Mining companies rely on independent parties for environmental testing and analysis to ensure operations meet government regulations and safety standards.
New method updates and regulations began to take affect July 1, 2021. WETLAB’s purpose is to provide critical information to solve environmental problems. The information we provide in our reports aid in our clients’ operations and WETLAB would like to share some updates issued by EPA and other regulatory agencies in 2021. Please contact your regulator to discuss how these updates may impact your environmental testing requirements.
2021 Methods Update Rule
State of California Revised Total Coliform Rule
EPA Draft Contaminant List
The Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation (BMRR) is revising the Profile I and Profile I-R parameter list to include uranium (total) effective October 1, 2021. The complete Profile I and Profile I-R parameter list can be found at the links below.
NDEP – BMRR Mining Regulation Guidance, Policies, References, and Requirements
In 2015, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), with collaboration between the Laboratory Certification division and Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation (BMRR), created the Mining Certification program. Under the Mining program, analytical laboratories became Nevada certified to perform analysis in support of mining operations. The certifications covered a variety of sample types, including waters, soils, and hazardous waste. This new program was beneficial to both laboratories and the mining industry and gave clear guidance through specific methodology to perform the required testing.
As the program has evolved, the handling and analysis procedures of soil samples for static and kinetic testing have updated throughout the years. Many of the updates have focused on a variety of the preparatory stages of analysis. These preparatory stages can include sample collection, size segregation and/or reduction through sieving, crushing, or pulverizing, drying, extractions, distillations, and digestions. Each test has its unique preparatory requirements, and a “one-size-fits-all approach” is not appropriate when dealing with a multiple analysis scope of test work.
Please see the attached table that show requirements for soils testing under the Mining Program.
Please consider these requirements as they may affect turn-around-time and/or the ability to perform test work. It is recommended to understand your testing needs prior to sample collection. WETLAB’s purpose is to provide critical information for environmental problems and our project managers and client services staff are available for your pre-project planning.
Our Elko lab is located at 1084 Lamoille Highway and is open Monday – Thursday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday by appointment only. The team is made up of 7 talented individuals, whom we are lucky to call our team members. The Elko lab offers the below services:
Jun 10, 2021
Mining companies rely on independent parties for environmental testing and analysis to ensure operations meet government regulations and safety standards.
In Nevada, one such support company is Western Environmental Testing Laboratory, or WETLAB.
The company started in 2002 when environmental scientist Michelle Sherven purchased a lab that was going out of business in the Sparks area. Within a few years, WETLAB moved into a state-of-the-art headquarters facility in Sparks, and expanded to Elko and later to Las Vegas.
WETLAB provides organic and inorganic microbiology testing and is certified under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The lab’s certifications qualify it to run more than 60 tests. Most of WETLAB’s work involves analysis on water quality issues pertaining to soils, lakes and river systems, serving Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
The mining industry in Nevada avails WETLAB of services such as water and soil testing.
“We are strictly on the environmental side,” said Nick Ross, WETLABS operations manager. “We service a lot of mining clients in their needs throughout the state.”
Results of water testing can help the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection determine a project’s eligibility for a water pollution control permit, or help a mine maintain a safe potable water system. WETLAB test soils when spills occur and to assist with mine reclamation.
Mines “are very environmentally conscious,” Ross said, “so during their exploration and mining operations, they are always looking for ways that they can perform the work that they are doing when extracting the precious metals [responsibly], and when they are completed with the mining efforts, they are able to reclaim the land to basically make it like they have never touched it. We have aided in some of those projects.”
Outside the mining industry, WETLAB works on civil projects including a handful of wastewater treatment plant expansions in urban areas experiencing population growth. WETLAB tests samples before and after expansion to help operators ensure they’re meeting the environmental regulations.
“We are performing a small piece of, ‘Yes, everything looks good pre-and post-expansion,’ ” Ross said.
WETLAB, like other laboratories, must follow Environmental Protection Agency regulations and use standard methodologies and equipment for testing. Because that levels the playing field among labs, WETLAB tries to stand out by taking on challenging projects.
“I’m extremely interested in understanding and learning about the people and projects that my lab gets involved in, which is why WETLAB has become the go-to lab for special projects that other labs are not equipped to handle,” Sherven states on the company website.
