Many laboratories in Washington test for harmful pollutants in the environment and submit data to government agencies. By law, the Washington Department of Ecology is required to charge fees to accredit these environmental labs. Ecology is proposing to update the lab accreditation process to keep up with inflation, provide more technical assistance, and maintain the laboratory accreditation program.
Ecology’s accreditation program serves laboratories throughout the state and nation, and ensures labs follow state and federal regulations. Accredited labs are capable of providing accurate, defensible data to support policies that protect public health and the environment.
Proposed changes to rule
The Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories rule was last updated in 2010. Over the past five years, the costs of running the lab accreditation program have increased. In addition, laboratory practices have become more complex, requiring more rigorous testing and technical support. Proposed updates include:
- New fee schedule to administer and maintain the accreditation program.
- Updated definitions so accreditation requirements are clear.
- Improved guidelines for quality control measures.
Since the fees are the first price adjustment since 2010, Ecology is proposing to gradually increase the fees over two years starting on July 1, 2024.
Laboratories that are required to obtain accreditation covered by the proposed rule changes include commercial laboratories, municipal and industrial discharge facility laboratories, county public health laboratories, wastewater treatment plant laboratories, Tribal laboratories and academic laboratories.
Ecology is accepting public comments on this rule through June 7, 2023.
Submit comments online, by mail, or at a public hearing:
- Comment online
- Mail to:
Department of Ecology
Environmental Assessment Program
P.O. Box 488
Manchester, WA 98353-0488
Ecology will hold two virtual public hearings on the proposed rules, on May 25 and 31. At each hearing, Ecology will provide an overview of the proposed rule and hold a question-and-answer period, followed by public comment. Register for one or both online public hearings in May.