Newsletter - Environmental Laboratory Accreditation - Minnesota Dept of Health

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

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Spring 2015


2015 Selection Committee Members

New selection committee members representing five of the seven constituencies have been appointed for 2015. Two constituencies, 1) professional organization with a demonstrated interest in environmental laboratory data and accreditation, and 2) a non-governmental client of environmental laboratories, are vacant. If interested in representing one of the vacant constituencies or know of someone you would like to recommend, please contact Lynn Boysen at

MNELAP intends to conduct selection committee meetings quarterly to develop administrative procedures, revise application and forms if necessary, and review assessor and assessment body applications for approval by the commissioner. We intend to use web-conferencing to conduct these tasks. Committee appointments begin on January 1 and end on December 31 of the same year.

Proposed Clean Water Act Methods Update Rule

The United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposes specific changes to analytical test procedures that are used by industries and municipalities to analyze the chemical, physical, and biological components of wastewater and other environmental samples that are required by regulations under the Clean Water Act.  The USEPA is proposing a methods update rule.  Please see the USEPA website for more information.

Methods Update Rule - 2015 Proposed

The Federal Register Notice, includes details of the proposed methods update rules and information on the commenting procedure.  Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before April 20, 2015.

Federal Register Notice

The proposed rule will not impact the regulated community and laboratories using the approved methods for compliance until it has been finalized and published as a Final Rule Publication in the Federal Register.

Updated Fields of Proficiency Testing Tables

The NELAC Institute (TNI) released updated Fields of Proficiency Testing (FoPT) tables for the approved Non-Potable Water Chemistry and Microbiology analytes for proficiency testing.  Please review the updated tables for any changes that may affect your laboratory’s proficiency testing requirements. The new requirements go into effect on March 16, 2015.

TNI FoPT Tables

MNELAP Will Accept Applications for Third Party Assessors and Assessment Organizations Quarterly for 2015

MNELAP is now accepting applications from assessment organizations and individual assessors interested in performing environmental laboratory assessments for compliance with our state laws and rules, including the 2003 NELAC Standard and the 2009 TNI Standard. If you are interested in applying, please see the MNELAP Assessor Information page.

MNELAP Assessor Information

Invalidation of Total Coliform Samples

Invalidation of total coliform samples collected under 40CFR141 can happen in one of two ways depending on the analytical result.  If the result is total coliform present (TC+), the State must be the entity that invalidates the sample; under no circumstance is the public water supply and/or laboratory to invalidate a TC+ sample result.  If the result is total coliform absent (TC-), the laboratory is the entity with the authority to invalidate these results.

The first is in regards to TC+ sample results.  Under 40CFR141.21(c)(1), a State may invalidate a total coliform sample only if one of the following three circumstances is observed:

  1. Improper sample analysis
    1. The laboratory may reject the sample if the sample is received in a leaking/broken contain or hold time has been exceeded.  Once analysis has begun, the laboratory does not have the authority to invalidate a result.
    2. The State may invalidate a result if the laboratory qualifies the result in such a manner that shows that the laboratory erred.  Examples of when a result should be qualified are: if there is contamination of a negative-control sample, if a temperature range violation has been observed, or incubation time has been exceeded.  The state will then determine if the result is invalidated or not.
  2. Results of repeat samples suggest the problem is associated with a domestic or non-distribution system-plumbing problem.
    1. The State may invalidate a sample if the repeat sample at the original positive sample is total coliform present (TC+) but all other repeat samples are total coliform absent as there is a reasonable probability that a domestic/plumbing system or non-distribution problem exists.  By no means is the State to invalidate a TC+ based on all repeat samples being TC absent (TC-).  In addition, if the distribution system consists of a single service connection, invalidating a TC+ sample as a plumbing system problem is prohibited.
  3. There are substantial grounds to believe that the result is due to a condition, which is not reflective of the water quality in the distribution system.
    1. The State may invalidate a sample if there is significant evidence that the sample was collected at a tap that was not representative of the distribution, the integrity of the sample was jeopardized, or other reasons that can be documented to show the sample is not representative of the distribution water quality.  The State must be able provide adequate documentation and rationale in writing as the decision must be technically justifiable and supported.

