An annual analytical round robin has been part of WEALA’s activities since 1992.
At first, variability in analytical methods somewhat restricted the usefulness of data comparisons. But labs have tended to grow bigger, become fewer in number and to use more specific, documented procedures.
- Physical and chemical parameters investigated are those of concern to agricultural, environmental, research and industrial labs in western Canada.
- Saline, oily and metal-contaminated materials and soils and sediments varying from oily sands through to composts have been examined.
- Parameters measured have included available plant nutrients, total carbon and nitrogen, soluble salts, hydrocarbon content, acid-digestible trace elements, particle size, cation exchange capacity and organ matter.
- Data analysis is done by volunteers with appropriate statistical experience.
Most labs participate in various proficiency-testing exercises, whether or not these are required for lab certification. Round robins are always a welcome challenge to dedicated technicians. The general improving trend helps build client confidence.