed:

1.  Log forms must be filled out in permanent, waterproof black 
ink.  If the log forms get wet, ink from felt tip and other 
types of markers tend to disappear or smudge and the information 
can't be read.

2.  Each log form must include the collector's name and 
telephone number, and also the name and telephone number of an 
alternate who has knowledge of the samples.  If problems occur 
and the collector or the alternate is not available, either the 
District QW Specialist or the District Chief will be contacted.

3.  Check all log forms carefully for correct lab codes and 
schedules.  Lab codes and schedules are constantly changing due 
to method changes at the lab, as well as other factors.  Copies 
of log forms from last year's project may contain incorrect lab 
codes, schedules, or other information.  When possible, use 
"SPN", a Prime software package, to keep requests updated and 

4.  At the bottom of each log form, indicate the total number of 
sample bottles collected and being sent to the NWQL so that Log-
in can determine if sample sets were split into separate 

5.  Include types of bottles shipped at the bottom of the log 
form, i.e., RU, FU, FA, FAM, GCC, etc. (see Table 1).  This may 
resolve problems in cases where the bottles shipped and the 
analyses requested don't match up.

Table 1. --Sample Type Definition

RU            Raw, untreated 
FU            Filtered, untreated 
FA            Filtered, acidified with HNO3 
FAM           Filtered, preserved with potassium dichromate solution 
FAB           Teflon bottle, filtered, acidified with ultrex HNO3 
RC            Raw, chilled, preserved with HgCl2 solution 
FC            Filtered, chilled, preserved with HgCl2 solution 
RA            Raw, preserved with HNO3 
RAM           Raw, preserved with potassium dichromate solution 
RAH           Raw, preserved with HNO3 
RAE           Raw, preserved with HNO3, EPA digestion at lab 
LC880         Filtered, chilled, preserved with NaOH 
LC23          Raw, chilled, preserved with NaOH 
LC89          Raw, preserved with zinc acetate 
RCB           Raw, chilled, untreated 
CU            Carton, unchilled 
CC            Carton, chilled 
GCC           Glass, Chilled, Organics 
BGC           Bottom material, glass, chilled, organics 
GCV           Glass vials, chilled, volatiles 
LC127         Glass, raw, chilled, preserved with H2504 
LC52          Glass, raw, chilled, preserved with CuSO4 
TOC           Total organic carbon, raw, chilled 
DOC           Dissolved organic carbon, filtered, chilled 
SOC           Silver filter from carbon filtration, chilled 
VOA           Vials, chilled, organic volatiles 
RADON         Vials, radon, preserved with scintillation cocktail

 6.  When shipping multiple containers, include copies of the 
original ASR forms (log sheets) with the appropriate lab codes 
and schedules circled to correspond with the bottles shipped in 
that container.

7.            Never send a sample without a log form!

8.            Place log forms in a sealed plastic bag (doubled 
ziplock or whirlpack) and fasten the bag to the inside of the 
cooler lid with filament tape.

Packaging of Samples

1.  Line all containers, including those without ice, with 
doubled (one bag inside the other) heavy-weight trash bags.  
After samples and ice (if required) are placed in the doubled 
bag, seal each bag with a tied knot, or by gathering, folding 
over the top of each bag, and securing with filament tape. This 
will prevent either ice/water or samples from leaking outside of 
the container.

2.  To prevent breakage when samples are sent in coolers, ship 
all glass bottles in foam sleeves or in a foam box designed for 
shipping.  Foam sleeves are available from DENSUPPLY (see 
Attachment A, "National Water Quality Laboratory Field Supply 
Schedule").  If glass bottles are sent in a carton, arrange the 
bottles so that they do not touch each other; i.e., use 
cardboard inserts, foam sleeves, etc.  Always use adequate 
packing materials!

3.  When shipping with other inorganic samples, wrap FAM's and 
RAM's (see Table 1 for Sample Type Definition) in bubble packs 
or insert them into foam sleeves and enclose them in double 
ziplock bags.  This will prevent cross contamination and 
breakage.  FAM's and RAM's should never be shipped with nutrient 
samples, or samples requesting chromium analyses.

4.  Volatiles should be sent in bubble-pack sealable bags or in 
foam sleeves. These supplies are available from DENSUPPLY.  (See 
the Attachment A, "National Water Quality Laboratory Field 
Supply Schedule ")

5.  The NWQL will not accept the use of "blue ice" or other 
types of commercial/refreezable containers.  They do not keep 
samples adequately chilled, nor is it cost effective to return 
these items to Districts.

