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Laboratory certification in the water quality industry is as important as it is confusing. Here we try to disentangle the many threads of laboratory accreditation and certification so that you can understand how to check a laboratory facility’s current accreditation status.
All Tap Score water test packages are powered by SimpleLab and run in certified laboratories accredited in many fashions, including accreditation bodies like ISO, NELAC, State Health Departments, and more. All Tap Score testing methods are Standard Methods and EPA methods approved for drinking water and similar matrices (groundwater, surface water, etc).
Laboratory Certification and Accreditation
The fastest way to search for accredited environmental testing labs in the USA is to utilize the TNI LAMS Lab Search Tool
On this page you can search for laboratories directly by matrix, method, analyte, location, lab name, and accreditation body.
When you find the lab(s) you’re looking for you can then proceed to the “View Lab” page and see more details about the lab facilities and accreditations.
If you click on “Fields of Accreditation” on any given “View Lab” you can see precisely which matrices, methods, and analytes that lab is accredited for.
NELAC, NELAP, and TNI
The NELAC Institute (TNI) manages the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, or NELAP. The purpose of this program is to establish and implement a program for the accreditation of environmental laboratories.
NELAP relies on consensus standards representing the best professional practices in the industry to establish the requirements for this program, which is then implemented by state agencies recognized by TNI as Accreditation Bodies. The TNI Standard for laboratories, Volume 1, is modeled after ISO/IEC 17025:2005 "General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories." TNI Standard Volume 2 is the Accreditation Body (AB) requirements to accredit laboratories.
The AB Standard is based on ISO/IEC 17011:2004 "Conformity Assessment: General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies." Volumes 3 and 4 relate to the proficiency testing components of NELAP.
EPA Certification is a common misconception among first time users of environmental laboratory testing services. Labs are rarely ever directly accredited by the Federal EPA.
The Federal EPA has given such powers (in most cases) directly to the States. Each State then decides how environmental labs must be accredited in order to perform compliance testing in their state. Because it would be chaos if every lab needed to get “direct lab certification” from every State, one-by-one, organizations like NELAC were formed to streamline this accreditation process.
Other Laboratory Certifications: ISO, A2LA, PJLA, etc.
While NELAP is the largest laboratory accrediting agency, it is by no means the only authority. There are a handful of other certifications which a lab may hold, such as ISO via American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) or Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, Inc (PJLA). SimpleLab laboratories also include many of these types of accredited facilities, as well.
Each of these other accrediting agencies require maintaining rigorous standards and proficiency testing similar to NELAP in order to remain in good standing.
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