Harnessing the Challenges in Reinventing California's Laboratory Accreditation Program - ACIL Perspective

Oral Presentation

Prepared by B. Godfrey
Montrose Environmental Group, Inc., 2323 5th Street, Berkeley, CA, 94710, United States

Contact Information: bgodfrey@montrose-env.com; 510-204-2222


The author summarizes ACIL’s views of the work accomplished and required to bring California’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) to a position of credibility. ACIL advocates a system incorporating 3rd party nongovernmental Accreditation Body (AB) companies performing lab assessments to the TNI standard as essential for the timely correction of issues troubling ELAP. Similarly, ACIL supports TNI’s recognition of nongovernmental AB’s for the provision of NELAP assessment services.

During the Expert Review Panel (ERP) process that evaluated ELAP and presented options for ELAP corrective actions, panelists apparently recommended a 3rd party approach as both a rapid and sustainable solution to program deficiencies. ELAP leadership apparently quashed this solution without appropriate stakeholder review of the merits of the 3rd party approach. The author presents the case for implementing the 3rd party AB approach for ELAP.

Under a 3rd party AB system ACIL advocates, California laboratories will have the option of selecting alternatives to ELAP for the provision of conformity assessment services. This is beneficial in many ways, two of the more compelling reasons are; 1) ELAP’s capability to provide AB services to any standard is unknown today and inability could persist several years into the future. Allowing third party ISO 17011 conforming nongovernmental AB’s to replace ELAP’s provision of onsite assessment services provides a rapid and sustainable fix for persistent ELAP deficiency issues. ELAP needs existential incentives to improve services and control fees.

The American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL, www.acil.org) is the national trade association representing independent, commercial scientific and engineering firms. Accreditation is a key area of concern for ACIL laboratories that provide the overwhelming majority of test and measurements for environmental regulatory purposes in America.