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Lab certification program news Recent announcements

 

More reciprocity changes

Last year at this time, the Lab Certification Program had completed a review of existing state reciprocity agreements and concluded that except for South Carolina, all reciprocal agreements would be terminated for not meeting the "substantial equivalence" test. Subsequent discussions were had with South Carolina and their program was looking for us to incorporate changes in our audit protocol in order to preserve the existing reciprocal agreement. Unfortunately, such changes would have created an additional burden on our program and were in contradiction to the essence of reciprocal accreditation.

Consequently, effective August 31, 2014, we have made the difficult decision to terminate the remaining reciprocal agreement we currently hold with the South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control [All Environmental Testing, except UST].

A foundation of our program is consistency of requirements. Section NR 149.08 (3)(b) specifies that, "The department may recognize the certification, registration, accreditation, licensure or approval of a laboratory by another state or an agency of the federal government if the standards used for the qualification of a laboratory are substantially equivalent to those established in this chapter."

Again, we did not come to this decision lightly or without considering its impact on labs who utilize the South Carolina agreement in their business pursuits. We are providing significant advance notice of the termination in order to provide affected labs with an opportunity to submit an application for direct accreditation and allow them the time to obtain certification prior to termination of the agreements. We will always seek to enter into reciprocal agreements with those agencies whose accreditation programs are substantially equivalent to our own.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Geis (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[April 2014] Digital video of "ICP - You CAN'T Just Push Play" now available

Recently the LabCert program and the State Lab of Hygiene chemists conducted the third in a series of training sessions devoted to ICP-OES. Media specialists from the State Lab of Hygiene have produced a digital video of the session using Mediasite software.

Links to the videos are available on our Training Resources page under ICP.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[March 2014] NRB to consider adoption of proposed NR 219 changes 4/9/14.

At the Natural Resources Board (NRB) meeting on Wednesday April 9, 2014, the Department is requesting adoption of proposed changes to ch. NR 219, Wisconsin Administrative Code.

Proposed revisions to NR 219 are (1) removal of all SW-846 methods as approved methods other than for biosolids testing [in response to EPA requirements] and (2) to add additional methods promulgated in the Federal Register [40 CFR Part 136.3] since the rule was last revised in 2009.

A link to the rule package is available on the Department's Natural Resources Board agenda website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006) or Steve Geis (608-266-0245)

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[March 2014] LabCert Program develops recommendations for ICP-OES interference correction.

Appropriate correction for spectral interferences in optical emission ICP technology (ICP-OES) has long been a concern raised in reports of on site evaluations. Recently the LabCert program and the State Lab of Hygiene chemists conducted the third in a series of training sessions devoted to ICP-OES.

One outcome of this session was to compile a list of 20 principles of interference correction.

Hand outs from the session are available in color (best for viewing on a PC screen) and in black & white (best for printing to conserve toner) on the Program's training resources web page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006) or Steve Geis (608-266-0245)

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Certification Standards Review Council Meets May 13, 2014

The next meeting of the Laboratory Certification Standards Review Council is scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2014 beginning at 10:00 am. The meeting will be held at the DNR Science Operations Center located at 2801 Progress Road Madison WI 53716.

There will be a special afternoon session, beginning at 1:00 p.m., devoted to discussing revisions to ch. NR 149, the administrative rule governing lab accreditation. It's been nearly 6 years since we enacted a significant rule change, and some adjustment is necessary. LabCert program staff and the Certification Standard Review Council are interested in hearing from the lab community any modifications that are believed to be in order.

For agenda and meeting information as it is developed, please check our Council meeting page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[March 2014] Accreditation renewal fees for FY 2015

The Natural Resources Board has approved our fees and program budget for fiscal 2015. Invoices will be mailed at the end of May or early June. The revised fee schedule reflects a 7.6% increase over the current fiscal year. A version which compares costs to last year is also available. The cost per RVU (Relative Value Unit) will be $63.50, up from $59.00.

If you'd like to see detail of how the fee for your lab is calculated, you can use the Renewal Fee Calculator, an Excel spreadsheet.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[January 2014] Low Level Total Phosphorus PT issued with State Lab PTs.

Those who obtain their Total Phosphorus proficiency testing (PT) samples for the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene will find an extra sample. In addition to the traditional ampule a special low level PT has been provided in a screw cap vial.

While the LabCert Program is encouraging labs to analyze and submit results for BOTH PT samples, be assured that the voluntary PT sample will have absolutely no impact on your accreditation for total phosphorus. The LabCert program is merely attempting to gauge the ability of labs to accurately quantify total phosphorus at low levels.

