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Proficiency Testing (PT) Requirements for Laboratories
Obtaining PTs and Frequency of Participation
PT Providers are accredited to the 2009 TNI Standard (Volume 3) through one of two approved organizations: American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ACLASS). Laboratories must select PT Providers from one of these two accrediting bodies and must ensure the PT Provider’s scope of accreditation includes approval for the test samples required.
To find the list of accredited PT Providers, follow the directions for the applicable organization below:
Select the Accreditation Programs menu option. Select Proficiency Testing Providers and Accredited PT Providers from the drop down menu. Any PT Provider with a scope of accreditation showing compliance with the 2009 TNI Standard (Volume 3) may be used by laboratories accredited through MNELAP.
From the main page, select the button labeled “Search for Accredited Organizations” from the right-side banner. On the query screen, go to the box labeled “Accreditation Standard” and select Proficiency Test Provider –TNI Vol. 3 from the drop down list. Select “Search” to execute the query. Any PT Provider with a scope of accreditation showing compliance with the 2009 TNI Standard (Volume 3) may be used by laboratories accredited through MNELAP.
- A laboratory must participate in, and perform acceptably on, two proficiency testing studies per calendar year, where available, for each field of testing.
Analysis and Reporting
- A laboratory must employ the same calibration, quality control, acceptance criteria, sequence of analytical steps, number of replicates, and other standard operating procedures as used when analyzing routine samples.
- A laboratory must report PT data to the PT Provider using the laboratory’s assigned EPA ID number (on the scope of accreditation issued by MN-ELAP) and using the method codes and analyte codes matching the method and analyte codes on the laboratory’s current scope of accreditation or, for initial applications, the method and analyte codes requested on the laboratory’s application.
- A laboratory must authorize the PT Provider to send a copy of the PT results to MN-ELAP and must ensure that MN-ELAP receives results of all proficiency testing samples from the approved PT Provider on the same day the lab receives the results.
Using an MN-ELAP Required PT Study for Reporting DMR-QA Data
A wastewater treatment facility or commercial laboratory that participates in the U.S. EPA's Monitoring Report-Quality Assurance (DMRQA) study may use the results of the study for compliance with the proficiency testing requirements by following these steps:
- Contact a PT Provider meeting the requirements in Minnesota Rules and are accredited through one of two approved organizations: American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ACLASS).
- Order a Water Pollution (i.e. NOT the DMRQA-specific studies) proficiency testing study and complete the analysis and reporting requirements.
- Use the data from one of the Water Pollution studies which meets the time frames for reporting DMRQA and complete the DMRQA report form on the PT Provider’s website.
If you have specific questions on Minnesota’s requirements for participation in the DMRQA study, please contact Roger Fisher, the state DMRQA Coordinator.
Corrective Action for Failed or Missing PTs
- When the result of any reported field of testing is unacceptable, a laboratory must submit written documentation indicating corrective actions planned and taken within 30 days of receiving the results. The laboratory must order a supplemental PT sample (waiting at least 15 days from the close of the previous study).
- If a laboratory does not analyze PTs according to the required frequency, MN-ELAP must evaluate the missed PT as a failed PT. A laboratory must investigate the reason for failure to meet the accreditation requirement and must analyze a supplemental PT sample as part of the corrective action.