A Data Acquisition System provides a level of traceability which is crucial during audits with state or federal regulators.
This is the second in a series of five articles describing key ways a full-featured CEMS Data Acquisition System (DAS) can improve monitoring, reporting and the ability to withstand an audit or compliance evaluation.
To discuss traceability, let's begin by looking at data averaging, one of the core activities in continuous monitoring compliance. Regulations or permit conditions establish limits associated with various averaged time periods, from six minutes to 365 days. A DAS can provide traceability by calculating and storing the individual averages and processes that make up these longer compliance averages. An example follows.
To create an hourly average three separate averages must be made. One-minute averages are recorded and averaged to create four 15-minute averages. These then represent the four data points required for each valid hourly average.
The DAS scans the input from each monitor or analyzer every second and builds these averages. It automatically determines if a valid average can be created, or if too many data points are missing or invalid. Under conditions like maintenance or calibrations it can also change the required number and spacing of data points according to the rules configured.
These averages can be reviewed in a graphical interface or through reports, tracing from the hourly average back through the 15-minute averages to the minute averages, thereby validating the origin, accuracy and consistency of each hour reported as valid.
The DAS creates, calculates, records and retains each of these averages and data points for verification purposes. This level of traceability is extremely valuable during audits with regulators because you can show the exact values, processes and calculations used to create any questioned averages.
Traceability in your data can also reduce reported downtime. Environmental personnel often over-report downtime because manual processing based on data from the plant historian has so much room for error and they don’t have the traceability to prove a valid average.
Traceability in your data includes all aspects of recordkeeping, not just averages. And yet, it is just one aspect of how a DAS can help keep you safe from regulatory woes and improve your efficiency.
Whether you just want to learn more about what a DAS can do for you, or would like to arrange for a complimentary data system review, we'd enjoy hearing from you. Contact us at 512-250-7902, firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online form.
... Published: 2/2/2017 2:07:31 PM
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