The R.F. Shangraw, Jr. Community Aquatic Research Laboratory (CARL) is a key component of ALLARM's technical support program. The lab was opened in 2000, with costs underwritten by R.F. Shangraw ('81), the first Dickinson graduate with an Environmental Studies certificate. CARL provides assistance to assure that groups are maximizing their quality control efforts and are producing useful and credible data.
ALLARM conducts a quality control program for volunteer monitoring programs to ensure that their chemical data are accurate and that groups are using their kits correctly. ALLARM uses a split-sampling technique for quality control where volunteers collect duplicate samples, test one set of samples, and send the other set and their results to our lab for data analysis verification. Testing is performed by comparing field results with the results found in CARL. Having accurate data is a powerful tool to initiate local protection and restoration action plans. ALLARM's lab also does extensive testing of field kits from different manufacturers, allowing us to recommend the best available equipment to our partner groups for their different monitoring purposes.
Not all monitoring parameters have volunteer friendly kits available for volunteer monitors to use. For example, metals and other priority pollutants are analyzed in the ALLARM laboratory using sophisticated equipment to provide additional water quality data at a small cost for watershed organizations.