Ross said they succeed by partnering with their clients to come up with the best test work and best program to help achieve their testing goals.
“When a client presents us with something that that I would deem out of the box, we don’t like to say no. We like to go down that road of ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes,’ until there is a roadblock — whether it is not scientifically sound or not feasible from a scientific standpoint or is just something that won’t be possible due to the technology available,” Ross said. “We are open to anything until it is just impossible.
In Elko, offering quality service means offering couriers with drivers who have taken Mine Safety and Health Administration and site-specific training. It might also mean keeping the Elko lab open outside of traditional business hours to accommodate a mine employee dropping off samples.
The Elko lab employs seven people who are part of WETLAB’s total team of 46. ￼
Check out today’s Someone to Know on KTVN 2 News to see our own Jennifer Delaney! Thank you Jennifer, for everything you do for WETLAB and for our community.
KTVN Andi Guevara Someone to Know
Congratulations to Kat Langford on her promotion to lab manager! Read more about Kat below!
Michelle Sherven, president of Sparks-based Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB), announced this month the promotion of Kat Langford to lab manager of the Las Vegas office.
Langford has 10 years of experience in environmental laboratory testing, according to an April 6 press release.
She will be responsible for overseeing daily office and laboratory operations, conducting lab testing, administering proficiency testing and maintaining training records for employees.
Previously, Langford was a part of the client services department at WETLAB, an environmental testing laboratory company that provides comprehensive analytical support on a variety of matrices and testing to comply with numerous programs.
Langford received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition/deictics and public health from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is an active volunteer for the Veterans Guest House.
Get a sneak peek at our new lab. More details to come.
WETLAB is a certified environmental testing laboratory, specializing in organic and inorganic testing. Our goal is to provide high quality, legally defensible data. As a certified laboratory, we assume the responsibility of providing results that are accurate, reliable, reproducible, and valid for compliance monitoring. We work to meet our clients’ needs and meet or exceed local, state, and federal regulations for environmental testing. In order to meet our client and regulatory obligations, it is important to understand that a test result is only as good as the sampling and handling that was performed before analysis.
The test containers, preservation, and hold times can be found in from the EPA under 40CFR, part 136, Table II – Required containers, Preservation Techniques, and Hold Times.
Sample integrity begins with sample collection. Start with a sampling plan: know the test parameters required from your permit to ensure you have the correct sample bottle(s). Follow the regulatory requirements to know where you will be collecting samples, how you will collect them (grab or composite), and how and when samples will be stored and transported to the lab.
Sample labels are extremely important for traceability. Completely fill out the date and time of sample collection, site of collection, initials of sampler, if sample is filtered, and any field measurements or observations that are client specific.
Transportation of samples isn’t always recognized as integral to sample integrity, but in fact it is one of the most important steps. The transfer of samples is an important time where preservation begins, and the utmost care should be taken to prevent contamination and degradation. Consider sealing the samples in a plastic bag or bucket with an airtight lid. Begin the chilling process immediately by placing samples on ice, blue-ice, or ice packs and place samples in a dark location, preferably a cooler, to minimize exposure to light. Separate wastewater samples from drinking water by placing them in different coolers or individual zip lock bags. If shipping samples, make sure they are packed with sufficient ice to remain cool during the duration of transit.
Provide a completed Chain of Custody (COC) document when relinquishing samples to the laboratory. The COC is a legally defensible document with information specific to the sampling plan, sample information, and transfer of custody to the laboratory. WETLAB’s digital COC can be found online at https://www.wetlaboratory.com/forms/
Sample bottles are provided by the laboratory at no charge, making it easy for you to ensure you are using the correct containers. To request a bottle kit, submit a request to WETLAB here https://www.wetlaboratory.com/bottle-order-form/ .
The containers will be specific to the sample matrix (water, soil, sludge, or other) and the testing requirements outlined in your permit. The correct bottles will contain the correct preservative and allow for the proper sample volume. The containers are made of a material that is chemically resistant to pollutants, have lids that seal to prevent contamination, and are clean and free of contaminants. Sample containers vary in color, material, and size. They may be glass or plastic, clear or opaque, 500ml bottles to 1-liter cubitainer. When collecting the sample, place the lid with the top side down, as not to contaminate the side that may be in contact with the sample. Do not rinse out the bottle because there may be a preservative in it. Fill the bottle with the amount indicated on the instructions provided with the bottle kit. Do not overfill the bottles to avoid removal of any preservative present in the bottle.
