March 2019

Deadline for Lead Testing Approaching

July 1st is the deadline for all NH schools and licensed childcare facilities to have their first round of testing completed for lead in drinking water, at all locations where water is available for consumption by children. Has your school, or your child’s school, completed their testing?


Lead poisoning in children is very concerning, and water contamination is not the only source. Homes, schools and buildings built before 1978 are very likely to contain lead paint and lead dust. In addition to water testing, ARA highly recommends testing for lead in paint chips and indoor air. If you have questions about testing the lead levels in your school, home, or place of business, in water, paint or dust, contact ARA for more information. 


What is a Surrogate Standard?

This is a question we’ve been fielding a lot lately. Have you ever reviewed your laboratory report and wondered what those compounds with units in percent are? Those are your surrogate standards.


Surrogates are often isotopically labelled analytes that are chemically similar to the analytes being tested, but do not naturally occur in environmental samples. Part of the lab analysis involves adding these analytes to your samples in known amounts. Just like the compounds of interest, the surrogate compounds go through the entire extraction and analysis procedure, and their concentrations are measured at the end of the process. Since we know how much we put in originally, we are able to calculate the amount that made it through the entire process. This is shown as the “percent recovery.” Each method has specific ranges of acceptable percent recovery, and this allows the laboratory to determine if the extraction and analysis efficiency was adequate and acceptable. Surrogate recoveries that fall outside the acceptance ranges can help you determine the impact of a potential matrix interference. So take a look at those numbers, they mean something!

Spring Thaw = Mold

As New Englanders anxiously await the warmer temperatures of Spring, the critters are stirring, the buds are awakening, and, unfortunately, the mold spores are getting ready to invade. Each year around this time, our phone starts to ring off the hook due to the increased moisture and warmer temperatures causing the perfect recipe for mold growth in our indoor spaces.


Mold is not just unpleasant to look at. If left untreated, it can continue to grow, often causing property damage, unpleasant odors, and illness. Since some mold is hidden (in wall cavities, roofs & attics, for example) many people don’t know they have a mold problem until they start to experience health problems, such as allergy and respiratory issues, eye and skin irritation, and more. Physical reactions to mold are more worrisome among young children and people who are immuno-compromised, such as asthmatics.


If you experienced ice dams, a wet basement, a leaking roof, or increased condensation over the winter months, it is very important that you eliminate all sources of indoor moisture and get things as dry as possible (<60% humidity indoors) to prevent mold growth. ARA has devised a “Mold Prevention Checklist” for homeowners and property managers as they get ready for the Spring thaw. If you have followed the tips in our checklist and still have a mold problem or mold concerns, be sure to give  us a call or send an email.


ARA’s Federal Projects Division: 2018 Recap

From Downeast Maine to Upstate New York, the federal market kept ARA very busy in 2018. ARA’s Federal Projects Division managed a variety of projects and task orders of all sizes. With each unique opportunity, ARA was able to provide the government with an innovative and cooperative team approach rooted in our values of customer service and mutual success. 


As a Prime Contractor, ARA not only managed environmental sampling projects, but also construction projects. We were hired to replace an HVAC System at a facility in Upstate New York, and getting a crane on site was a first for ARA. By completing a thorough review of USACE EM 385-1-1, ARA’s Critical Lift Plan submittal package was approved on the first review! At the same time, back in Portsmouth, ARA was tasked with renovating two office spaces.  As we are a small business, all hands were on deck to keep these projects moving along smoothly! The Federal Projects Division pulled our CEO, Guy, into the field as Site Superintendent for several months, as well as our IAQ Investigator, Alison Keith. The ARA oversight team combined with experienced local subcontractors ensured the success of both projects.


Throughout the duration of managing these large construction projects, our Federal Project Manager Danielle continued management of three groundwater sampling events, monthly drinking water sampling trips, hazardous waste characterization, hazardous materials surveys, a vapor intrusion investigation, an underground storage tank pull, and took a class to become a certified Asbestos Designer! During the busiest peaks, Danielle was on the phone starting at 6:00am and didn’t stop working until late in the evenings. This past year was the busiest the Federal Projects Division has ever been, and as our capabilities grow and word of our stellar performance spreads, we look forward to an even busier 2019! If you would like to discuss teaming on your Federal Projects, give us a call.

Finding it hard to keep up w/ all

of the PFAS news & updates?

We can help! ARA is accepting PFAS samples at our lab in Portsmouth. If you need pricing, sample bottles, courier service, or more info, give us a call: 877-320-7373

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The Resource Rambler Newsletter is brought to you by your friends at Absolute Resource Associates, 124 Heritage Ave. Unit #16 Portsmouth, NH 03801   603-436-2001



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