WETLAB Western Environmenal Testing Laboratory
Serving Nevada, California, Idaho and Wyoming
Sparks (775) 355-0202
Elko (775) 340-3173
Las Vegas (702) 475-8899
WETLAB BLOG
12
JAN
2018

Contaminant: Lead

Lead is a commonly tested for contaminant in drinking water, and public water systems must test for it on a prescribed, regular basis.  WETLAB routinely tests for trace lead amounts in drinking water for many clients using two main methods- EPA 200.7 and 200.8.  These methods use ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) machines, which can detect very small amounts of trace metals in water.  But why is testing for lead important?  What are the potential health risks associated with lead, and when do we care about it?

Lead is most commonly introduced into drinking water from service pipes and solder containing lead that corrode.  The corrosion is often due to acidity in the water, which causes the lead to leach out of the pipe and into the water.  Lead can also be introduced into drinking water through erosion of natural deposits. The EPA has identified the maximum allowable content of lead in water to be 0 mg/L, and an “action level” as 0.015 mg/L.

Lead in children, even in very low levels, has been shown to cause erratic behavior, learning problems, and slowed growth.  Lead exposure is most dangerous to young children, infants, and fetuses.  For that reason, lead exposure is also a significant concern for pregnant women.  During pregnancy, lead amounts that have built up over a lifetime can leach out of the mothers bones and impact the growing fetus.  Lead can also be dangerous for adults, although typically in higher levels than in children.

To mitigate these potential health effects, it is imperative that lead levels are tested accurately and consistently. Public health agencies routinely monitor the results of these tests to ensure that action is taken before a crisis arises.

More information can be found on the Quick Reference Guide, published by the EPA.

10
DEC
2017

Spring Forward for Autism

At WETLAB we try to give back to our community in a variety of ways, and we try to honor and participate in causes that are near and dear to our employees hearts.  The Justin Hope Foundation has been a favorite for a few years, because of their outstanding impact in the lives of our community.  Below, one of our employees shares her experience with Justin Hope and their annual race/ fundraiser event, the Spring Forward for Autism. 

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

For me, the end of April means a couple things:  nicer temperatures, crazy allergies, and the Spring Forward for Autism.  The last Sunday of April, for the last 3 years, has been all about getting outside and walking/running to raise money for a great cause.  The 5k event is put on by the Justin Hope Foundation, which is a local charity set up to help families of children who are not developing neurotypically (so pretty much any child with a brain developmental disorder).  This year the goal is for the organization to open a respite center, which will provide a place for these families to go for resources and advice.  My family has personally benefited from the events that this organization has put together, giving my son Zaden a chance to do activities during off-hours at fun places so the sensory input would not be too overwhelming.  Hopefully, we at WETLab can continue to support this awesome cause by planning to do the 5k next year.  Last Sunday in April (hint, hint)……

To find out more about the Spring Forward for Autism, or sign up to participate, visit their website here.

11
NOV
2017

Girls on the Run

PK Electrical and WetLab sponsor Girls on the Run. Congratulations, Brookfield Bears, on finishing the 5K!  

Girls on the Run Nov 2017

PK Electrical and WETLAB were elated to sponsor the Brookfield Bears team in the Girls on the Run – Sierras 5K Race on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno. We would like to congratulate all of the participants for their hard work – over 320 girls crossed the finish line in just 59 minutes! The mission of Girls on the Run – Sierras is to foster and introduce self-esteem and values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training using a fun, experience-based curriculum.

As Founder, President and CEO of PK Electrical, Karen Purcell (pictured top left) understands the importance of empowering young girls and women and providing resources to encourage leadership and confidence. Ms. Purcell started PK Electrical Inc., a woman-owned electrical engineering firm, in 1996 in Reno, Nevada and has since witnessed the company grow to a dedicated team of 33 employees and expanded to add a second office in Denver, Colorado. As a professional engineer in a male-dominated industry, Karen has experienced many hurdles, both professionally and personally, and hopes to share her stories and insight to inspire the next generation of female leaders. Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) is also a women-owned firm specializing in the niche market of environmental testing services specific to Nevada, California, Idaho and Wyoming. Owner and President, Michelle Sherven is pictured (top right) cheering on the Bears.

