CWEA Submits Comment Letter on ELAP Preliminary Draft Regulations

CWEA submitted the following letter on the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Preliminary Draft Regulations.

ELAP comment letter: Submitted via electronic mail: elapca_comments@waterboards.ca.gov

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Preliminary Draft Regulations Comments
P.O. Box 100
Sacramento, CA 95814

Subject: ELAP Preliminary Draft Regulations Comments

The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) is a non-profit public-benefit organization of wastewater professionals dedicated to education and certification of our 10,000-plus members who work in all aspects of wastewater treatment, regulations, and environmental protection. As part of its mission CWEA provides training programs and validated technical certification of competency to qualified wastewater professionals in a variety of specialties, including laboratory analysts. We currently have 833 individuals holding CWEA Laboratory Analyst certifications and we support a very active and engaged Laboratory Committee.

CWEA currently holds two seats on the Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (ELTAC) and is actively promoting the development of improved and effective ELAP regulations through our representatives, Mindy Boele from the City of Vacaville and Ron Coss from Orange County Sanitation District.

CWEA appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the ELAP Preliminary Draft Regulations released for public review and comment on 24 July 2017. Many of CWEA’s members also are members of other wastewater associations including the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA). In an effort to avoid duplication of commentary, CWEA has reviewed and fully supports all comments presented in the “CASA Comments on ELAP Preliminary Draft Regulations” comment letter, dated September 6, 2017. CWEA’s specific comments follow below.

CWEA comments – In reviewing the ELAP Preliminary Draft Regulations, we identified several problematic issues that need to be addressed, including but not limited to:

  1. Article 5, Table 64814 Minimum Personnel Certification as presented in the Preliminary Draft Regulation is incomplete and needs revision to match up test method technical skills to appropriate certification grade level. As effective laboratory analyst certification is one of CWEA’s core missions, CWEA appreciates the opportunity to propose a comprehensive revision to this table, based on existing Fields of Testing, to address skill-based certification, which is shown below.
  2. Article 2, §64802.30 Accreditation Fees only exists as a placeholder and needs to be developed and included in a single ELAP regulation. As ELAP is a fee-based for services provided program constrained by tax limitations set in California Constitution Article XIII A, Section 3, ELAP cannot effectively develop and pass new regulatory requirements separately from referencing how fees will be assessed. For starters, ELAP needs to define and establish new Fields of Accreditation (FoAs) and Units of Accreditation (UoAs) to be included in new ELAP regulations prior to determining a new fees formula.
  3. Article 2, §64802.25 On-Site Assessments language states: “When an on-site assessment is performed by the State Board a laboratory shall pay an assessment fee in accordance with Section 64802.30.” As ELAP’s current fees are based on its primary function of auditing each laboratory every two years, this new requirement to pay an additional assessment fee above and beyond annual fees would require a new formula for determining how overall program fees are based to comply with the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Act H&SC 100829(f).
  4. Article 2 §64802.05(a).2(B), Article 5 §64812.00(i), Article 5 §64812.05(c), and Article 6 §64814.00(d).4(B) each state: “If a laboratory chooses to delay implementation of the 2016 TNI Standard Volume 1… improperly references all of 2016 TNI Standard Volume 1, which creates conflicts with exceptions allowed in the draft ELAP regulation. Furthermore, the choice to delay implementation should not be used to incentivize early actions to avoid nuisance quarterly action reports.
  5. Article 4, §64810.05(c)(3) Auxiliary Laboratory “Is under the supervision of the same technical manager; needs to define the minimum amount of supervision time required on-site per period (hours or days per month) to avoid subjective interpretations that would likely result in inconsistent non-compliance determinations. Otherwise, each Auxiliary Laboratory would require its own dedicated technical manager to avoid risk of non-compliance.

Thank you for your consideration of our comments. Together we can make the lab community stronger than ever.

CWEA President
Debi Lewis

cc:        CWEA Board of Directors; CWEA Laboratory Committee Leaders

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