Laboratory Accreditation

General Program Information

Authority

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (IL ELAP) operates pursuant to authority contained in Sections 4 (n) and (o) of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (415 ILCS 5/4 (n) and (o) (1996) ), which authorize the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to "establish and enforce minimum standards for the operation of laboratories relating to analyses and laboratory tests for air pollution, water pollution, noise emissions, contaminant discharges onto land, and sanitary, chemical, and mineral quality of water distributed by a public water supply, and to "issue certificates of competency to persons and laboratories meeting the minimum standards established by the Agency...and to promulgate and enforce regulations relevant to the issuance and use of such certificates."

The IL ELAP is operated by the Division of Laboratories, Quality Assurance Section. The IL ELAP operates under Title 35, Subtitle A, Chapter II, Part 186: "Accreditation of Laboratories For Drinking Water, Wastewater and Hazardous Waste Analyses:"

The IL ELAP offers accreditation for the analysis of various inorganic and organic analytes in the following fields of testing: Drinking Water, Wastewater and Hazardous Waste. Accreditation is based on the field of testing, approved test method and analyte. For a complete list of the approved test methods and analytes in each field of testing see the Application Package.

Participation in the IL ELAP is voluntary except for any laboratory submitting community water supply water compliance data to the Illinois EPA, Bureau of Water, Compliance Assurance Section. Any laboratory submitting community water supply water compliance data must be accredited for those particular analytes.

National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

The Illinois EPA Division of Laboratories is a National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) recognized Accrediting Authority (AA). To maintain the status of NELAP AA, the IL Environmental Laboratory Accreditaiton Program (IL ELAP) must comply with all requirements of the National Enviromenmetal Laboratory Accreditaiton Conference standards. To learn more about the NELAC standards and NELAP please visit the NELAC web site.

Primary vs. Secondary Accreditation

Laboratories can obtain primary or secondary NELAP accreditation through the IL ELAP. Laboratories located in the State of Illinois must obtain their primary NELAP accreditation through the IL ELAP. Laboratories located in states other than Illinois can obtain primary NELAP accreditation through the IL ELAP as long as the laboratory is not located in a state with a primanry NELAP accrediting authority (AA).

Laboratories that have obtained NELAP accreditation through a NELAP AA other than the IL ELAP can obtain secondary NELAP accreditation through the IL ELAP.

Initial Accreditation for Primary NELAP Accreditation

To become initially accredited by the IL ELAP, a laboratory must submit a completed application package, invoice and appropriate fees as according to Part 185: "Environmental Laboratory Certification Fee Rules" and Part 186: "Accreditation of Laboratories For Drinking Water, Wastewater and Hazardous Waste Analyses:". An IL ELAP accreditation officer will review the application package for compliance with the approved test methods and the Part 186 regulations. The laboratory must correct any deficiencies noted during the application package review. After approval of the application package the laboratory will undergo an on-site evaluation. The laboratory must correct any deficiencies noted during on-site evaluation. Once the application package and on-site evaluation are completed, and the laboratory has demonstrated compliance with Part 186, the laboratory will be granted accreditation for the requested fields of testing, methods and analytes.

The application and invoice may be obtained by contacting the Laboratory Accreditation Unit (LAU) at (217) 785-0601 or by e-mail. The application and invoice are also available on our Application Package web page. The laboratory may also download a copy of Part 185: "Environmental Laboratory Certification Fee Rules" and Part 186: "Accreditation of Laboratories For Drinking Water, Wastewater and Hazardous Waste Analyses:" from our Rules and Regulations web page.

Renewal of Primary NELAP Accreditation

Laboratories already accredited by the IL ELAP will be mailed an application and invoice 60-90 days prior to the expiration of the laboratory's current accreditation. The laboratory must complete the application and submit the application package, invoice and accreditation fees by the due date noted on the laboratory's invoice (due date is the expiration date of the laboratory's current accreditation). If the laboratory's routine on-site evaluation is due, the laboratory's designated accreditation officer will contact the laboratory to schedule an on-site evaluation.

Accreditation for Secondary NELAP Accreditation

Laboratories seeking secondary NELAP accreditation does not have to complete the entire application as required for primary NELAP accreditation. If the laboratory wants to apply for secondary NELAP accreditation, please contact one of the accreditation staff for further information.