Of the 286 postal facilities tested, 23 tested positive. For two of the 23in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Wallingford, Conn.the first tests were negative but later tests turned positive. The Wallingford facility didn’t test positive until the fourth round of testing. In another building, in West Trenton, N.J., no anthrax was found in three rounds of tests, even though a worker had contracted cutaneous anthrax. The GAO puts the bottom line thus: “Because the agencies did not use an empirical process to validate their testing methods, the agencies had limited information available for reliably choosing one method over another and no information on the detection limit to use when evaluating negative results.” The agencies used any of four different preliminary tests and three confirmatory tests to identify anthrax in extracted samples. The number of different tests used, in combination with differences at other stages of the sampling process, increases the level of uncertainty about the results, the GAO contends. Rhodes’s prepared testimony summarizing the GAO reporthttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05493t.pdf For its evaluation, the GAO broke the agencies’ sampling activities down into five steps: sampling strategy (where and how many samples were gathered), sample collection methods, sample transportation, sample extraction in the lab, and sample analysis. The agencies mostly used processing solutions to extract samples from dry swabs and get them onto plates for culturing, though in some cases they brought dry swabs into direct contact with plates. Either way, the GAO says, “definitive scientific information regarding extraction efficiency is lacking,” casting additional doubt on the reliability of negative results. The GAO’s conclusion is based on an examination of the approaches used by three agenciesthe US Postal Service (USPS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)to hunt for anthrax in 286 postal facilities after the anthrax mailings in 2001. The report also finds fault with the methods used to gather samples. In most cases the agencies used dry swabs on surfaces, though they also used some moistened swabs, wet wipes, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filter) vacuuming, and air samples. None of the collection methods were tested in advance, so the agencies “had no information available for reliably choosing one method over another and no information on the limits of detection to use when evaluating negative results,” the report states. In shipping their samples, the agencies followed regulations designed mainly to prevent leaks and protect workers. The GAO complains that the regulations did not address the matter of protecting the samples from extreme temperatures or other factors that could compromise their biological integrity and lead to false-negative test results. “The sampling strategy used by the agencies could not provide any statistical confidence with regard to the basic question: Is this building contaminated?” the report says. “The lack of validation of agencies’ activities, coupled with limitations associated with their targeted sampling strategy, means that negative results may not be reliable,” the report says. It recommends that the secretary of homeland security take on the task of ensuring that pathogen detection methods are validated and coordinating environmental testing for pathogens by different agencies. The agencies mainly used a targeted sampling strategy, collecting samples mostly from areas they judged likeliest to be contaminated. The GAO takes issue with this approach, saying the agencies should have done probability sampling to achieve “wide-area coverage” and provide statistical confidence in negative results. See also: “None of the agencies’ activities to detect anthrax contamination in the postal facilities were validated,” the GAO said in prepared congressional testimony based on the report. Apr 18, 2005 (CIDRAP News) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says federal agencies may not be able to reliably rule out the presence of anthrax contamination in a building because their sampling and detection methods have not been adequately tested. The agencies have made some changes in their procedures on the basis of lessons learned from the 2001 attacks and have funded some new research. But these efforts, though important, “do not address the issue of validating all activities related to sampling,” in the GAO’s view. The GAO recommends that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lead an effort to develop a definition of validation and to ensure that the whole set of sampling activities is validated. That should include studies to “develop probability-based sampling strategies that take into account the complexities of indoor environments.” Also, the DHS chief should coordinate the activities of agencies with expertise in environmental testing. However, DHS officials took exception to the role the GAO recommends for their department. DHS maintained that the EPA has “the primary responsibility of establishing the strategies, guidelines and plans for the recovery from a biological attack, while HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] has the lead role for any related public health response and guidelines,” the final report states. DHS promised to “coordinate with EPA to ensure appropriate investments are made to explore improved sampling.” When they read a draft of the report, the CDC, USPS, and DHS all agreed that the methods for detecting anthrax were not validated and that a systematic validation effort is needed, the report states. The GAOCongress’s investigative agencyprepared its report for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. GAO staff member Keith A. Rhodes gave a 19-page summary of the 119-page report in testimony prepared for delivery to the committee on Apr 5. Full report “Anthrax Detection: Agencies Need to Validate Sampling Activities in Order to Increase Confidence in Negative Results”http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05251.pdf
TGS and Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) have announced plans to expand their jointly owned multi-client library offshore Eastern Canada. The new Cape Broyle 3D survey, to be acquired during summer 2017, will comprise approximately 3,500 km2 of 3D GeoStreamer data in the South Eastern Newfoundland region.Pre-processing of the initial GeoStreamer signal will be performed by PGS, following which TGS will perform data processing.Final data will be made available to clients in 2018, ahead of the 2019 licensing round under Newfoundland Labrador’s Scheduled Land Tenure system.In addition, in mid-May, TGS and PGS will start a 2D seismic campaign in East Canada comprising approximately 22,000 km of 2D GeoStreamer data.Following completion of these surveys, the jointly-owned library will have more than 175,000 km of 2D GeoStreamer data and 14,750 km2 of 3D GeoStreamer data, TGS said.“This seventh consecutive season of data acquisition will expand our seismic coverage in Newfoundland Labrador where we have a strong track record of success. These projects will provide modern, high quality seismic data to E&P companies to support their drilling activities and prepare for upcoming licensing rounds,” said Kristian Johansen, CEO of TGS.“We have experienced significant interest for our multi-client GeoStreamer data in the Newfoundland Labrador area, and continue to position ourselves for upcoming lease sales in this increasingly attractive exploration region,” added Jon Erik Reinhardsen, president & CEO of PGS.The projects are supported by industry funding.