Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Sample Scheduling and Planning and How We Can Help

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) – logang@wetlaboratory.com

Phaedra Harmening – Lab Manager (Elko) – phaedrah555@gmail.com

Lisa Mason – Lab Manager (Las Vegas) – lisam@wetlaboratory.com

Meet Hollie and Kat, our Project Management team. Our project managers are our client advocates, here to offer creative solutions and provide accurate data. Establishing relationships and understanding the needs of each client is one of the roles that make this department stand apart.

The primary focuses of this team are to manage correspondence with WETLAB clients and review work orders for accuracy after the sample log-in process is complete at each of our locations. The department sends client reporting, creates analytical quotes, oversees subcontracted work, performs data uploads using Equis or Lab-To-State software, and completes operational functions required for the testing process to progress smoothly.

Hollie and Kat stay on top of the ever-evolving state and federal guidelines and work with clients to ensure they are informed of any changes and are executing sampling to the required standards.

Meet Hollie. Her favorite part of her job is getting to know the clients and helping them with their needs. A lover of all things outdoors, Hollie enjoys camping, fishing and hunting, as well as gardening, cooking, canning and crafting. She has a several pets, including a dog, a leopard gecko, an aquatic turtle and an Emperor Scorpion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Kat. Kat loves meeting clients and believes that understanding their business makes WETLAB a more valuable partner. Outside of her role at WETLAB, Kat loves to stand up paddleboard and even worked with her dog this summer to get her comfortable on the board, as well as the kayak.

 

 

 

 

 

2020 was a year of significant, unprecedented change and upheaval in nearly every aspect of our lives.  With everything going on, it is easy to miss what changed in the world of environmental regulations.  We will review three of those regulatory alterations that took place in 2020.

Lead and Copper Rule Updates

The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was adopted nearly 30 years ago to protect the public against lead contamination in public drinking water systems.  The tragic situation in Flint, MI helped place lead contamination back in focus, and the EPA updated the LCR to address some of the shortcomings of the rule. Lead exposure has negative long-term health effects on children, and the new LCR requires that all Public Water Systems (PWS) test for lead in the water supply of schools and childcares that they serve.  In addition to testing at certain facilities, PWS must collect samples at homes and buildings known to have lead-based service lines.  All samples must now be collected on the fifth liter, meaning that four liters must be drawn before the actual sample is collected to ensure that the water is coming from the lead-based service line and not the internal plumbing of the building.

The EPA lowered the action level for lead contamination to 15ppb, which is used to measure the effectiveness of a PWS corrosion control program.  Exceeding 15ppb will not result in an exceedance violation, but additional action may be required that could result in a violation being issued. In addition, the allowable timeframe for addressing exceedances has been lowered significantly.  If a PWS without a corrosion control program reports a result of 10ppb or greater, they will be required to quickly implement approved corrosion control treatment.

More information can be found via the EPA here: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water

Perchlorate in Drinking Water

The EPA issued final action regarding perchlorate in drinking water, stating that the constituent no longer meets the criteria for being a regulated drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Reported perchlorate concentrations in drinking water have significantly decreased since becoming a regulated contaminant, due to many factors including mitigation strategies in highly contaminated areas, improved storage of hypochlorite solutions, and some state level drinking water regulations.

Although the EPA will no longer be regulating perchlorate concentrations, it is important to note that state and local authorities still may.  Smaller jurisdiction regulations are often more stringent than federal rules, so it is imperative that you talk to your regulator prior to making any changes in sampling.

Methods Update Rule 2019

In 2019, the EPA proposed an update to the Clean Water Act Methods Rule for the analysis of effluent.  Although this rule was supposed to be adopted in 2020, it is still in proposed status as of early 2021.  When adopted, this rule will allow for changes to some test procedures when analyzing wastewater and environmental samples for some contaminants. This rule will also allow for some technological advances, which have previously not been approved, to be used. When this update is adopted, we will share further changes and clarifications.