Those that submit results for the low level total phosphorus PT sample will receive a copy of the report evaluating the data received.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[December 2013] NRB to consider authorizing public hearing on proposed NR 219 changes 12/11/13.

At the Natural Resources Board (NRB) meeting on Wednesday December 11, 2013, the Department is requesting to hold public hearings and accept comments on proposed changes to ch. NR 219, Wisconsin Administrative Code.

Proposed revisions to NR 219 are (1) removal of all SW-846 methods as approved methods other than for biosolids testing [in response to EPA requirements] and (2) to add additional methods promulgated in the Federal Register [40 CFR Part 136.3] since the rule was last revised in 2009.

A link to the rule package is available on the Department's Natural Resources Board agenda website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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[August 2013] Reminder: Test N' Tube Ammonia is approved...but application is required

The salicylate-based Test N' Tube (TNT) colorimetric procedure for determination of ammonia is an approved method. Like with the electrode method, a study has been done which demonstrates that distillation is not required for domestic wastewater effluents in Wisconsin.

Please note that if you are currently certified for ammonia by ISE probe) then you are still required to apply for the new technology (and successfully complete a PT).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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Certified lab lists and map updates

The semi-annual update to our lists of certified labs was completed recently.

We have also identified a new provider to assist private homeowners looking to find an accredited testing lab located near them. Maptive is powered by Google and offers a familiar format and functionality for indiviuduals who use Google's mapping functions. Updated maps have been generated. Give them a test drive and let us know what you think.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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Additional drinking water parameters offered

Due to the time it takes to promulgate a code revision, administrative codes listing approved methodologies frequently lag behind those promulgated in federal standards. The Drinking Water and Ground Water program has received authorization to help resolve this problem. The program now has authorization to link to a list of updated approved methodologies which will be published on our website.

Any methods which are approved for use and accreditation but are not currently listed in ch. NR 809,. Wis. Admin. Code, will be listed under the "Related Links" section of our website. We will then revise our application attachments to include these methods.

The current list of new method approvals will be available for accreditation July 1, 2013. A revised application will be required to add these to your current scope of accreditation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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New technology added for cyanide analysis

Method OIA-1677 offers a new technological approach to cyanide determinations. It is a flow-injection, ligand exchange, gas diffusion, amperometric technology. Until this time, our applications have limited cyanide technology options to colorimetric and titrimetric methods. This new technology also offers means to analyze for the different forms of cyanide (free, available, amenable to chlorination) with better accuracy.

At the May 2013 meeting of the Laboratory Certification Standards Review Council, members voted to support our offering this new technology for accreditation beginning July 1, 2013. The cost for the technology will be 5 RVU (relative value units) per matrix. For fiscal 2014, the cost per RVU will be $59.00.

Updated application forms and application attachments which include this technology will be available July 1, 2013. Please note that in order to report results for covered programs using this technology, you will be required to obtain this accreditation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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Accreditation renewal fees for FY 2014

The Natural Resources Board has approved our fees and program budget for fiscal 2014. Invoices will be in the mail within the next week. The revised fee schedule reflects a 4.4% increase over the current fiscal year. A version which compares costs to last year is also available. The cost per RVU (Relative Value Unit) will be $59.00, up from $56.50.

If you'd like to see detail of how the fee for your lab is calculated, you can use the Renewal Fee Calculator, an Excel spreadsheet.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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Reciprocity agreement changes

The Lab Certification and Registration program has entered into and retained agreements with a number of state certification programs for 20 years or more. A foundation of our program is consistency of requirements. Section NR 149.08 (3)(b) specifies that, "The department may recognize the certification, registration, accreditation, licensure or approval of a laboratory by another state or an agency of the federal government if the standards used for the qualification of a laboratory are substantially equivalent to those established in this chapter."

A recent detailed review of reciprocal agreement states' laboratory accreditation rules indicated significant disparity with our program requirements. Consequently, effective August 31, 2013, we have made the difficult decision to terminate the reciprocal agreements we currently hold with the following states/agencies:

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • North Carolina Division of Water Quality
  • North Dakota Department of Health
  • Tennessee Department of Health
  • Washington State Department of Ecology
We are retaining the current agreement with South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control [All Environmental Testing, except UST].