The Girls on the Run – Sierras website (https://www.girlsontherunsierras.org/) gives heartwarming insight into the results this program is having on young girls. “A recent independent study provides compelling evidence that Girls on the Run is highly effective at driving transformative and lasting change in the lives of third to fifth grade girls. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. Throughout the course of the ten-week program, girls learn critical life skills including managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions. It is the combination of the research-based curriculum, trained coaches and a commitment to serve all girls that sets Girls on the Run apart from other after-school programs.”

WETLAB is thrilled to share this write-up from PK Electrical about our co-sponsorship of our Girls on the Run team.  Girls on the Run is a valuable community organization, and we are happy to help them further their goals.

20
OCT
2017

Lessons from the Lab: Compliance Vs. Non-Compliance Samples

In our blog posts Lessons From the Lab we answer frequently asked questions from clients.  Find all installments of Lessons From the Lab here

It is important to know the differences for the client and the lab when the topic of compliance vs. non-compliance comes up. The simplest way to view it from a client perspective is that compliance data would be data that any type of regulator would review. It could be a state regulator or sometimes the EPA itself. Many times, compliance data will be sent directly to the state by WETLAB. In a more complex twist we have seen this past month NON-compliance data be subpoenaed to US District Court. This proves that even if the client indicates non-compliance we should be following all the normal rules as we do for compliance samples. All samples should certainly be collected properly as far as container and preservative types go and correct sample volume should be provided. From a lab perspective whether or not a sample is for compliance doesn’t really get discussed too often. It is simpler, and safer, to treat all samples the same. In rare occurrences, with lab and QA management oversight, protocols may be altered for non-compliance samples.

22
SEP
2017

Good Data Takes Good Communication

At WETLAB, we believe that good communication is a critical part of ensuring our clients receive good data.  Our QA manager and sales team presented on this topic in March at the Nevada Rural Water Association Conference in Reno, NV. Below is a small synopsis of this presentation. 

Good communication appears to be a simple goal, but can be difficult to achieve.  There are many players involved at every stage, and one small miscommunication can result in the end product not being what is needed.  The —ultimate goal is to produce legally defensible results that meet Data Quality objectives.

The many moving parts of good communication.

The many moving parts of good communication.

It is imperative that clients and the lab communicate clearly- WETLAB strives to ensure that all of our clients understand what data they need to satisfy regulatory requirements. The regulatory landscape concerning water is ever-changing, and can be confusing.  At WETLAB, we stay up to date with the latest changes so that we can help our clients get the results they need.  Outside of the lab, we talk to our clients and their regulators to determine needs.  Inside of the lab, we discuss projects clearly throughout all departments.

Clear communication has many moving pieces inside the lab.

Clear communication has many moving pieces inside the lab.

The critical point of communication occurs between the client and the lab.  Providing WETLAB with the appropriate documents helps to clearly show objectives. These documents include: a detailed Client Information Sheet, a Sampling Analysis Plan, the Scope of Work, and the Chain of Custody.  Having an accurate and clear Chain of Custody is imperative to retain legal defensibility of sample results.  Our staff reviews all Chain of Custody forms to make sure they are clear and fully completed.

If all participants communicate as clearly as possible, the goal of regulatory compliance can be achieved.  Contact WETLAB to see how we can help you achieve your goals.

15
AUG
2017

Lessons From the Lab: Trace Metals Analysis

In our blog posts Lessons From the Lab we answer frequently asked questions from clients.  Find all installments of Lessons From the Lab here

What is Trace Metals Analysis?

Trace Metals analysis may be performed on a variety of aqueous matrices. Depending on the objective of your sampling, WETLAB can perform total recoverable or dissolved metals analysis. For total recoverable or total metals analysis, the sample must be preserved with the addition of nitric acid (HNO3) to lower the pH of the sample to <2. Dissolved metals require an additional step prior to the addition of HNO3. Samples for dissolved metals must be filtered using a 0.45 µm filter, after the sample has passed through the filter, the sample must be preserved with HNO3. In SW-846, the EPA recommends that samples are field filtered. If field filtration is not possible, clients may submit an unpreserved sample to WETLAB and we can filter the sample using 0.45 µm filters and preserve with HNO3. If field preservation is not possible, the EPA recommends in EPA 200.2, “Preservation may be done at the time of sample collection, however, to avoid the hazards of strong acids in the field, transport restrictions, and possible contamination it is recommended that the samples be returned to the laboratory within two weeks of collection and acid preserved upon receipt in the laboratory. Following acidification, the sample should be mixed and held for 16 hours.” Aqueous samples that have been properly preserved for trace metals analysis by EPA 200.7 and/or EPA 200.8 may be held and analyzed up to six months after collection date.