We are pleased to announce we have added the ‘Ammonia Nitrogen by Timberline’ certification! Read more from the Northern Nevada Business Weekly below!

SPARKS, Nev. — Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) announced in late December testing abilities at the company’s Sparks laboratory have been expanded with the addition of the “Ammonia Nitrogen by Timberline” certification.

According to a Dec. 28 press release, WETLAB is now certified in Nevada to analyze the measurement of ammonia in surface, ground, storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater and saline waters.

“This procedure takes between one and half to two and half minutes per sample analysis,” according to the release. “Additionally, without distillation of the samples, this allows for rapid determination and a wide dynamic range to meet clients’ regulatory detection requirements.”

Per the release, the test takes samples of ammonia nitrogen and preserves them with sulfuric acid to a pH <2 in order to convert all of the dissolved ammonia into the stable ionized NH4+ form.

“During the analysis, NH4+ is converted back to NH3 (g) by raising the pH with a strong base. The ammonia gas is passed through a hydrophobic membrane to determine the ammonia concentration in aqueous solutions,” according to WETLAB. “These samples should be collected in a plastic or glass container and preserved with Sulfuric Acid pH <2 and refrigerated at 2°-6° C. Samples that are preserved upon collection have a 28-day hold time.”

 

WETLAB is excited to announce we have recently expanded our mercury laboratory. This expansion will allow us to house our two Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption (CVAA) mercury analyzers that detect trace levels of mercury in a variety of  materials including:

  • EPA 245.1- drinking water, surface water, groundwater, and wastewater
  • EPA 7470 – mobility-procedure extracts, aqueous waters, and groundwaters
  • EPA 7471 – soils, sediments, and sludges

This expansion has provided us with more space in our main trace metals lab and will allow us to continue to grow and expand.

WETLAB held two virtual learning seminars in June; one focused on sample integrity and discussed sample bottles and preservatives, collection techniques, and hold times. The second seminar featured a guide to understanding a report including the results, data flags, report comments, and laboratory quality control.

We are happy to host our third virtual learning seminar this fall! This seminar will discuss sample temperatures and transports dos and don’ts. These seminars feature a 30-minute presentation, along with a 15-minute Q&A session. If you are interested in participating or to receive updates about upcoming seminars, please email Logan at logang@wetlaboratory.com.

Have a specific topic in mind for an upcoming seminar? Email us info@wetlaboratory.com with your topic today!

 

Our WETLAB team remains committed to protecting the health and safety of our community while our state begins to open up. We are here to support your needs and will continue operating as we have been, with the protocols below, in order to promote responsible interaction with each other and our customers.

Facility Hours

WETLAB is open to accept samples at our facilities during the following times:

Sparks: 8:00 am  – 6:00 pm

Elko: 10:00 am  – 4:00 pm

Las Vegas: 10:00 am  – 3:00 pm

Sample Drop Off

Considering the COVID-19 precautions and social distance requirements, WETLAB is currently using a contactless sample drop-off process.  Please use the designated drinking water and wastewater coolers for sample delivery.  Please submit your signed Chain of Custody (COC) to the COC delivery box.  If you’d like a copy of your signed COC, please contact your local WETLAB location or you may email your project manager.  Otherwise, you’ll receive a copy of the COC with the final report.

At this time, our courier schedule remains unchanged, if you would like to request a pickup please contact us.

Safety Protocols

The health and safety of our clients, employees, and families remain our priority and as such, we are continuing to take precautions to do our part in minimizing exposure and reducing the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, our client services team, as well as our administrative staff, work from home. We also have protocols in place with our courier service, as well as observing advanced sanitization and cleaning procedures within our office.

WETLAB will continue to be responsive to your testing needs to ensure that regulated facilities are operating within their permits and standards to protect public health.  As we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation throughout the world and in our own community, we will continue to be diligent in keeping you informed of any changes in our operations. Stay safe and healthy.

Check out some photos of our contactless drop off setup!

