Sampling Instructions

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the lab at (630) 778-1200. 

Method 5035:  Field Preservation, Collection and Handling Instructions for Vials


1. Have ready a 40ml glass VOA vial containing the appropriate preservative. With the plunger seated in the handle, push the Terra Core® into freshly exposed soil until the sample chamber is filled.  A filled chamber will deliver approximately 5 grams of soil.


2.  Wipe all soil or debris from the outside of the Terra Core® sampler. The soil plug should be flush with the mouth of the sampler. Remove any excess soil that extends beyond the mouth of the sampler.

3.  Rotate the plunger that was seated in the handle top 90° until it is aligned with the slots in the body.  Place the mouth of the sampler into the 40ml VOA vial containing the appropriate preservative and extrude the sample by pushing the plunger down. Quickly place the lid back on the 40ml VOA vial.


Note:  When capping the 40ml VOA vial, be sure to remove any soil or debris from the top and/or threads of the vial.

4.   Repeat process for each additional vial. 

5.  A single syringe can be used to collect sample aliquots for each of the three vials.  Mark each sample container with your sample identification.  Do not add any additional labels or tape to the pre-tared vials. Store samples at 4oC.  The holding time for VOC analysis is two weeks.

6.  A fourth container needs to be submitted to the laboratory for percent total solids determination. Fill the container provided to capacity. If extractable organic analyses, i.e., semi-volatiles, PNAs, or pesticides/PCBs will be performed, the fourth container should be an 8-oz. wide-mouth glass jar.  (A 4-oz. jar would also be acceptable.)

Sample Acceptance Policy

The regulations guiding laboratory certification requires that our laboratory have a written sample acceptance policy available to sample collectors. Exceptions will be noted on the chain of custody and in the Analytical Report.


The sample collector must document the following information on the Chain of Custody:

Laboratory personnel must document the following on the Chain of Custody:

Sample bottles provided by the laboratory are pre-labeled with water resistant labels that are color coded to indicate the type of preservative present in the container.

Red = Nitric Acid

Yellow = Sulfuric Acid

Light Blue = Sodium Hydroxide

Deep Blue = Hydrochloric Acid

Teal = No Treat (No preservative)

Sample bottles need to be labeled using indelible ink.  Adequate sample volume must be provided for the analyses requested.  The COC must document the use of preservation and sample containers as required by the approved test methods.  If preserved bottles have been obtained from the laboratory the “Preserved in Field” box should be checked.


Analyses having “short” holding times, must be delivered to the laboratory in a manner that provides adequate lead time to meet the holding time.

Contact Us

First Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
1600 Shore Road # D
Naperville, IL 60563
P: (630) 778-1200
F: (630) 778-1233
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00PM


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    Paulette Amaya

    I went to First Environmental Labs to get a lead test for my home day care. Everyone is very polite and explained everything step by step. I am very glad I found this lab😀

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    Tyler P

    Friendly and efficient staff.

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