The Purpose of this Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology Policy for the Importation, Transportation, Storage and Destruction of Soil and Water Samples is to ensure that the Center will follow all the regulations for the handling of soil and water samples as directed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The Permit is held by Lab Manager Diane Hagner for the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and she is responsible for compliance with all regulations. The permit allows the Center to obtain soil samples in the quantity of 3 pounds or less, which have not been previously sterilized or pre-treated, as that process would destroy the sample value for the purpose of our research. Samples will not be received from any locations or countries currently under sanction by the US Government.
Procedure for Sending Soil Samples to our Lab:
All collaborators are required to notify the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology a minimum of 30 days prior to requesting to ship any samples to our lab. The PPQ Form 550 Black-White label will be completed by our Staff and sent to them to attach to the exterior of the shipping carton as well a copy of the current permit to be included inside with the documents describing the sample. The sample material must be free from any plant or animal material; the sample must only be soil.
The soil samples must be shipped in a securely closed, water-tight/leak-proof primary container which must be then contained in a second, durable, watertight/leak-proof shipping container. This double packing is required to ensure that the soil sample cannot be introduced into the environment in the event of the package being damaged in transit. Samples may not be hand-carried under our permit but must be shipped by approved 3rd party carriers. Hand-carrying of soils requires a special request and amendment to our permit (see below for the process). The exterior of the packing containers and the secondary shipping container must be free from any contamination from the soil sample.
Soil samples will be retrieved form the shipping dock within 2 hours of arrival and moved to the lab for storage. Transferring of the regulated soil away from SCEB labs requires that any recipient of the soil also have a US Government permit to receive soil samples. The shipment to that facility will be under their permit to receive soil samples – our permit is just to receive samples.
Procedure for Hand-Carrying of Soil Samples to our Lab:
A written request for permission to transport soil must be sent to the Lab Manager (the APHIS Permit Holder for the SCEB lab) a minimum of 30 days prior to the time that soil samples are to be hand-carried either into the United States from foreign countries or from another State within the United States.
Requests for permission to hand-carry soil samples may take 3-6 months to be approved.
This request must include:
- the name of the person transporting the soil,
- the location the soil was collected
- the date the sample is being transported
- if the soil is being transported by airlines – the flight information (air carrier, airport, flight number)
- if the soil is being transported by car – the license plate of the car and the Port of Entry to the USA
- The size of the sample is limited to 3 pounds.
Once permission to transport soil is given, the sample must be contained in a closed, leak-proof container which is placed inside a second container' both of which are clearly marked as to the contents and have the proper stickers from APHIS clearly visible. If the soil sample is transported by airlines it is NOT permitted to travel as a checked item but must travel as carry-on luggage, and so must meet the size requirements for carry-on packages for the airline. The soil samples must be less than 3 pounds.
The authorization to hand carry samples may not be transferred to another individual – if the person designated to carry the sample has a change of plans or schedule the Lab Manager must be notified immediately and the permit is cancelled – the soil cannot be transported.
Procedure for Storage and Use of Soil Samples:
All soil samples must be clearly marked as to place of origin and researcher scheduled to be using the samples. All samples are to be logged into the Soil Samples Use Log book, maintained at the Lab Manager’s desk, which will also be a record of the location in the SCEB lab that the soil samples are stored. All aliquots of soil samples must be recorded in the Soil Samples log book as they are taken for lab use. The log book must contain the following information for each sample:
- Date of arrival of the shipment
- Origin of the soil (including identification of sender, location/country of origin)
- Total amount of the soil
- Date and amount of soil used in each testing session
- The samples will be stored in the walk-in cold room, refrigerators or freezers of the SCEB lab and be clearly labeled to identify which in storage location the soil sample is. These samples will be isolated from any other samples to prevent any cross contamination. When the sample is no longer being used by our lab the samples will be destroyed and discarded – the samples will not be stored indefinitely.
- An abstract covering the intended research use for the soil sample must be on file with the log entry.
Procedure for Destruction of Soil Samples:
The samples will be autoclaved - using one of the following Dry Heat treatments; temperature determined when the sample reaches the min. temp, using a temperature probe for verification:
- 110-120.5C for 16 hours
- 121-154 C for 2 hours
- 154.5-192.5 C for 30 minutes
- 193-220 C for 4 minutes or
- 221 – 232 C for 2 minutes
Transfer of Soil Samples to Other Facilities from ASU:
Transfer of any soil samples from the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology will require that the facility requesting the soil is also in possession of an APHIS permit from the USDA and that an MTA has been approved by ASU – ORIA. We are not permitted to send soil to a 3rd party location unless they have the proper permits. A PPQ 525 permit to transfer soil samples must be obtained by our lab.
All researchers using soil samples in their research must successfully complete initial soil sample training prior to being allowed to use soil samples in the SCEB lab (regardless of their previous experience) and then repeat the training every two years.
Procedures for Sending Water Samples to our Lab:
All water samples must be cleared for use 30 days prior to sending them to SCEB for use in the lab.
- The sample must have a statement from the collecting institution declaring the water to be ‘free from potentially infectious material (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.)’.
- This declaration must also state the methods used to confirm the water was free of potentially infectious material
- The qualifications of the individual declaring the sample to be free of potential infectious material.
- There also needs to be submitted an experimental plan stating in detail the manner in which this water sample will be used.
We must submit the declaration and the experimental plan to ASU EHS for clearance prior to the water being sent to the lab. Once clearance is given, all transportation of these water samples must be via a 3rd party shipper.
- They are not to be hand-carried. The sample must be contained in a leak-proof container placed inside a 2nd leak-proof container.
- All containers must be clearly marked as to the responsible party for the sample, the source from which the water was collected and the date of collection. When the sample arrives it will be transferred to one of the lab refrigerators until such time as it is used in our research.
When approved samples are no longer needed they will be autoclaved and discarded.
Samples sent not following the above procedures will be impounded by the Laboratory Manager, reported to ASU EHS and ORIA who will determine the outcome of these samples which are in violation of governmental policies, which may result in the samples being required to be autoclaved and discarded without use.