It is important to note that we did not come to this decision lightly or without considering its impact on labs who utilize the current agreements in their business pursuits. We are providing significant advance notice of the termination in order to provide affected labs with an opportunity to submit an application for direct accreditation and allow them the time to obtain certification prior to termination of the agreements. We will always seek to enter into reciprocal agreements with those agencies whose accreditation program is substantially equivalent to our own.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille Turcotte (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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Watch for NR219 economic impact survey e-mail

As part of the rule revision process the LabCert program needs to obtain an estimate of what the cost to laboratories will be when we revise NR 219. We are working with DNR Policy Analyst, Angela Rampton, to send a very short email survey to labs accredited to do aqueous analysis asking a few questions about costs associated with switching from SW 846 methods to alternate approved methods. Laboratories should expect to see an e-mail coming from Angela Rampton, with a DNR address, soon.

Please respond so that we will have the best information for the economic impact analysis (EIA) required as part of the rule promulgation process. After we complete the EIA, we will draft all the actual changes (removing SW 846 and adding MUR). As with all rules, these will be initially presented to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) for approval to hold hearings and solicit public comment. After obtaining and addressing any comments, and making any changes based on response to public comment, we will bring the rule back to the NRB for final adoption.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille Turcotte (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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LabNotes newsletter released

LabNotes is back! After a couple of years on the back burner due to staffing issues, we have put together a newsletter that's packed with great information from front to back. Historically, LabNotes was mailed to all laboratories and interested parties. Withe the electronic age very much upon us, and in the interest of keeping costs down (and saving resources) we plan to send this and future editions via e-mail. As always, all editions will be available for download from our website. Enjoy the Winter 2013 edition of LabNotes [PDF], our program newsletter!

If you should need a paper copy, please contact us at one of the numbers below or send an e-mail request including your mailing address to DNRLabCert@Wisconsin.gov.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille Turcotte (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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   Go to the index of article headlines. Index

 

Top 10 BOD tips

Perhaps its the loss of knowledge from retiring operators, but we continue to see problems with BOD testing. While BOD is a bioassay and thus not ruled by chemical of physical laws, there are still a number of things you can do to take charge of your testing.

To assist you, we have developed the "Top 10 BOD tips" handout.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: George Bowman (608-219-6285) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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   Go to the index of article headlines. Index

 

NR 149 Update will soon be underway

The Lab Certification and Registration Program has received approval to begin work on revision to chapter NR 149, Wis. Admin. Code, which are the rules associated with laboratory accreditation.

No definitive timetable or list of modifications has been prepared at this time. As we move forward we will keep you informed regarding opportunities for input.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille Turcotte (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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   Go to the index of article headlines. Index

 

NR 219 updates in progress

We have begun the process of revising Chapter NR 219, Wis. Admin. Code, which deals largely with approved wastewater methodologies. This update was triggered by an EPA review of the watershed program.

The two key revisions being made are (A) to bring the methods tables in line with recent approvals at the federal level (40 CFR Part 136.3)and (B)to eliminate any references to SW-846 methods as approved procedures for wastewater compliance testing. While we have allowed the use of the more current technology and quality control included in SW-846 methods, the EPA does not recognize SW-846 methods for wastewater and thus they must be removed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille Turcotte (608-266-0245) or Rick Mealy (608-264-6006)

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   Go to the index of article headlines. Index

 

Bacteria hold time 30 hours

The Department of Natural Resources has informed the State Laboratory of Hygiene that the Environmental Protection Agency will no longer accept samples results where the holding time exceeds 30 hours. This is in regard to total coliform and E. coli samples collected for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (chapter 809, Wis. Adm. Code). This means that the State Laboratory of Hygiene will invalidate samples (not analyze them) when the time from collection to the analysis time is greater than 30 hours. Therefore, you will have to resample. This will start happening on 10/01/2012. This may be difficult for some of you. About 20% of the samples received are greater than 30 hours old.

It is very important that you work with your delivery service. Here are some things to consider.

  • Where is the closest drop off point?
  • Discuss with your shipper what will work best.
  • How long does it take the samples to get to the laboratory?
  • What time does the shipment leave?
  • Collect your samples close to the time that shipments leave shipping facility.

If a sample is greater than 30 hours old you will need to re-sample.

Possible shipping services may include the following:

  • United Parcel Services (UPS) 800-742-5877
  • Dunhams 800-236-7127
  • Spee-Dee 715-341-4960
  • Federal Express 800-463-3339
  • US Postal Service 608-246-1220

Be sure to use the appropriate shipping labels for your shipping service to insure that your samples arrive on time to the laboratory.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Arneson 608-221-6322

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Last revised: Thursday June 16 2016