The second is in regards to total coliform absent (TC-) sample results.  Under 40CFR141.21(c)(2), a laboratory must invalidate a TC- sample result if one of the following two circumstances is observed:

  1. If using analytical method SM9221A or SM9221B which depends upon the production of acid or gas from lactose to indicate the presence of total coliform and the result is turbid without acid or gas production.
  2. If using analytical method SM9222A, SM922B, or SM9222C (membrane filtration) and the resulting filter does not exhibit any TC+ colonies but is overgrown with non-coliform colonies.

Who is Responsible for What?

Minnesota Department of Health(MDH) Responsibilities

MDH will provide guidance for sample collection and sample results.  For systems less than 1,000 in population, the state will take the required repeat samples.

Public Water System (PWS)Responsibilities

If PWS is ≥ 1,000 in population, the PWS must collect samples ASAP and consecutive systems must notify the wholesaler about the positive if the wholesaler has a well.  The wholesaler is responsible for collecting samples from their wells.

Lab Responsibilities

Notify the PWS and MDH about the positive sample ASAP.  For sample procedures and rule requirements, refer the PWS to the designated state contact.


Important to Note

150 mL Bottles

It is recommended that bacteriological bottles be 150 mL in volume vs. 120 mL. When 120 mL bottles are filled passed the 100 mL mark, there is not enough headspace to do the analysis.  This requires another step to decant the sample into a larger container.  The 150 mL bottles offer a range from 100 mL to 120 mL to fill and will still meet the necessary headspace.


MDH is making an effort to make 100% of data submittals electronic. Training on how to use data submittal software will be offered in the future.

30 Hour Hold Time

The maximum holding time for bacteriological samples is 30 hours. Systems need to use a method of delivery that will ensure the samples arrive on time.  Sampling right before pick-up time is recommended.

Ground Water Rule

Groundwater Rule sampling requirements need to be followed. For every routine sample positive for total coliform or E. coli a sample must be taken from each well in use at the time of the positive. Sampling from each well in use in the past week is recommended.  If a system has more than one routine positive, only one sample from each well in use needs to be taken. If a system is a consecutive system, then the wells from the wholesaler must be sampled.

Total Coliform Rule

All routine samples positive for total coliform or E. coli need to be reported to the state ASAP.  All positives require repeat samples taken at the original positive site, at an upstream and downstream site within five service connections from the original site, and one taken at a random location that is representative of the system.


Upcoming Training

The 2015 Proposed EPA Method Update
NELAC Institute, in cooperation with Catalyst Information Resources and TestAmerica Laboratories, will provide webinars on the proposed Method Update Rule published by EPA on February 19, 2015. This proposed rule, that approves new methods or changes to existing methods, affects over 100 EPA methods, Standard Methods, ASTM methods, and other test procedures in 40 CFR Part 136.

The rule also contains a number of clarifications relating to approved methods, sample preservation and holding times, and method modifications. Among the more significant changes are updated versions of Methods 608, 624 and 625 and revisions to the MDL procedure in Part 136.

The first webinar, March 26, 2015 (Part 1: 2015 Proposed EPA Method Update Rule) will focus on the method changes.  The second webinar, April 8, 2015 (Part 2: Working with the New MDL Procedure) will be devoted to the proposed changes to the Method Detection Limit procedure.  This presentation will discuss the reasons for the changes and examine practical ways in which laboratories can efficiently comply with the new requirements.

Part 1: 2015 Proposed EPA Method Update Rule - Registration

Part 2: Working with the New MDL Procedure - Registration


Winter 2014


Updated List of Approved Independent Assessors and Scopes

The MNELAP Selection Committee reviewed additional independent assessor applications and provided MNELAP with two recommended approvals. MNELAP accepted the recommendations of the Selection Committee. The two assessors, Maurice Downer and Julie Snelling, completed the MNELAP Orientation Training and are approved MNELAP Assessors in the areas indicated on the updated list of approved assessors.

