Newsletter - Environmental Laboratory Accreditation - Minnesota Dept of Health

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

2012 Monthly Accreditation Newsletter

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November/December 2012


Training Opportunity:
Data Integrity & Ethics Training for Accredited Laboratories Information

Method Update Rule II (MUR II)

The Minnesota Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program plans to incorporate the MUR II method references by the October 2013 application period. Laboratories are free to update their standard operating procedures at any time with the new MUR II method references. Laboratories do NOT need to retain the older references within the SOPs to satisfy MNELAP requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Frequently Asked Questions page has been revised to include new categories, which include the following: Registration versus Accreditation, Application Renewal Process, Document Submittal (in EDLO), Proficiency Testing Requirements, and the Assessment Process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Fields of Testing (FOTs) Available

The Fields of Testing that are available for accreditation by MNELAP were recently expanded. Please see the Accreditation Requirements (Minnesota) page to access the file named “Available Fields of Testing” to see the updated FOT’s. Please note: Step 3 of the Accreditation Process contains the FOT file.

Accreditation Requirements (Minnesota)

October 2012


ELDO User Account Information

Please remember to keep your ELDO user account information current. The information is for the specific user and is therefore not synced with the other personnel information entered in the laboratory’s application. MNELAP uses the user contact information to distribute critical announcements (e.g. updates, ELDO system maintenance, etc.). We are receiving a number of returned e-mails from inactive or incorrect e-mail addresses.

Assistance for Completing the 2013 Renewal Application

We have scheduled Question & Answer sessions for the application process. The Q&A sessions are scheduled for every Wednesday in October (October 3, 10, 17, and 24th) beginning at 2:00 p.m. central time. The sessions are one hour or less depending on the number of attendees and the number and type of questions presented. The call-in number and access code for participation was forwarded by MNELAP to each of the registered ELDO users. If you did not receive a notification and wish to attend a Q&A session, please contact MNELAP at 651-201-5200.


Approved Proficiency Testing (PT) Providers

The Proficiency Testing (PT) website pages were updated to reflect a new accreditation body for PT Providers. Please go to the MN-ELAP Website to find the official scopes/certificates supplied by the PT accreditation bodies. Go to the left side of the home page and click on Proficiency Testing under the Tools and Resources header.

MN-ELAP Website

Proficiency Testing (PT) Requirements for Laboratories

Well Management Guidance for Holding Time and Preservation

MNELAP removed from its State-specific Requirements page the April 2010 holding time and preservation guidance for microbiology and nitrates. The guidance was formerly supplied by the MDH Well Management Section who determined the contents were outdated. Laboratories conducting microbiology and nitrate testing for private wells must comply with the same requirements as laboratories testing drinking water for municipal water supplies (i.e. the Safe Drinking Water Act Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 141).

September 2012


Application Renewal Time

In 2011, the MNELAP staff completed reviews of late applications up to December 30th in order to ensure laboratories did not have a lapse in their accreditation. We cannot guarantee that staff is available on-demand each day of the renewal cycle to answer questions about logging-in or navigating the system. We try to return calls within two business days. We recommend you review the ELDO User Guide, the application instructions, and the 2003 NELAC Standard prior to calling or e-mailing our staff.

New Analyte List

MNELAP just posted an updated Analyte List on the website under Tools/Resources and then Analytes & FOTs Available. The update added asbestos to the list of analytes available for accreditation. The update is effective as of August 27, 2012.

List of Analytes Available for Accreditation (PDF: 52KB/13 pages)

Training Soon to be Offered Through MN.TRAIN Website

MNELAP will soon begin using a free knowledge management system, Training Finder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network (TRAIN), to manage online and in-person training events for accredited laboratories. MN.TRAIN will allow users to track all of their training attendance records whether the course was provided through MDH or others. Accredited laboratories will be provided instructions for obtaining an account and registering for training events.

Registered users to the MNELAP group of MN.TRAIN will receive automatic notices for upcoming courses identified by MNELAP for the laboratory training curricula. Other courses may still be announced on the MNELAP website under the Upcoming Events header on the right side of the website. If you know of a course that should be posted, please notify Kim Sandrock at 651-201-5322.

MNELAP Proficiency Testing Requirements Training Course

A training course on MNELAP requirements for analyzing and submitting Proficiency Test samples for accreditation will be offered on October 10, 2012 & November 14, 2012, 1:00 – 2:30 1:00 PM CT via a web facilitated teleconference. If you would like to register for this course, please decide which date for which you would like to register and follow the correct link below to the WebEx registration site.

