What to look for in a Source/Stack/Emission Testing firm?

There are a lot of Source/Stack/Emission (“Source”) vendors out in the marketplace.  How do you decide which one.  The following checklist may help you decide.

  1. Testing Experience,
  2. Regulatory Experience,
  3. Trained and Qualified Staff,
  4. Large Team,
  5. Equipment, and
  6. Safety Training.

Testing Experience:

Ask your vendors for a list of clients, investigate whether they have received positive feedback from both  clients and regulators.  It is important to confirm the vendor has a track record including testing report  accepted by the regulator.  Make sure your vendor has experience in your industry as well.  Testing requirements do change from industry to industry.

Regulatory Experience:

Make sure your vendor  understands your local regulations, the process, the report formats and the intricacies of the permitting culture.  Ask for references or examples of compliance reports or pre-test plans.  This will illustrate their experience and more importantly, understanding of the regulations.  This will save you time and money.

Trained and Qualified Staff:

Training is essential. The Source Evaluation Society (“SES”) has an accredited program called Qualified Source Testing Individual (“QSTI”). The goal of the SES QSTI exam and abilities assessment is to determine whether a candidate demonstrates the knowledge and capacity to apply source testing methods and fundamental engineering and chemistry principles in a manner consistent with that of a field test team leader. The SES QSTI program is one way to satisfy the accreditation standard for organizations, and potentially new regulations, as the SES QSTI exams are designed to assess competence and a basic understanding of source testing methods.

Ask if your vendors have this training.

Large Team:

Your vendor should be able to conduct testing that does not impact your operations for weeks.  A large team will allow for simultaneous  testing at multiple locations if necessary thus reducing the overall impact on operations.  Also, schedules change, so your vendor should be able to accommodate last minute issues that cause testing windows to shift.  Ask your vendor whether they have the internal resources to complete the job or whether they will require sub-contractors. 

Equipment:   Your vendor should have the in-house equipment resources to handle large and demanding jobs.  Renting equipment can create scheduling challenges and can cause testing problems due to unknown  calibration and maintenance records. 

Health and Safety:

Your vendor should have a culture of safety. Training is important, but the breadth of training is essential.  Training that should be considered depending on the scope of the testing program include:

  • Health and Safety Due Diligence
  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Confined Space Awareness
  • Fall Protection / Working at Heights
  • SCBA
  • Lock Out Tag Out
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods
  • Respirator Fit Testing (Quantitative Testing)
  • Annual internal training includes WHMIS and respirator fit testing
  • Qualified for radiological work

Your vendor should conduct monthly safety toolbox meetings with field personnel to keep safety foremost in everyone’s mind. Your vendor should conduct and document a detailed Job Safety Analysis (JSA) before arriving on the site which provides a step by step safety analysis of the work to be performed.  Also, your vendor should complete a Field Level Job Safety Analysis (FLJSA) each day they are on-site.