EnviroChain Sample Generator FAQ

EnviroChain Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Are electronic signatures valid?
A: Yes. Electronic signatures are considered valid based on numerous Federal and state statutes and practices. More information is available at:http://www.ftc.gov/os/2001/06/esign7.htm. The electronic signature is made up of several compoents including a unique user name, secure password, time stamp, date stamp, and the devices’s IP or machine address.

Q: Does the CoC have to be signed electronically?
A: No. A CoC can be printed from EnviroChain and manually signed, just like what is currently done with paper forms.

Q: Does a printed CoC copy still need to be put in the cooler?
A: No, although a marked-up copy of a preliminary CoC may be useful as a reference. All that is needed with the coolers during transport of the samples is some way to document the CoC identification number (ID#). The CoC Custody Seal Label form available from the Promium website serves this purpose. Similar to a FedEx airbill number, this ID #, identifies the samples within the cooler(s) or other container and matches them with the record number within EnviroChain. A copy of the final CoC can also be printed and put in the cooler if a printer is available after submission.

Q: Does the lab receive the CoC electronically?
A: Yes. For labs with Element LIMS from Promium, the data is transmitted through EnviroChain and then downloaded to Element LIMS. Other LIMS may be integrated as well. Alternatively, an email can be sent to an email address for the lab you choose. The email contains details of the shipment/samples, and also includes a copy of the CoC in image format. In addition, this record appears on the lab’s EnviroChain dashboard.

Q: Can an EDD be sent to the lab?
A: Yes. A number of EDD formats are already available and others are being developed.

Q: Can specific methods be entered into the system?
A: Yes. While chances are high that the analytical method needed is already in EnviroChain, if not, it can be added by the Sample Generator. This is done from the ‘My Data’ section or right from the ‘Pick a Method’ screen during sample entry.

Q: How do we operate in the field with smartphones if there is water and mud that will damage them?
A: Many of the leading smartphones and/or special cases today are now able to withstand the elements. And of course paper doesn’t hold up well in wet conditions either. In extreme conditions, where you are not able to use a smartphone or tablet, if it is somehow more convenient, you can write the information down and transcribe it later.

Q: What about all the time it takes to enter data into a smartphone or computer?
A: It certainly takes time to write information down on the paper CoC as well and of course that information must be transcribed at least once later in the process. With EnviroChain, the data is easily entered once–with the aid of pre-populated information and with less chance of data entry error–and then reused automatically.

Mobile App

Q: Do I need an account on EnviroChain before I can use the Apple iOS (iPhone) or Android apps?
A: Yes. While you can download the EnviroChain apps from the app stores (Apple App Store and Google Play store), it won’t work unless you also have an online EnviroChain account.

Q: How much does EnviroChain cost?
A: For sample generators, EnviroChain is available at no charge. There is no cost to create and use an account, or to download the iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android apps.

Q: How do I delete old CoCs?
A: If you started a CoC but have not submitted it, and you want to remove it, swipe left on the CoC name and then tap on the delete button. If you have already submitted your CoC, you will not be able to delete it.

Q: Does using the mobile apps require Internet or cellular connectivity?
A: No. You can use the EnviroChain native mobile apps in an offline mode, meaning that you can create a CoC, add samples, sign the CoC, etc. even when you are in areas with zero Internet or cell phone connectivity. However, in order to sync the data back to the server, you will eventually need to have connectivity at some point in time.

Q: How does synchronization work?
A: On the mobile apps, there is a sync button. When you tap on it, data is exchanged in both directions between the device and your account on EnviroChain. So for example, if you start a CoC on your desktop computer, but don’t finish it, you can then launch EnviroChain on your phone, tap on the sync button, and then that partially completed CoC will appear on your phone, which you will then be able to complete and submit from your phone.

Q: If I tap on the submit button on EnviroChain Mobile, will the CoC be sent to the lab automatically?
A: Yes. Once you tap on the submit button (from the Submit screen), the app will begin a new sync session. Assuming that you have Internet connectivity (wifi or cell) at that moment, then your CoC will be submitted to your account on EnviroChain, including email delivery notification to the lab you selected for that CoC. If you do not have connectivity when you tap on the sync button, the CoC will not be sent to your EnviroChain account or to the lab until you have connectivity and then tap on the sync button manually.

