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When selecting a water testing laboratory, certification should be an essential part of your decision-making process. For something as vital as water purity and safety, ELAP certification is verification that the lab follows rigorous methodology and will provide proven reliable and defensible results.

What Is ELAP Certification?

“ELAP” stands for Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. This is a state-implemented program whose mission is to “implement a sustainable accreditation program that ensures laboratories generate environmental and public health data of known, consistent, and documented quality to meet stakeholder needs.” Through the use of data acquired by this certification program, California hopes to be able to make the most beneficial environmental and public health decisions.

Laboratories can become certified in the following fields:

  • Microbiology
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Bioassay
  • Radiochemistry
  • Bulk Asbestos
  • Pesticide Residues in Food
  • Shellfish Sanitation
  • Cryptosporidium

Most of these categories are comprised of several Fields of Testing. See the full list of Field of Testing (FOT) forms here.

What Is the Process for Certification?

test tubes of water lined up for water testing

Commercial and public laboratories seeking ELAP certification must submit an application, all related fees, and undergo on-site inspections and audits. The application must include a list of all desired fields of testing and proven acceptable laboratory results for each of the requested fields of certification. ELAP certification application details can be found here.

On-Site Assessment Component

While auditors will try to coordinate with the business on inspection dates and times, they can and do make unannounced visits to ensure that all regulatory codes are being followed. During these unannounced inspections, ELAP auditors may take pictures, issue citations, revoke certifications, or even “refer laboratories to the appropriate prosecutorial agency for civil infractions or criminal behavior.” During the laboratory re-certification process, planned onsite audits are extensive and provide the auditors opportunity to view and critique all laboratory procedures.

ELAP certification is used by environmental labs throughout the United States, with the majority found in California; the map of all ELAP-certified locations can be viewed here. Labs with ELAP certification must assure their methodology follows strict ELAP guidelines for each completed analysis.. Consumers can expect results that are accurate and reliable.

Brelje and Race is an ELAP-certified laboratory and has been providing quality analysis for more than 52 years. For more information about how we can help you, contact us.