6.            Ice/water and packing materials do not mix and should 
be kept totally separate.  Do not mix foam peanuts with ice for 
any shipping.

7.  The NWQL vill not accept samples shipped in vermiculite.  
Various analytical sections of the NWQL have expressed concern 
that this material may cause contamination.  Elements contained 
in vermiculite include aluminum, magnesium, silica, and calcium.

8.  When feasible, the Log-in Group will return mesh bags, foam 
sleeves, rubber bands, etc., that are shipped to NWQL in coolers 
from Districts.  These items add minimal weight to the return 

9.            The NWQL will not return cardboard cartons or other 
shipping materials sent in disposable containers.

10.  Each shipper must provide return address shipping labels in 
the cooler, along with the log forms.  The labels and log forms 
should be placed in sealed plastic ziplock or whirlpack bags and 
fastened to the inside of the cooler lid with filament tape.  
The account to be billed for the return shipment should be 
clearly marked on the shipping label. If no label is provided or 
an incorrect account is on the label, the District's default 
account will be charged the shipping fees.

11.           Never send a bottle without the log form!  A correct 
and complete log form is essential for timely and accurate log-
in of samples.

12.           Securely tape the entire cooler to help prevent 
leakage and to maintain cooler integrity.

13.  When shipping a single set of samples in multiple 
containers, the outside shipping label must indicate the number 
of containers being shipped.  As an example, for three 
containers, the first container would be labeled 1/3, the second 
2/3, and the third 3/3.

14.  Log-in will monitor incoming shipments, determine 
improperly packed shipments, and set up a data base.  A summary 
of this information will be made available to individual 
Districts via quarterly and yearly reports.

15. In case of problems, Log-in will immediately inform by EDOC 
the collector or project chief.  If problems persist, the Head, 
Technical Support Unit at the NWQL, or the Chief, NWQL, will 
contact the District Chief to achieve resolution.

Shipping Samples to the NWQL

 The first question identified by the committee was the need for 
a definition of "time dependent samples" and a shipping plan 
based on this time dependency. To answer this question, a 
meeting was held between NWQL personnel and the Committee 
Chairman. The attendees were:

Joseph D. Broadus, Sample Shipping Committee, Chairman 
Nancy Driver, Quality Management Chief, NWQL 
Merle Shockey, Inorganic Program Chief, NWQL 
Ralph White, Supervisory Chemist, Organic Program, NWQL

A sample time dependency table (Table 2) was established at this 
meeting. The table was designed to meet NWQL requirements based 
on the need for quality data, and at the same time to meet all 
of the official requirements such as USGS-TWRI standard methods, 
other federally approved methods, such as EPA methods; and 
federally mandated program requirements, such as NAWQA and NPDES.

Districts sending water samples to the NWQL should use Table 2, 
"Shipping Table for Assorted Sample Types", as a guide when 
shipping time dependent samples.  For specific recommendations, 
see Table 3, "NWQL Sample Types". Following are currently 
recommended shipping methods.  Federal Express is the current 
contract carrier.

*OVERNIGHT - Federal Express [Air) (priority) or official 
contract carrier

*NEXT DAY - Federal Express [Air) (standard)

*             2-3 Days - Federal Express [Economy) or U.S. Postal 
Service (USPS) [First Class Mail)

*4-5 Days - United Parcel Service (UPS) [Ground) USPS [Fourth 
Class Mail)

Table 2. --Shipping Table for Assorted Sample Types

           |        AIR                  |      SURFACE           |
           |                             | Use Disposabel cartons | 
           |                       |Firstl    UPS    | USPS 4th   | 
           |    Overnight FEDEX    |Class|           | Class Mail |
-----------------------------------|Mail |------------------------
| Sample   | Priority  | Standard  |orMail 4-5 Days  | UPS 4-10   |
| Type     |           |           |FEDEX|           |    Days    |
| RU       |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| FU       |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| FA       |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| FAM      |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| FAB      |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| RC       |           | x         |     |           |            |
| FC       |           | x         |     |           |            |
| RA       |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| RAM      |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| RAH      |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| RAE      |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| LC880    |           | x         |     |           |            |
| LC23     |           | x         |     |           |            |
| LC89     |           | x         |     |           |            |
| RCB      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| CU       |           |           |     | x         | x          |
| CC       |           | x         |     |           |            |
| GCC      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| BGC      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| GCV      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| LC127    |           | x         |     |           |            |
| LC52     |           | x         |     |           |            |
| TOC      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| DOC      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| SOC      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| VOA      |           | x         |     |           |            |
| RADON    | x         |           |     |           |            |
| LC995    |           |           | x   |           |            |
| CHY      |           |           | x   |           |            |
| TISSUE   |           |           | x   |           |            |

Table 3.--NWQL Sample Types

To ensure sample integrity and for the best quality data, the 
NWQL recommends the following shipping schedule for various 
sample types.

