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THE FUTURE OF NELAC American Council Of Independent Laboratories.

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1 THE FUTURE OF NELAC American Council Of Independent Laboratories

2 Commercial Testing Industry Objective The environmental testing community has for years been advocating a national accreditation program in lieu of, or in concert with the individual industry, State and other agency based accreditation programs. The environmental testing community has for years been advocating a national accreditation program in lieu of, or in concert with the individual industry, State and other agency based accreditation programs.

3 A Little History EPA’s Ad Hoc Panel of the Environmental Monitoring Management Council (EMMC) on the question of feasibility and advisability of national laboratory accreditation concluded that a national program that achieves reciprocity among state certification programs would eliminate the duplication that exists among private and public programs EPA’s Ad Hoc Panel of the Environmental Monitoring Management Council (EMMC) on the question of feasibility and advisability of national laboratory accreditation concluded that a national program that achieves reciprocity among state certification programs would eliminate the duplication that exists among private and public programs

4 CNAEL As an out growth of EMMC conclusions and at the request of EPA management, the Committee on National Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories (CNAEL) was formed in July of Members of CNAEL included states, federal agencies, industry and private accrediting bodies As an out growth of EMMC conclusions and at the request of EPA management, the Committee on National Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories (CNAEL) was formed in July of Members of CNAEL included states, federal agencies, industry and private accrediting bodies

5 CNAEL’s Goals EPA’s charge to CNAEL, was 1) to determine if there was a need for an environmental laboratory accreditation program and what advantages would be derived from establishing a program; 2) to identify options for operating a national program; 3) to identify other alternatives to a national program which would address the needs of the affected parties; and 4) to recommend an appropriate role for EPA in developing and implementing any program. EPA’s charge to CNAEL, was 1) to determine if there was a need for an environmental laboratory accreditation program and what advantages would be derived from establishing a program; 2) to identify options for operating a national program; 3) to identify other alternatives to a national program which would address the needs of the affected parties; and 4) to recommend an appropriate role for EPA in developing and implementing any program.

6 CNAEL Conclusions CNAEL concluded that an effective national program must: Simplify the current system of multiple laboratory accreditation programs by: Simplify the current system of multiple laboratory accreditation programs by: – Promoting uniform standards –Promoting reciprocity and leveling differences –Ensure consistent laboratory audits –Ensure uniform national PE testing Minimize negative effects on existing programs Minimize negative effects on existing programs Provide reliable, uniform information concerning lab performance Provide reliable, uniform information concerning lab performance Require minimal outlay of government funds through self sufficiency Require minimal outlay of government funds through self sufficiency

7 CNAEL’s Recommendation Consequently, CNAEL recommended as a first option, the establishment of a national environmental laboratory accreditation program that has federal oversight and is implemented by the states and/or third parties. Consequently, CNAEL recommended as a first option, the establishment of a national environmental laboratory accreditation program that has federal oversight and is implemented by the states and/or third parties.

8 NELACFor Real! Following the EPA/State Focus Group activities and the development by that group of the draft standard dated December 2, 1994 and NELAC 1 on February 14-16, 1995, the program was truly underway! Following the EPA/State Focus Group activities and the development by that group of the draft standard dated December 2, 1994 and NELAC 1 on February 14-16, 1995, the program was truly underway!

9 Trade Associations Support NELAC American Council Of Independent Laboratories (ACIL), the International Association of Environmental Testing Laboratories (IAETL), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the New York Association of Approved Environmental Laboratories all strongly supported the NELAP and published documents to state their support and raise some issues and/or concerns. American Council Of Independent Laboratories (ACIL), the International Association of Environmental Testing Laboratories (IAETL), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the New York Association of Approved Environmental Laboratories all strongly supported the NELAP and published documents to state their support and raise some issues and/or concerns.

10 Industry Concerns and Wishes The National program must be: Subject to Government Oversight Subject to Government Oversight Internationally accepted Internationally accepted True public/private partnership True public/private partnership Universally accepted Universally accepted Reciprocal Reciprocal Uniformly implemented Uniformly implemented Comprehensive Comprehensive 3rd party participants 3rd party participants Open and transparent Open and transparent Rigorous requirements Rigorous requirements Improve quality Improve quality Tiered participation and costs Tiered participation and costs Establish training, education and experience requirements Establish training, education and experience requirements Encourage State and Agency participation Encourage State and Agency participation

11 NELAC Have we made progress since 1995? ABSOLUETLY!

12 NELAC Accomplishments Just some of things we’ve accomplished: We have a STANDARD We have a STANDARD 13 Accrediting Authorities 13 Accrediting Authorities “acceptance” in other states and by other federal agencies “acceptance” in other states and by other federal agencies Over 1100 participating laboratories Over 1100 participating laboratories

13 NELAC’s Advantages Has it really helped? Improved Performance Evaluation Testing Improved Performance Evaluation Testing Fewer audits Fewer audits Quality of Assessor Training Quality of Assessor Training Improved communications Improved communications Provided the focus for development of Quality Systems in laboratories Provided the focus for development of Quality Systems in laboratories

14 What NELAC Hasn’t Done What it hasn’t accomplished: Partnership with the private sector Partnership with the private sector Uniform implementation of the Standard Uniform implementation of the Standard Consistent interpretation of the Standard Consistent interpretation of the Standard Reduced costs for laboratories Reduced costs for laboratories Simplicity (procedurally or organizationally) Simplicity (procedurally or organizationally) Reciprocity Reciprocity Acceptance within EPA Acceptance within EPA Perceived value Perceived value

15 A Crossroads for NELAC? It has not met the goals of the CNAEL group or the wishes of the various trade organizations. It has not met the goals of the CNAEL group or the wishes of the various trade organizations. ACIL believes that we are at a potential crossroad for the program: ACIL believes that we are at a potential crossroad for the program: continued lack of participation by States and laboratories continued lack of participation by States and laboratories lack of acceptance throughout the agency lack of acceptance throughout the agency continued inconsistencies in interpretation and/or implementation continued inconsistencies in interpretation and/or implementation failure to achieve self-sufficiency failure to achieve self-sufficiency accreditation costs, or accreditation costs, or loss of participation, loss of participation, could lead to the “end of the road” for NELAP or maybe worse, the 51 st program. could lead to the “end of the road” for NELAP or maybe worse, the 51 st program.

16 The Future of NELAC So what do we recommend be done? So what do we recommend be done? ACIL believes that all stakeholders must engage in a serious, open and frank debate of NELAC resulting in an implementable strategic plan to overcome those obstacles that are preventing a uniform, fully reciprocal, cost effective national environmental accreditation program … our original objective. ACIL believes that all stakeholders must engage in a serious, open and frank debate of NELAC resulting in an implementable strategic plan to overcome those obstacles that are preventing a uniform, fully reciprocal, cost effective national environmental accreditation program … our original objective.

17 ACIL Accreditation Work Group Edurado Bulies, Xenco Laboratories Edurado Bulies, Xenco Laboratories Bob DeRienzo, Data Chem Laboratories Bob DeRienzo, Data Chem Laboratories Jack Farrell, Analytical Excellence Jack Farrell, Analytical Excellence Earl Hansen, STL Earl Hansen, STL Marlene Moore, Advanced Systems Marlene Moore, Advanced Systems Rick Shealy, Shealy Environmental Labs Rick Shealy, Shealy Environmental Labs Gary Ward, Columbia Analytical Gary Ward, Columbia Analytical Bob Wyeth, STL Bob Wyeth, STL Joan Cassedy, ACIL Exec. Director Ken Olson, Chairman, Env. Sciences Section, ACIL


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