Two of the current MNELAP approved assessors successfully completed the EPA Certification Officer Training. John Gumpper is now approved to assess inorganic, metals, organic, and microbiology in drinking water, and Jack Farrell is now approved to assess inorganic and metals in drinking water.

The updated list of approved independent assessors and assessment organizations can be found on the MNELAP website on the Assessment Information page.

Assessment Information

New Selection Committee Members Needed

Minnesota Statutes 144.98 requires a selection committee for the purpose of recommending approval of qualified laboratory assessors and assessment bodies. Committee appointments begin on January 1st and end on December 31st of the same year. If you or someone you know is interested in representing one of the constituencies for 2015, please contact Lynn Boysen at and include the name of the interested person, the represented constituency, and the contact information. The current represented constituencies on the committee are:

  • Municipal Laboratory
  • Commercial Laboratory- Instate
  • Commercial Laboratory - Outstate
  • Non-Governmental Client of environmental laboratory
  • Industrial Laboratory
  • Professional Organization with interest in environmental lab data and accreditation

MNELAP Staff Changes

Susan Wyatt, long time Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Manager, has departed the Minnesota Department of Health for a position in another state. Susan worked with the Minnesota Department of Health, Public Health Laboratory for sixteen years, and in that time she held the roles of Laboratory Assessor, Program Manager, and Supervisor.

In addition, Stephanie Drier has also departed from the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. Stephanie worked for the Accreditation Program as an assessor and as the Quality Systems Officer for eight years. Stephanie remains with the Minnesota Department of Health and is now working as the Organic Chemistry Supervisor within the Environmental Laboratory Section of the Public Health Laboratory.

Lynn Boysen has taken on the role as ELAP Coordinator and remains available to you to provide guidance, technical assistance or to answer any questions you may have regarding the MNELAP accreditation process. Feel free to contact Lynn at 218-332-5164 or by email at with any questions you have and we will try to accommodate your needs as best we can during our transition to a new organizational structure.

September 2014


Don't forget! It's time to renew your laboratory's MNELAP accreditation

The ELDO system is now available for laboratories to apply to renew their accreditation. To ensure no lapse in your laboratory accreditation you must submit a completed application to the MDH Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (MNELAP) on or before October 31st of each calendar year. Please plan accordingly to allow enough time for completing the online application form, uploading documents and requesting payment from your financial office.

New Fields of Testing (FOTs) Added

MNELAP recently added approximately 800 new pre-associated fields of testing (FOTs) to its application.  All the previous pre-associated FOTs are still available for accreditation. When completing the renewal application, please ensure that you choose the method and version that meets your clients’ requirements. If you have any questions on the correct method/version to choose, please check with your client (e.g. MPCA, EH) before submitting your application.

Available FOTs

Secondary Accreditation

If your laboratory is applying for secondary accreditation through Minnesota, please ensure that you upload your most recent assessment report and scope and certificate from your primary accreditation body as well as all other required documentation.  The assessment report, scope, and certificate must be uploaded into the additional document module in ELDO.

Application Questions

Lynn Boysen will be available to answer your specific application questions every Thursday, beginning October 2nd through October 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  MNELAP will attempt to respond within three business days to application questions received at other times then during this designated period. Please call Lynn at 218-332-5164 or email at

Trainings Available

How to Use ELDO

If you are new to the ELDO system, or need a refresher, MNELAP recommends that you review the ELDO on-demand training presentations and/or review the ELDO User Guide. The ELDO on-demand training presentations are broken into modules describing the steps of the application process and responding to a Corrective Action finding.

ELDO On-Demand Training

ELDO User Guide

Chromatography Course
Minnesota Chromatography Forum is offering a new 3-day course in St. Paul, September 16 -18, 2014, titled Practical GC/MS.

Practical GC/MS Information and Registration

Data Integrity and Ethics Course
The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) is offering a free webinar on September 16, 2014 titled Ethics and Data Integrity for Environmental Labs.