Priority Overnight Shipping (Air) 


              Radon Samples - 3.8 day half life (Mineral Oil added)

Standard overnight Shipping (Air)

              Time Dependent Samples - Unchilled

Inorganic Sulfide/LC 89 (Zinc Acetate added) - 250 ml 
polyethylene bottle (poly bottle)

              Time Dependent Samples (Chilled)

(All need to be shipped in ice and maintained at 4 degrees C.)

  COD/LC76 - Sulfuric Acid added) - 125 ml glass bottle 
  Cyanide/LC23, 880 - (Sodium Hydroxide added) - 250 ml poly bottle

  GCC - 125 ml, 1 L glass bottle

  RCB/LC96 (MBAS) - 250 ml poly bottle 
  DOC/LC 113 - 125 ml glass bottle 
  TOC/LC 114 - 125 ml glass bottle 
  SOC/LC 305 - round petri dish (5g) - 1/4"x 2" diameter 
  Phenols/LC 52 - (Copper Sulfate/Phosphoric Acid added) 
      -1 L glass bottle 
  Oil & Grease/LC127 - (Sulfuric Acid added) 
      - 1 L glass bottle

Nutrients (preserved with mercuric chloride)

Must be shipped segregated from mercury samples (FAM's & RAM's)

  RC - (raw chilled/HgCl2 added) - 250 ml brown poly bottle -
(replace by 125 ml brown poly bottles by April 1992)

  FC - (filtered chilled/HgCl2 added) - 250 ml brown poly bottle

Volatiles (must be shipped segregated from all other samples 
  GCV - 40 ml glass vial

All nutrient samples are to be shipped segregated from other 
samples in dedicated coolers.

Next Day Shipping (Air) 

              Frozen Samples

(The following samples are shipped in coolers, packed with dry 

Organic Chlorophylls - 40 ml glass vial (5g)

Tissue Samples

              Non Time Dependent Samples - chilled

(Need to be shipped in ice and maintained at 4 degrees C.)

RadChem LC 995 - (HgCl2 added) - 1 L glass bottle

Must be shipped segregated from mercury samples (FAM's & RAM's). 
Can be shipped with nutrient samples preserved with mercuric 

Surface Shipping (4-10 day delivery)

              Non Time Dependent Samples - Unchilled

Inorganic Samples

RU (raw untreated) - 125 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml poly bottle 
FU (filtered untreated) - 125 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml poly bottle 
FA (filtered acidified) - 125 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml poly bottle 
FAB (filtered acidified) - 250 ml teflon bottle 
FAM/LC 226 (filtered, potassium dichromate/nitric acid blend) 
      -250 ml glass bottle 
CU/Sediment samples - 1/2 L wide-mouth glass or plastic jar

              Radchem Samples

RUR (raw untreated) - 500 ml, 1 L, 1/2 gal. poly bottle 
FAR (filtered/acidified) - 500 ml, 1 L, 1/2 gal. poly bottle 
LC 489 & 1574 - 125 ml poly or glass bottle 
Misc lab codes - 1 L glass bottles, 1 L wide-mouth poly bottle

Attachments B-F are shipping tables showing examples of zones 
and rates originating from the NWQL in Arvada, Colorado.  Since 
rates vary with each location, each shipping activity center 
must obtain local rate charts from UPS, USPS, and Federal 
Express.  Individual comparisons will have to be made to 
determine the most expedient and economical shipping method to 

Labels Addressed to the NWQL

Shipping agents often express concern about the nature of 
deliveries made to the NWQL.  To facilitate an immediate 
response by the NWQL Safety Officer (Regional Safety Office) to 
inquiries, the committee has prepared a list of "codes" to be 
included on shipping labels.  The code is to be placed on the 
outside shipping label of containers shipped to the NWQL by 
District personnel.

A single letter or combination of letters marked on the shipping 
address label will indicate the type(s) of samples present in 
the container.

