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
15
JUL
2018

Contaminant: Arsenic

Arsenic is a well-known inorganic element, and it is one of the many routinely monitored contaminants in drinking water.  WETLAB tests for Arsenic in drinking water through EPA Method 200.7 and 200.8.  But how does Arsenic make its way into drinking water, and what are the potential health effects from increased Arsenic load?

The EPA requires that ground water systems monitor for Arsenic every three years, and surface water systems every year.  These frequencies may be increased if  Arsenic is found to be at or above the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level), defined as 10ppb (parts per billion).  This MCL was lowered from 50ppb in 2001 to better protect public health.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in soils and rocks, and is also a by-product of several industrial and agricultural processes. Drinking water contamination can occur from naturally eroding deposits, and from runoff of various processes.  Some water will be naturally higher in Arsenic due to the rocks and soils that make up the aquifer.  Arsenic contamination can be treated in many ways, including Iron treatment and adsorption, which helps precipitate Arsenic out of water.

Ingesting water with Arsenic levels greater than the MCL can cause adverse health effects if the water is consumed for many years. These health effects include skin damage, circulatory problems, and an increased risk of various cancers.

To find out more about Arsenic in drinking water, visit this guide, published by the EPA.

03
JUN
2018

1st Annual WETLAB Victory Run

WETLAB hosted the first annual Victory Run 5k and Family Fun Run benefitting the Veteran’s Guest House on May 6th.  With the amazing support and participation of our community, WETLAB donated over $13,000 to VGH!  Over 120 people participated in (and finished!) this great event.

We couldn’t have made this race happen without our generous sponsors.

5k sponsors

 

Finish times can be found here, and all race photos are on our Facebook page.

Join us next year for another great event!

06
MAY
2018

Contaminant: Nitrate

Nitrate levels are regularly monitored in drinking water to ensure compliance with EPA standards.  WETLAB regularly tests for Nitrate, Nitrite, and Total Nitrogen concentration in water and soils using a variety of methods, including EPA 300.0, EPA 353.2, and EPA 9056. But how does increased Nitrogen load in drinking water occur, and what are the possible health risks associated with high levels?

Increased Nitrogen concentration in surface water is observed in areas with fertilizer runoff, often from agricultural areas.  Increased Nitrogen concentration in ground water is also observed in areas with farming, and areas with high concentrations of septic systems.  In farming and agricultural areas, fertilizers (such as potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate) are essential for growing crops, but decompose into the soil to increase nutrient concentration.  This is also observed from decomposing animal manure, and from decomposing human sewage from septic tanks.

This increased Nitrogen concentration is often referred to as “Nutrient Pollution,” as Nitrogen and various other elements are essential to our soils and atmosphere, but can cause problems when the concentration reaches a certain threshold.  The EPA has defined this threshold for Nitrate as 10.0 mg/L, and for Nitrite as 1.0 mg/L.  Potential health effects from increased Nitrogen concentration are most often seen in infants less than 6 months old, resulting in methemoglobinemia, a temporary blood disorder referred to as “blue baby syndrome.” Adults are usually not as susceptible to this condition.

More information about Nitrate contamination in drinking water can be found through the EPA here.

09
APR
2018

Introducing Result Point and LIMS Invoicing

Forward thinking and providing solutions with a desire to grow and continually improve professionally and personally has been central to WETLAB since the beginning.  Innovation has led us to great things and will lead us today, tomorrow, and beyond.

We are happy to announce two of our newest innovations launching in the first quarter of 2018.  The first is customizing Sample Master’s Invoicing module that will create an invoice once a job has gone through reporting.  This will reduce labor spend on manual invoicing, along with reducing errors and time between job completion and client receipt.  The second will be the introduction of Result Point.  This new feature will give our clients’ up-to-the-minute access to job information from their PC, tablet, or smartphone.  Result Point will give access to sample status information, online chain-of-custody, and test results as they become available for the lab; other benefits include historical data query, online reports, invoices, auto-email notifications/ reports, and electronic deliverables on demand.  We are very excited for these additions and believe they greatly benefit both our clients and staff.

Contact WETLAB at (775) 355-0202 to learn more about how our LIMS Invoicing and Result Point software can help your business meet its needs!

15
MAR
2018

Announcing SVOC Certification at WETLAB

Organic compounds are present in both indoor and outdoor environments, as they are necessary ingredients of products and materials we use every day.  Semi Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOC) are a subgroup of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that have a higher molecular weight and boiling point (240-260 C to 380-400 C) and are present in everyday items like pesticides and fire retardants.

SVOCs are analyzed by sample extraction and the extract is analyzed by Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).  The reported analytics can be separated into three groups (acids, bases, and neutrals) and are sometimes referred to as Base/Neutrals and Acids. WETLAB is currently in method development to perform the analysis of municipal and industrial wastewater by EPA 265 and solid waste, soils, and waste samples by EPA 8270.

At WETLAB, we are constantly trying new ideas, methods, and analyses to better serve our clients.  Contact us at (775) 355-0202 to find out how our new, in-house SVOC analysis can help you get the environmental testing results you need.

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.

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