Ethics and Data Integrity Course Information and Registration 

July 2014


Applications Now Being Accepted for Third Party Individual Assessors and Assessment Organizations

MNELAP is now accepting applications from assessment organizations and individual assessors interested in performing environmental laboratory assessments for compliance with our state laws and rules, including the 2003 NELAC Standard and the 2009 TNI Standard.

The application forms and information are posted on the MNELAP website at:

MNELAP Assessor Information

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. (Central) on August 7, 2014.

Please feel free to distribute this notification to others who may be interested.

National Conference Announcement

The TNI Semiannual Meeting, Forum on Laboratory Accreditation, is being held August 4 - 8, 2014 in Washington D.C. The conference information has been added to the MNELAP Upcoming Events page.

Upcoming Events

Comment Period TNI Working Draft Standards

Pursuant to TNI SOP 2-100 (Procedures Governing Standards Development), any stakeholder or stakeholder group is invited to submit written comments on working draft standards. The following draft standards are open for comment: V1M4 (Calibration), V1M6 (Radiochemistry), V4 (Proficiency Testing). The working draft standards can be found under the news banner on the NELAC Institute website.

The NELAC Institute

May 2014 - Amended


New Analyte List

MNELAP just posted an updated Analyte List on the website under Tools/Resources and then Analytes & FOTs Available. The update added abamectin, bifenazate, bifenthrin, carbaryl, cypermethrin, diazinon, myclobutanil, paclobutrazol, permethrin, resmethrin to the list of analytes available for accreditation. The update is effective as of May 27, 2014.

List of Analytes Available for Accreditation (PDF: 59KB/13 pages) 

Updated List of Approved Independent Assessors and Assessment Organizations

The MNELAP Selection Committee has reviewed additional independent assessors’ and assessment organizations’ applications and has provided MNELAP with the list of recommended approvals. MNELAP accepted the recommendations of the Selection Committee.

The updated list of approved independent assessors and assessment organizations can be found on the MNELAP website on the Assessment Information page.

Assessment Information

All laboratories issued accreditation with MNELAP must complete an onsite assessment and make all corrective actions at least once every 24 months. Laboratories must only use approved assessors from the MNELAP published list. 

If you have more questions about selecting an assessor, you can contact Lynn Boysen at 218-332-5164.

January 2014


Applications Now Being Accepted for 3rd Party Individual Assessors and Assessment Organizations

MNELAP is now accepting applications from assessment organizations and individual assessors interested in performing assessments for compliance with our state laws and rules, including the 2003 NELAC Standard and the 2009 TNI Standard. 

There are two application forms: 

Assessor Application and Instructions (PDF: 145 KB/9 pages)

Assessor Application and Instructions (Word: 91 KB/9 pages)

Assessment Organization Application and Instructions (PDF: 125 KB/8 pages)

Assessment Organization Application and Instructions (Word: 87 KB/8 pages)

Approved assessors and assessment organizations will have to read and sign the MDH Data Practices and Data Security Checklist for Contractors.

MDH Data Practices and Security Checklist for Contractors (PDF: 125 KB/7 pages)

Applications are due by 2:30 p.m. (Central) on February 12, 2014.

The Minnesota Statutes amendments include provisions for approval of employees of state or federal agencies with established agreements for mutual assistance or recognition with MDH. Therefore, state and federal employees should not use this application process.

After review of the applications, the selection committee will report their recommendations to the MNELAP. MNELAP will post a list of qualified assessors and organizations on its web page and send notifications to applicants. Approvals for assessors and organizations may extend from the date of notification/posting through December 31, 2014. Please note that meeting the qualifications and requirements does not guarantee acceptance as an assessor.

Please feel free to distribute this notification and the attached forms to others who may be interested. This announcement and the application forms are also posted on the MNELAP website at:

MNELAP Assessor Information

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News Archive 2013

Updated Wednesday, 26-Oct-2016 10:46:42 CDT