October 10, 2012 MNELAP Course Registration

November 14, 2012 MNELAP course Registration

If you have questions about this course please contact Kim Sandrock at 651-201-5322 or at

Purchase of TNI Standards

Please be aware that the 2009 TNI Standard (published by The NELAC Institute) contains language that has been taken from ISO/IEC 17025 and 17011, which is copyrighted material. Therefore, the TNI documents that contain this copyrighted language are only available through purchase. If you obtained/downloaded a free copy of the 2009 TNI Standards from the TNI website, please note this version does not contain the copyrighted text. The free version will not give you all of the information your laboratory needs to comply with accreditation requirements. Currently MNELAP is still using the 2003 NELAC standard, but will implement the 2009 TNI standard in the near future.

As with many professional organizations, TNI offers a reduced price for its publications to members of the organization but membership is not required in order to purchase. For more information, please see the TNI Website.

The TNI Website

TNI Standard, Guidance for Small Labs

TNI has published a handbook for small labs to help them comply with the 2009 TNI standard. The title of this handbook is “The TNI Standard, Guidance for Small Labs”, and it is available for purchase on the TNI Website under the Professional and Technical Resources Tab on the top of the home page. Select the QA and SOP Templates tab, and then scroll down past the Quality Manual Template tab to the Small Laboratory Handbook tab.

The TNI Website

Forms and Templates Workgroup Update

The MNELAP Forms and Templates Workgroup met on September 5, 2012.  The workgroup has drafted revisions of the Demonstration of Capability (DOC) forms for Chemistry and Microbiology, and the Signature Log and the Training Documentation forms.  The workgroup is also drafting spreadsheets for the DOC and MDL forms so that the calculations can be done automatically.  The workgroup is currently meeting on the first Wednesday of every other month at 1:00 PM via web teleconference.  Please view the website for information on the workgroup’s membership, charter, and meeting minutes.

MNELAP Website Updates

Data Integrity Training and Resources

A Resources page has been added to the website under the Tools/Resources navigation header on the left side of the home page.  Various trainings, presentations, and other resources will be listed here.  Under the Data Integrity Trainings and Presentations header on this page, there are government and laboratory data integrity trainings listed.  You can use these trainings and/or modify them to fulfill your laboratory’s Data Integrity Training accreditation requirement.


Feedback and Improvement Survey

MNELAP is committed to continuously improving the quality of the program and is using a new online survey to collect feedback, improvement ideas, and training needs. Please participate in this survey and help improve the services MNELAP provides. The information that is collected through the survey will be used for improvement purposes only and will not be shared or distributed. The online survey is located on the MNELAP website on the left side of the page under the Laboratories heading.

Feedback and Improvement Survey

June 2012


Method Update Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final Method Update Rule on May 18, 2012. The final rule approves several new or revised analytical methods or test procedures for measuring regulated pollutions for the Clean Water Act Programs (40 CFR part 136). The Minnesota Laboratory Accreditation Program (MNELAP) has formed a workgroup to review the Method Update Rule language, identify the changes to methods, and determine the implementation plan. During this project, MNELAP will review the ammonia/fluoride distillation study requirements and provide subsequent training materials.

Please visit the EPA’s Method Update Rule website and factsheet for more information, Rule summary, and the Federal Register Notice.

Methods Update Rule

Hydrogen approved as carrier gas for Drinking Water Methods

An Alternative Testing Procedure (ATP) memorandum dated March 12, 2012 approved the use of hydrogen as an alternate carrier gas for Safe Drinking Water Compliance methods. Hydrogen is considered an acceptable carrier for gas chromatography and may be used in place of helium in drinking water compliance methods. Please review the Environmental Protection Agency’s ATP Case No. D12-0003 for specific requirements and additional details.

