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Environmental laboratories conduct analyses of our air, water, soil and other materials. Clients of environmental laboratories include municipalities, consultants, public health officials and commercial entities. Analyses performed by laboratories are often used to determine compliance status with federal, state and local regulations. These analyses have a direct effect upon human health and the environment.
The Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (MNELAP) was established in 1989 to help ensure laboratories submit reliable and consistent data to Minnesota's various environmental programs. MNELAP offers accreditations designed to accommodate the needs of many state and federal environmental programs including testing required by the Underground Storage Tank Program, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
MNELAP develops procedures and requirements to ensure accredited laboratories produce accurate and precise test results. Accreditation requires the laboratory's quality systems, staff, facilities, equipment, test methods, records and reports to be evaluated using objective and measurable criteria. The 2009 Minnesota Statutes requires the commissioner to accredit laboratories against a national standard as adopted by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) of the NELAC Institute. Effective July 1, 2009, laboratories accredited by the department must comply with the 2003 NELAC standard, the current adopted standard for NELAP.