Q: If I start a CoC on my phone, but want to complete and submit the CoC on my desktop computer, how do I do that?
A: Just make sure you sync your phone before you open your account on the web app, and the CoC you started on your phone should appear on your account’s dashboard screen once sync has completed.

Q: My lab screen is blank. There are no labs listed there. How do I find labs on the mobile phone?
A: Labs marked as your favorites on your EnviroChain account will appear on the phone app once you sync. So you must first mark at least one lab as a favorite from your EnviroChain account. To do that, log into EnviroChain on the web, go to My Data->My Favorite Labs, search for a lab, and then mark it as a favorite. Then sync your phone.

Q: Can I use EnviroChain to submit CoCs to a lab that has not subscribed to your service?
A: Yes. You can submit CoCs to a non-subscribing lab, as long as that lab is listed in the lab list of EnviroChain. You will first need to check to see if that lab is listed in EnviroChain’s database. To do that, on the web application, go to My Data-> My Favorite Labs, and search for your lab. Once you find it, you will need to mark it as a favorite in order to send CoCs to it using the iOS(iPhone) or Android EnviroChain mobile app.

Q: Can I enter my own methods if the lab list does not include any methods or if the lab?
A: Yes. You can add your own methods by simply typing a method name in the type ahead field on the sample screen.

Q: Can I capture the latitude and longitude from the phone’s GPS card?
A: Yes. Tap on the locate icon on the sample screen in order to capture the latitude and longitude. Note: you will first need to tap on “Advanced” on the button bar at the top of the sample screen.

Q: Can I take photos of my samples?
A: Yes. Photo capture is available from the “Advanced” mode on the sample screen. You can take as many photos as you’d like. However, the more photos you take and attach to samples, the longer sync will take during synchronization with your EnviroChain account. Keep in mind that photos create very large files nad uploading may take considerable time.

Q: Can I enter more details, like sample depths, container types, etc?
A: Yes. Additional fields are present on the “Advanced” mode on the sample screen, including pre-logged samples that were entered from the desktop.

Q: Can I enter field data, like pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, etc?
A: Yes.

Q: How do I delete samples?
A: Swipe left on the sample name and then tap on the delete button.

Q: Can I notify a courier when my samples are ready for pickup?
A: Yes. On the Shipping screen, tap on “Courier” on the button bar, and then tap on the “Notify Courier” button on the bottom of the screen. You can also tap on the locate icon to acquire your phone’s current location.

Q: Can I sign the CoC using the phone app when I relinquish the CoC to someone else?
A: Yes. Go to the Signatures screen, and tap on the + icon on the bottom right to add relinquish/receive signature blocks. Then tap on the “tap to sign” field and use your finger to draw your signature.

Q: Will my signatures appear on the printed PDF of the CoC?
A: Yes, your signatures will appear on the CoC PDF.

Q: What does “Bill analytical charges to my client” mean?
A: If you tap on the radio button next to “bill analytical charges to my client”, then on the CoC PDF, the invoice to section will display your client’s name and address. This is used to notify the lab of 3rd party billing preferences.

Privacy & Security

Q: How secure is the data?
A: All traffic is protected using standards based 256-bit SSL encryption. EnviroChain operates in a load-balanced application server environment, with a clustered SQL Server database behind a firewall and not exposed to the public Internet. Our servers are hosted in a SAS70 certified data center. Database backups are fully encrypted and pushed nightly to a secure off-site location, and database transaction logs are stored every 15 minutes. We also store login session information, including login date/time, remote IP address, and logout/session expiration date/time.

Q: Is Sample Generator data shared with anyone?
A: No. The only data sharing that is conducted is the sharing of the sample information on a specific CoC with the receiving lab designated on the CoC.

Specifications & Requirements

Q: Do I need to install any software to use EnviroChain?
A: No. EnviroChain is a web application, with no software installation required. A mobile application for sample generators can be downloaded.

Q: With what browsers or operating systems does EnviroChain work?
A: Our system will run on any modern browser, including Chrome, Internet Explorer/Edge, FireFox, and Safari.

Q: Does EnviroChain work on Apple iOS, iPhone, iPad and/or Android phones?
A: Yes.

Q: Is a live Internet connection required to work with EnviroChain?
A: A connection is necessary but if you are using a mobile application and temporarily off the network, data can be stored locally until you are able to re-connect and sync.