The coding is as follows:

A -           Acidified Sample Shipment 
M -           FAM/RAM Shipment 
N -           Nutrient Shipment 
S -           NPDES Samples

A District should also attach labels to containers indicating 
GLASS, KEEP UPRIGHT, and/or DO NOT FREEZE, etc., when 

"Merchandise Return Mail" (MRM) Labels Addressed to the NWQL

MRM labels are now available for use in shipping samples from 
the field to the NWQL.  MRM is a convenient way to ship samples 
to the NWQL when other options do not exist.  Labels must be 
obtained from DENSUPPLY or OCALAMAN and are available for First 
Class (Priority) or Fourth Class (Routine) mail.  These labels 
are site specific to NWQL.  No postage is required when the MRM 
label is used on packages taken to local Post Offices and 
shipped to the NWQL.

To facilitate cost accounting, the project/account number and 
user code to be charged for postage must be included in the 
space provided on the MRM label. Each account will be billed 
monthly for MRM postal charges.

Return Address Shipping Label

Each collector must provide a return address shipping label for 
each cooler sent to the NWQL.  The label should be inside the 
sealed plastic bag, along with the log forms.  To facilitate 
delivery by the United Parcel Service (UPS), the label must 
include a street address and an account number and user code for 
billing purposes.  UPS does not ship to P.O. Boxes; therefore, a 
street address must be provided.  Coolers received without a 
return address label or account number will be charged to the 
District's default account number.  These return address labels 
are standard Department of Interior-USGS shipping labels (#9-

Tracking Shipments to the NWQL

Districts may enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard to 
track sample shipping times.  Log-in will fill in the date of 
arrival and temperature and/or condition of a cooler upon 
arrival at the NWQL.  This should help Districts determine if 
guaranteed shipping times are being fulfilled by shipping agents.

Returning Coolers

Coolers are returned to originating locations via UPS.  The 
return label, provided by the collector, is put on the outside 
of the emptied and sealed cooler.  The account number on that 
label is billed for return shipping fees. Charges accumulate and 
are billed to each project/account number monthly.

To order containers and supplies from NWQL, EDOC a request to 

1.List each item ordered exactly as described in Table 4.
2.State the number of units ordered.
3.Give the account number to be charged.
4.Give the name and address to which supplies should be sent.

Supplies suggested in this report and their recommended source 
of supply are listed in Table 4 or in Attachment A.  This 
reflects current information available and will be updated as 

 Table 4
| NSN/Catalog No.   | Source     | Item Description                  | Unit of    | Cost     |
|                   |            |                                   | Issue      |          |
|                   | Local      | Gott Coolers                      |            |          |
|                   | Local      | Ziplock/Whirlpak Bags             |            |          |
|                   | Local      | Plastic Liner Bags (Trash Bags)   |            |          |
|                   |            |                                   |            |          |
|                   |            |                                   |            |          |
| 8115-00-183-9505  | GSA        | Cardboard Boxes                   | 25/bundle  | $ 4.32   |
|                   |            |                                   |            |          |
|                   |            | (6"x4"x4")                        |            |          |
| 8115-01-017-6054  | GSA        | Cardboard Boxes                   | 25/bundle  | $12.20   |
|                   |            |                                   |            |          |
|                   |            | (11.25"x8.75"x10")                |            |          |
| 8115-00-117-8344  | GSA        | Cardboard Boxes                   | 25/bundle  | $16.29   |
|                   |            |                                   |            |          |
|                   |            | (14.75"x12"x9.5")                 |            |          |
|  9-160a           | DOI        | Shipping Labels                   |            |          |
|                   | Local      | Labels (GLASS, DO NOT             |            |          |
|                   |            | FREEZE, etc)                      |            |          |

All other supplies mentioned are available from DENSUPPLY or 
OCALAMAN (see Attachment A).

NWQL Services catalog

The NWQL Services Catalog will be updated yearly and distributed 
through the mail system or electronically when feasible.  This 
is the District's catalog of NWQL services available, including 
sources of field supplies and costs, sample sizes and types, 
available analyses and costs, etc.

NWQL Contact Personnel

Log-in -      Peggy O'Mara-Lopez - FTS 775-8059 or (303) 467-8059 
(Questions relating to log-in and condition of shipments as 
received by NWQL.)

Supply Management - Will Lanier - FTS 775-8065 or (303) 467-8065 
(Questions relating to cost accounting and availability and cost 
of supplies.)