When collecting samples, use the appropriate bottles provided by the laboratory to ensure sufficient volume is provided for the parameters of interest, the number of analytes being tested, and the sample matrix. The sample volume should be easy for transport, large enough to be a representative sample from the material from which it was sampled, and sufficient to provide the laboratory the ability to split the sample, perform repeat analysis, and adequately run quality control samples.
Sample preservation will hold a sample as close to its natural state and maintain it as representative of the material from which it was sampled. Sample preservation protects a sample from natural biological or chemical degradation. If a sample is not preserved properly the natural biological and chemical consistency of the matrix can change the chemistry and compromise the sample. For example, pH can change in minutes, volatile compounds may be lost, bacteria can decompose constituents, and chemical reactions may change the analytes of interest into a different species (for example NO2 can oxidize to NO3). There are different types of preservation: thermal (cooling to <6 degrees C), chemical preservation (sodium thiosulfate to dechlorinate samples), pH control (adding nitric acid to metals containers to lower pH or NaOH to CN raise pH), and the bottle type if it is amber or opaque (minimize exposure to light which can degrade certain compounds).
The specific bottle types and chemical preservatives are supplied in a bottle kit order. The one factor of sample preservation that is specifically the client’s responsibility is cooling the samples. Temperature guidelines are consistent for all sample matrices. Samples should be received on ice, and if samples are received more than one day after sampling, they should be received at less than 6 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit). Failure to meet these guidelines may result in samples marked as “non-compliant.”
The hold time for a test begins at the time of collection. Therefore, it is important to know how long it will take for a sample to be received by the laboratory once collected since tests have varying hold times. A hold time may be measured in minutes, hours, days, or months, depending on the constituent of interest. A hold time is intended to ensure analysis begins within a certain timeframe that maintains the true representation of the sample. It limits potential chemical degradation and biodegradation caused from the natural makeup of the sample. If analysis is performed past the hold time, the analytical data will be flagged with a qualifier to represent the failed quality control for sample integrity. The best practice is to analyze a sample as soon as possible; the shorter time elapsed between collection and analysis will lead to more reliable results.
If you have any questions regarding sample integrity and proper sample handling, please contact us today, https://www.wetlaboratory.com/contact/.
The objective of WETLAB is to produce the highest quality data. This means our data is accurate, precise, legally defensible, and meets our client’s data requirements in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our quality assurance program provides guidelines and rules to ensure that all data produced meets or exceeds WETLAB standards. The laboratory ensures the maintenance of the controlled analytical processes. The quality assessment program incorporates all the necessary elements to ensure that the quality control system is functioning effectively.
Implemented by the Quality Assurance (QA) department, this program includes documentation of validation and statistical control processes, and periodic verification and inspection of methods performed. The QA department is comprised of highly skilled and detail-oriented technical scientists with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, public health, and environmental sciences. These scientists oversee data management, data quality, and adherence to Standard Operating Procedures & Methods, which is fundamental to managing WETLAB’s certifications.
WETLAB is committed to continuous improvement and to providing high-quality analytical services. Our staff believes that meeting the needs of our clients is the most important service we can provide. The QA department is essential to this process by making sure the data reported is of the highest quality with the best lab practices, and good, reproducible science.
As always, our team is here to help. If you need assistance with permit interpretation, our project management staff is ready and available. Send us your permit and after review, we can issue the bottles and provide needed information to collect and submit your samples to us within applicable guidelines. The first step of successful sampling is to ensure the correct bottles and preservatives are used and that the samples are stored and transported at the correct temperature once collected.
WETLAB is able to help alleviate some of the logistics involved in the process. We offer courier sample pick up and/or bottle kit drop off at all three of our locations.
For more information regarding sample scheduling or planning or if you have any questions regarding sample scheduling, planning, or permit review please reach out to one of our team members in your location.
Logan Greenwood – Client Services Manager (Sparks) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phaedra Harmening – Lab Manager (Elko) – email@example.com
Lisa Mason – Lab Manager (Las Vegas) – firstname.lastname@example.org