May 8, 2020, Frederick, MD – On May 5th 2020, California’s State Water Resources Control Board announced the adoption of a new set of regulations designed to modernize the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). These new regulations will require accredited laboratories to implement the NELAC Institute (TNI) 2016 Standard, a nationally recognized standard that covers not only laboratories’ analytical methods, but a broader set of factors including the quality of equipment and supplies they use, and the training of laboratory staff. While some laboratories are already operating under the requirements of the TNI Standard, the majority of the facilities overseen by ELAP will need to undergo a transitionary process to ensure they comply with these new regulations. Beginning October 1st, 2020, laboratories will have a 3-year period to ensure they meet the TNI Standard requirements.
A2LA was recognized in January 2017 as a non-governmental accreditation body (NGAB) by The NELAC Institute (TNI), confirming their ability to accredit environmental laboratories to the TNI Standard requirements now adopted by the state of California, the latest of many US states to rely on this standard. Depending on the type of laboratory technology they employ, many California labs will be required by the standard to use a third-party assessment agency. A third-party assessment agency is any TNI state NELAP accreditation body, a TNI approved NGAB, or an accreditation body recognized by the Department of Defense. A2LA fits into the latter two of these three categories. With extensive experience accrediting to the TNI Standard, and a dedicated accreditation program for state environmental laboratory assessment, A2LA is well-equipped to efficiently support California labs as they adopt and implement these new requirements.
This modernization initiative is the result of a careful review process ordered by the California State Water Resources Control Board, which ultimately found that the existing ELAP regulations were outdated and no longer in keeping with certain minimum industry standards. Thanks to this change, the state will be able to ensure consistent and up-to-date data quality. The new regulations will affect more than 650 environmental laboratories across the state of California, giving them a three-year window to implement the new system. The complete PDF of the updated regulations may be viewed here. To learn more about A2LA’s state environmental laboratory assessment program, visit the program page on A2LA.org.