What to Do With a Result Above Your Permit Limit

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Resources, Sampling, Soil Analyses, Water Analyses

Two lab workers working

When people come to SVL Analytical, they’re often looking for data to show that they’re in compliance with the applicable regulations or permits. What happens when the data you get back isn’t in compliance? 

That can be a stressful situation and we want to help the best we can. 

Historical Data

First, the historical data of your sample should be considered.  If you have historical data about your site and you have never had a result above your permit level, then an error may have occurred during sampling or at the lab. 

Resample or Reanalyze 

This leaves you with two choices: either you resample, or you have the lab re-run the sample you submitted. Re-running the sample submitted to the lab may account for errors at the lab but not those that may have happened during sampling. 

Reanalyzing samples already submitted is not foolproof, sometimes errors can not be recreated or determined. If you do not have historical data and you believe that the results don’t make sense, request a reanalysis or resample. We want you to have accurate, legally defensible data in order for you to make the correct decisions for your project.

Statistical Variation

If you’ve already looked at your history and your historical average is near your action level, a result just above the action level may fall within acceptable statistical variation. 

This means if you tested the sample multiple times, some results would be above your action level and some would be below. SVL has procedures in place for how we re-analyze your samples and how a re-analysis shows up on your report. 

If there is justification for a re-analysis you will receive a report with only the new results; if not, then you will receive a report with both sets of results. We do this so that we can show transparency and that we are not in collusion with our clients. 


Overall, if you’re not happy with the results, resampling is often the best choice. This will remove any questions about contamination or sample mix-up prior to the samples arriving at the lab. 

Each situation is unique, your project manager would love to work with you to find the best scenario for you. 

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