Assessment of Progress and Final Recommendations by the Expert Review Panel for the State of California's Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

Operational & Advocacy Issues Impacting the Laboratory Community - "Harnessing the Challenges in Reinventing California's Laboratory Accreditation Program"
Oral Presentation

Prepared by L. Phelps1, J. Adelson2, S. Arms3, D. Speis4
1 - US EPA, 109 TW Alexander Dr. (E243-05), Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, United States
2 - US Navy, , ,
3 - Retired - Part-time Consultant, , ,
4 - Retired, , ,


Contact Information: phelps.lara@epa.gov; 919-541-5544


ABSTRACT

An expert panel (the Panel) was convened in 2015 to conduct an external examination of the State of California’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). The Panel identified a number of fundamental weaknesses in ELAP, which were detailed in the Panel’s October 2015 report, “Findings and Recommendations by the Expert Review Panel for the State of California’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program: Year One Final Report”. After following ELAP’s progress through their quarterly public webinars held in 2016, the Panel reconvened to make an assessment of their current status during an in-person meeting in January 2017.

While the Panel congratulates ELAP on the progress they have made in the past year, there are two significant areas that remain a concern: (1) Standard Selection and (2) Resources. Regulatory filings should be expedited to the extent possible for adoption of a new standard, which has fully been vetted with all stakeholder constitutes. Adoption and use of existing programs and tools are critical to meet the resources demands of ELAP and all stakeholder needs.

Although ELAP is not presently achieving its mission, there is a clear path to get there. State support is critical for ELAP to accomplish these efforts and the State should hold them accountable. The Panel believes ELAP is: regaining credibility; working toward an accreditation process the State and stakeholders support; working to reliability ensure environmental and public health data used are of known and documented quality; and working on financial sustainability.