Independent Contractor Program Approval & Audits
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) updated regulations related to source testing in 1981. At that time, language was added to the regulations to allow the use of Independent Contractors. Preapproval was required to ensure that the Independent Contractors were qualified to perform the test methods requested. Additional language was added to address conflict of interest, right-of-entry, and other potential issues.
CARB grants approvals to perform any published test methods used for compliance with air pollution control regulations in California. The Independent Contractor must be able to perform both the sampling and analysis in-house, and neither may be subcontracted to an outside contractor. Approvals are granted based on the Independent Contractor's ability to meet general program criteria and the specific requirements for the individual test methods requested. CARB does not require that testing contractors be approved prior to performing testing in California. Please check with the local Air Pollution Control District or Air Quality Management District (APCD or AQMD) where the testing will be performed to find out about the APCD or AQMD's requirements.
Initial Approval Audit
Since the Independent Contractor may be providing compliance information to CARB, the Independent Contractor is audited to ensure it is able to accurately perform sampling and analysis. Approvals are granted based on the Independent Contractor's ability to meet general program criteria and the specific requirements for the individual test methods requested. Also, in order for an Independent Contractor to be approved pursuant to the Independent Contractor Program, it must perform both the sampling and the analysis for each test method entirely in-house. The Initial Approval Audit generally consists of three steps and usually takes several months.
Full Renewal Audit
Full Renewal Audits are identical in scope to Initial Approval Audits. CARB plans to perform Full Renewal Audits for Independent Contractors every five years. They are scheduled quarterly and expected to be completed by the end of the quarter. Failure to meet the current requirements of the Independent Contractor Program will result in approval being withdrawn. Delays in the Full Renewal Audit process by the Independent Contractor may result in approval being withdrawn.
- CARB requires that the contractor submit information about its testing program. The information is reviewed by CARB to determine if the testing program appears to be sufficient to justify further auditing. Contractors are also required to certify that they will comply with CARB standards regarding conflict of interest and to notify CARB of recent litigation with which the contractor was involved. Please send CARB:
- A priority list of the methods the contractor wishes to become approved to perform. Please include both the sampling and analysis methodology that will be used. If the method the contractor is interested in becoming approved for is not a published CARB, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or local District air pollution compliance test method, please cite one regulation or permit condition which specifies the desired test method as a requirement for compliance with air pollution control regulations in California. Also, for any ASTM methods the contractor wishes to perform, please include the version, i.e. ASTM D323-58, and the material to be tested using the method. Please note that if the method the contractor wishes to be approved to perform requires the use of another method, the company will be required to be approved the embedded method also. Also, CARB does not approve contractors for only a portion of a method, the contractor must be able to perform the method in its entirety.
- Copies of at least two test reports performed within the past four years demonstrating the contractor's use of the methods for which it wishes to be approved. Be sure the report includes the methods performed, the date the test was performed, the source tested, the purpose of the test, the members of the contractor's staff who performed the sampling and the analysis, and the results of the test. Comments regarding the tests are welcome. The test reports may be disposed of after the auditing of all of the tests on the application is completed.
- A specific list, by test method, of the major equipment which the contractor will use in both its sampling and analysis. Please indicate each instruments' make, model, principle of operation, and/or the type of detector, where appropriate.
- Resumes of each of the contractor's personnel involved with sampling or analysis.
- A signed Litigation Statement, if appropriate. If the contractor has been involved in any litigation due to its environmental testing performance or business practices, please explain the reason for the litigation and its status.
- A signed Conflict of Interest Statement.
- CARB inspects the contractor's facility to determine if it is adequate to perform the testing and analysis for which the contractor wishes to be approved. At that time, CARB also audits the contractor's quality assurance procedures.
- For some test methods, CARB requires the contractor to perform a proficiency demonstration in Sacramento to test the contractor's ability to perform accurate testing as compared to known standards. CARB may also perform a comparative field audit.
Administrative Renewal Audit
Approved Independent Contractors are audited biannually to determine if changes in their personnel or equipment will negatively affect their ability to meet the requirements of the Independent Contractor Program.
Change of Ownership Audit
Independent Contractors undergoing an ownership change are required to notify CARB (within 90 days) of the change. CARB will conduct an Approval Transfer Audit prior to transferring the approvals to the new ownership group. The purpose of the Approval Transfer Audit it so ensure that the Independent Contractor maintains its ability to meet the requirements of the Independent Contractor Program following the ownership transfer. An Approval Transfer Audit requires:
- The entity puchasing the Independent Contractor must have the permission of the Independent Contractor for the approvals to be transferred. This may take the form of a letter from a responsible party of the Independent Contractor holding the approvals giving permission for the transfer.
- The entity purchasing the Independent Contractor and the Independent Contractor must each submit a new signed Litigation Statement to CARB.
- The entity receiving the transferred approval must submit a signed Conflict of Interest Statement to CARB.
- The entity receiving the transferred approval must submit a statement, made under the penalty of perjury, that it acquired all the equipment used for sampling and analysis, and all personnel used for sampling and analysis from the contractor holding the approvals.
- The entity receiving the transferred approval must pass a facility inspection for each approval transferred.
If CARB determines that an Independent Contractor has undergone a change of ownership without notifying CARB and having the approvals transferred to the new ownership group, CARB will require that the Independent Contractor undergo an Initial Approval Audit for all approved test methods.