Technical Support Unit - Joe Broadus, Chief - FTS 775-8056 or 
(303) 467-8056 (All other questions.)

Long-Term Solutions  (1+ yrs)

Committee Goals:

-  Meet all Federal shipping regulations.
-  Reduce shipping costs, wherever possible.
-  Assure that sample integrity is maintained.
-  Standardize the Division's shipping procedures and 
shipping materials.
-  Provide long-range planning, recommendations, and 
-  Develop a cost analysis system, monitor carrier 
performance, and maintain "best way" sample shipments.

Lab Goals:

-  Review sample receipt policy and issue update guidelines.
-  Establish sample acceptance criteria.
-   edesign current Analytical Services Request form.
-  Improve sample preparation and preservation techniques.

The committee recognized that some problems could not be 
resolved immediately and decided that the long-term solutions 
could only be achieved through research and development of new 
or modified shipping containers, materials, and procedures.

The primary long-term recommendation for the Division was to 
hire a "Packaging Supervisor" as soon as possible.

Packaging Supervisor's Function

-   Provide Division-wide expertise in packaging and 
shipment of various sample types and chemicals.  This could be 
achieved by one of the following options: 

o   Assign responsibilities to provide advice (probably on 
a part-time basis) to a person with extensive knowledge of the 
Division's shipping problems and appropriate solutions. 

o   Identify long-term problems requiring design or 
redesign of shipping containers and award a short-term contract 
to packaging engineering consultants with design expertise. 

o   Hire a packaging supervisor to be responsible for both 
of the responsibilities identified above.

-   Physically reside at NWQL or wherever field supplies 
are located

-   Test packaging materials to insure that samples are 
not contaminated, and that preserved samples don't contaminate 
other samples or the environment

-   Supervise Division field packaging and supply contracts

-   Consult with both lab and field personnel on special 
shipping projects

-   Maintain performance records and provide analysis and 

-   Resolve vendor/Division shipping problems

-   Resolve legal issues (is knowledgeable of laws and 
regulations regarding shipping)

-   Design containers, materials, and procedures for 

-   Cost items and shipping materials to minimize shipping 
expenses while maintaining package and sample integrity

Ideas and recommendations generated by the committee to be 
implemented by the Packaging Supervisor include:

Shipping Containers

-   complete the ongoing conversion to round coolers with 
screw on lids (Gott) as soon as possible;

-   Standardize packaging

-   recommend container sizes and types based on number of 
sample bottles, bottle size, and sample type

-   provide long distance shipping containers that will 
keep chilled samples for up to 5 days at 4 degrees C. 
(EnduroTherm Insulated Container, E-90)

-   investigate utility of light-weight milk crate with a 
disposable styrofoam box that can be sealed with RTV silicone 
rubber and disposed of at the NWQL

-   buy on contract shipping containers and materials to 
be provided by NWQL (Ocala or HIF)

bar-code shipping labels if possible 


-   utilize closed-cell foam for bottle separation

-   consider special interior designs based on bottle 
types and sizes

Recycle Disposable Materials

-   determine means to recycle sample containers, shipping 
containers, and shipping materials -establish procedures so that 
disposable containers would not be returned to the field offices 
by the NWQL; they would be recycled at the NWQL

Review Other Federal Agencies (OFA) Shipping Procedures

-   determine which Federal regulations apply to the 
shipment of WRD samples and modify any procedures necessary to 
comply with the regulations

-   survey other Federal agencies' shipping requirements 
and procedures

-   compile this information and re-evaluate WRD procedures

Cost Minimization Considerations

The NWQL should further evaluate its time dependent requirements 
to see if some cost saving can be achieved by converting to 
longer delivery times. The NWQL should also study ways to reduce 
sample volume requirements; this should be an ongoing process.

The Division should do a cost analysis to determine our current 
shipping costs (FY 1992).  It would be determined at a later 
date who would conduct this survey.  The FY 1992 costs will 
provide a baseline for future cost comparisons. An analysis of 
this information may provide WRD with a means to justify some 
major changes in packaging and shipping procedures. One way to 
track these costs, using established financial programming, 
would be to:

-   establish an object class for sample shipping costs, -
establish an object class for shipping materials costs.

Then, monitor these costs as changes are made. If the number of 
pieces shipped could also be recorded, we could establish an 
average cost per container.

Supplies and prices are now located on the WRD Intranet at http:/