Water, Wastewater and Reuse
General Information 407-571-8686
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the laboratory analyze any water (or other) sample brought in by a City resident?
The laboratory will analyze samples collected by Plant Operators or other City employees that are taken during an inspection resulting from a citizen complaint or inquiry. However, the laboratory is not equipped in terms of staffing and available hours to analyze all samples requested by citizens. That is deferred to local accredited laboratories that are listed telephone yellow pages under LABORATORIES-TESTING.
What is NELAC?
NELAC is the result of a joint effort by EPA, other federal agencies, the States, and the private sector that began in 1990 when EPAs Environmental Monitoring Management Council (EMMC) established an internal work group to consider the feasibility and advisability of a national environmental laboratory accreditation program. The work group concluded that EPA should consult with representatives of all stakeholders, by establishing a federal advisory committee. As a result, the Committee on National Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories (CNAEL) was chartered in 1991 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In its final report to EMMC, CNAEL recommended that a national program for environmental laboratory accreditation be established. In response to the CNAEL recommendation, EPA and State representatives formed the State/EPA Focus Group that developed a proposed framework for NELAC, modeled after the National Conference on Weights and Measures. The Focus Group prepared a draft Constitution, Bylaws and standards, which were published in the Federal Register in December 1994. NELAC was established on February 16, 1995 by State and federal officials with the adoption of an interim Constitution and Bylaws. NELAC was established as a standard-setting body, only, to support a National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). The goal of NELAP is to foster cooperation among the current accreditation activities of different States or other governmental agencies. NELAP seeks to unify the existing State and federal agency standards.
- NELAC, Program Policy and Structure, Revision 11, July 1, 1999, Page 1 of 18.
How does a laboratory attain and maintain certification for a parameter?
The laboratory must submit an application to Florida Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Laboratories. A Method Detection Limit (MDL) must be established and documented followed by the Demonstration of Competency (DOC), a NELAC defined procedure, performed by the analyst. The analyst must then pass two consecutive proficiency tests (PTs) provided by an approved outside vendor. Copies of the MDL, DOC, PTs and payment of the application fee must be included with the application for review by DOH. After an acceptable review DOH will schedule and on-site audit of the laboratory. After an acceptable on-site audit DOH will grant certification for that parameter. The laboratory is required to analyze a PT on each parameter that it is certified to test in six month intervals. PT results must be acceptable two out of the last three intervals. If the laboratory reports unacceptable PT results of two out of the last three intervals, the certification for that parameter will be suspended pending the results of another PT. An acceptable result will lift the suspension. An unacceptable result causes DOH to revoke certification for that parameter. In which case, the laboratory can reapply for certification again.