 

 

31
JUL
2017

Lessons From the Lab: Reporting Limits

In our blog posts Lessons From the Lab we answer frequently asked questions from clients.  Find all installments of Lessons From the Lab here

What is a Reporting Limit?

A Reporting Limit (RL) is defined as the smallest concentration of a chemical that can be reported by a laboratory. If a laboratory is unable to detect a chemical in a sample, it does not necessarily mean that the chemical is absent from the sample altogether. It could be that the chemical concentration in the sample is below the sensitivity of the testing instrument. Concentrations below the RL are reported as not detectable at the RL or “less than” the RL. The RL value is often defined be each specific laboratory, so it is not uncommon to come across different RL’s when testing the same compound. RL’s act as safety protocols that allow laboratories to efficiently communicate the different variables correlated with testing and analyzing samples from a wide variety of sources and factors. It is important to identify the limit of concern that the client has when testing their sample to ensure that the RL is less than the regulatory limit. That enables a laboratory to identify whether a concentration of the chemical in question is above the regulatory limit of concern.

03
JUN
2017

Snapshot Day 2017

Snapshot Day has become an annual WETLAB tradition.  We love getting out into nature and helping to inspire the next generation of scientists!  Jen Delany, one of our regular leaders for Snapshot Day, wrote the overview below. 

WETLAB Snapshot Day leaders Jen, Cory, and Vanessa.

WETLAB Snapshot Day leaders Jen, Cory, and Vanessa

On Friday May 12th 2017, WETLAB volunteered for Snapshot Day, which is coordinated by the Bureau of Water Quality Planning (NDEP). Snapshot Day occurs annually and is a one-day event where the Urban Truckee River portion of the watershed is sampled from the outlet at Lake Tahoe to its end at Pyramid Lake. That’s a total of 105 miles! Snapshot Day is an event that includes the community and education outreach; different businesses and organizations volunteer their time to teach students throughout the Washoe basin about conservation, environmental stewardship, and water quality.   In conjunction with NDEP, these small groups help create a larger picture to determine the health of our watershed over time and identify possible sources of pollution or other contamination. In addition, site facilitators conduct a stream walk for habitat assessment and sample collection for field and laboratory testing.

WETLAB’s sampling site along the Truckee River this year was Whites Creek on the Mountain View Montessori School campus. As facilitators, we had the opportunity to teach the 4th & 5th grade students about the importance of a healthy watershed, water quality, field testing methods, the water cycle and environmental sustainability. We had a unique opportunity this year to educate the students about the Atmospheric River and how the allocation of water is managed within our state. Students were engaged and incredibly helpful.

WETLAB staff enjoyed providing a hands-on learning experience to stimulate interest and stewardship. We hope to continue volunteering for this event year after year!

10
MAY
2017

Domestic Well Testing

WETLAB is a certified lab for drinking water testing in Nevada, with reciprocity for testing in California, Wyoming, and Idaho.  This means that when you send drinking water samples to WETLAB, we guarantee thorough, high-quality data that complies with regulatory standards.  We ensure that your sample is analyzed with up-to-date methods, performed with the precision and attention to detail that you require.  We analyze drinking water for regulated public water systems of all sizes and for private domestic wells.

Private domestic well owners face a unique set of circumstances not often realized by many people who utilize a community water system.  Well owners are responsible for ensuring their own water quality, which means regular water testing.  Your water can contain microscopic particulates and micro-organisms that you would be unable to detect with your naked eye.  The Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing your well regularly for several contaminants, including total coliform, pH, corrosion, nitrates, and metals.  If you experience any changes in water quality, such as rapid corrosion of pipes, undesirable tastes or smells, or increased scaly build-up, you may be interested in testing your water quality.

If you are interested in testing your private domestic well, reference this helpful guide from the UNR Cooperative Extension.  This guide will help you determine what drinking water parameters you may be interested in testing for, and what the critical limits for some contaminants are.  After you test your water, you can use this tool to help interpret your results.  Our friendly staff at WETLAB will be happy to assist you with any other questions you might have.

WETLAB provides a uniquely client-oriented lab experience that will ensure you obtain the quality lab results you seek.  Contact WETLAB at (775) 355-0202 to determine how we can help you.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter See us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Follow us on LinkedIn