Hydrogen Carrier Gas

ELDO Enhancements Released in Version 1.7.0

The Environmental Laboratory Data Online (ELDO) system enhancements are released as soon as new features and fixes become available. The newest release of ELDO includes the following updates and enhancements:

  • renamed the proficiency testing reports
  • added method and analyte codes to the FOTs listed in the application
  • enhanced the proficiency testing menu option to allow users to label fields of proficiency testing as corrective action (CAR) items
  • added document identifiers to the document module (e.g. comparison study)


Website Updates

Advisory Committee Meeting and Workgroups

The Advisory Committee met via WebEx on May 8, 2012 from 1:30pm until 3:00pm. The meeting summary and presentation materials are available for review. The meeting included updates on the Advisory Committee Workgroups that have been created to provide compliance assistance tools and materials for implementing the 2009 TNI Standard. The next meeting is scheduled for July 10, 2012 from 1:30 to 3:00pm.

Feedback and Improvement Survey

MNELAP is committed to continuously improving the quality of the program and is using a new online survey to collect feedback and improvement ideas. Please participate and assist in evaluating the services MNELAP provides. The information that is collected through the survey will be used for improvement purposes only and will not be shared or distributed. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Feedback and Improvement Survey

April 2012


GRO/DRO Changes from MPCA’s Petroleum Remediation Program

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is updating the standard for Gasoline Range Organics/Diesel Range Organics (GRO/DRO). Please see the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s website for the changes made to the GRO/DRO Guidance and its impact to your laboratory’s analysis.

Updated DRO/GRO Policy

Internal Audit Tip: Determine the Most Stringent Criteria!

Per Minn. Rules Chapter 4740, accredited laboratories must ensure they are using the most stringent requirements in state or federal law or as required by the applicable program office. For example, the Code of Federal Regulations listed approved method for sulfide (SM 4500 S2) allows a 14 day holding time while the same publication contradicts the method instructions by publishing a more stringent holding time limit (7 days) in its table of preservatives and holding times. (See the 2007 Method Update Rule, Title 40 CFR part 136.) For regulatory compliance, the laboratory must meet the most stringent requirement. For sulfide analysis, this means a holding time of 7 days. Please assure your laboratory reviews all regulatory and method requirements for compliance.

ELDO Enhancements Released in Version 1.6.0

The Environmental Laboratory Data Online (ELDO) system enhancements are released as soon as new features and fixes become available. The newest release of ELDO includes the following updates and enhancements:

  • improved and made universally available the ‘PTs Reported by Fields of Testing’,
  • increased the file upload size to 15M,
  • additional document designations (e.g. Supporting Documents, Comparison Study)
  • navigation ‘Help’ link to ELDO User Guide, and
  • clarified navigation buttons and actions within the system


Website Updates

Searchable Laboratory List Improvements

The customizable searchable site for accredited laboratories has been enhanced to return results based on technology. In addition, the scopes of certification can be exported to Excel so they can easily be filtered, sorted, and uploaded into databases.

Accredited Labs

January 2012


TNI Voting Draft Standard Available

The NELAC Institute (TNI) is a consensus standard organization that uses expert committees to review and draft standards for use in the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. The Quality Systems Expert Committee has posted a ‘Voting Draft Standard for Laboratory Quality Systems’ for review, comment, and vote. The voting draft standard will be open to a membership vote beginning on January 12, 2012 through February 11, 2012.

Voting Draft Standards

Changes to Proficiency Testing Tables and PT Provider Accreditors

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. Effective October 3, 2011, the updated tables move selected fields of proficiency testing from experimental to required status. The FoPT table is posted on the TNI website and the changes are noted in red. If your laboratory holds accreditation for any analyte listed in red, your laboratory is required to add this analyte to it next round of semi-annual proficiency testing. Failure to participate in required PT samples according to the laboratory’s established semi-annual schedule (2009 TNI Standard V1M1) will be treated as a failed study.

The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/ACLASS has been recognized by The NELAC Institute (TNI) as and accrediting organization for proficiency test (PT) providers. In addition to A2LA, the ACLASS organization has been accredited to provide PT samples to laboratories accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP).

TNI Fields of Proficiency Testing

ACLASS: An approved PT Provider Accreditor

Clean Water Act Proposed Amendments

In late 2010, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to approve several new and revised EPA methods for clean water Part 136 test procedures. This publication received a significant number of comments and the implementation of the rule has been delayed. The EPA continues to solicit comments regarding the proposed methods for oil and grease analysis under the Clean Water Act. The EPA must receive comments prior to February 13, 2012. Please see the Federal Register notice for complete details and commenting procedures. The regulated community and laboratories using the approved methods for compliance will not be impacted by the proposed rule until it has been finalized and published as a Final Rule publication in the Federal Register.

40 CFR Part 136 Proposed Rules

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