By Nick Ross, Operations Manager, WETLAB – Western Environmental Testing Laboratory

Nevada is an ideal state for businesses or companies to relocate to or build from the ground up. Specifically, in the northern part of the state, with the business-friendly environment and large amount of industrial space, it’s no wonder that companies like Apple, Tesla, Panasonic and Switch are deciding to call northern Nevada home. The region is also home to unique environmental factors that can greatly affect businesses, the economy and its citizens. Whether businesses are starting construction on a brand-new building or deciding to relocate to an existing space, there are several aspects that should be taken into consideration including the region’s groundwater tables, natural recourses, drought conditions and renowned water resources.

Groundwater Tables
Northern Nevada’s environment contains both very low and very high groundwater tables in close geographic areas. Ground water is impacted by precipitation, irrigation and ground cover. It also may be affected by land use. The water table can fluctuate with the seasons from year to year because it is affected by climatic variations, as well as how much water may be drawn from underground.

Groundwater is held underground in the soil or in the pores and crevices in a rock. Low groundwater can be extremely conducive to some endeavors like mines or landfills. However, low groundwater can also pose a problematic element for others like production wells. On the other hand, high groundwater tends to have the opposite effect. Mine dewatering – removing groundwater from a mine or contaminated groundwater due to seepage, are both present in northern Nevada’s environment.

Abundant Natural Resources
The region is filled with natural resources buried deep within the Earth. Resources like mineral deposits of gold, silver and lithium are buried in northern Nevada. The state’s great mineral wealth established this unique geographic region as a state nearly 150 years ago. Today, it continues to be an essential sector in Nevada’s economy. Thanks to world-class deposits of gold and silver, mining is Nevada’s largest export industry. Nevada’s mining industry was a vital source of technological advancement in the 19th century and continues to drive innovation in engineering and science. More than 12,000 people are directly employed by the Nevada mining industry. With a thriving mining industry, other industries and the state’s economy reap the benefits of numerous natural resource exports.

Extreme Drought Conditions
These extreme drought conditions can lead to more natural landscape erosion which in turn require more chemicals to maintain farmlands or golf courses. These conditions can also contracture to additional non-point source pollution when the rain causes runoff for the drought-stricken areas. Additionally, when a region is experiencing a drought, many industries are involved. Whether it’s the dry soil that causes building foundations to crack and shift or a poor yield of the food crop which can lead to less product and local businesses feeling the lack of spending, extreme drought conditions can severely affect the region’s business climate.

World Renowned Water Resources
Lake Tahoe, one of the clearest bodies of water in the world, due to its significant depth, low watershed rate and granite composition. Other resources such as the Truckee River, Pyramid Lake, Walker River and Walker Lake are extremely protected water resources in northern Nevada. Whether state or federal regulations, these water resources require extra layers of regulatory and testing requirements in marinas, ski resorts, water/sewage treatment, etc.

These unique environmental factors can seem daunting to business owners or developers, especially if they are new to the region. It’s important to properly test these environmental factors prior to building or relocating. Environmental testing companies are able to develop unique testing strategies and methods for various constituents and matrices while working closely with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance and accurate testing.

About WETLAB
WETLAB was founded in 2002 in Sparks, Nevada. In 2006, they moved into a state-of-the-art building, customized for our unique environmental testing and analytical needs. This facility has continued to grow is the main testing facility for WETLAB. To meet their customer needs, they have satellite facilities in Elko and Las Vegas. Learn more at www.wetlaboratory.com.

More information. 

Jason Dukek
Water/Wasterwater Operator, Broadbent & Associates, Inc. 

Broadbent & Associates, Inc. is a full-service environmental remediation, water resource, and civil engineering firm. I have been working with WETLAB for the last 15 years, and in all that time, I have never had a situation that wasn’t resolved quickly and efficiently by their staff. They have always watched out for possible mistakes in sampling, or results that could be in direct violation of the client’s permit and notified us of the situation in a timely manner which makes my job that much easier. Their staff is always courteous and professional, and their website is easy to follow and has a lot of needed information at your fingertips.

As a water and wastewater operator, it is important to have a certified testing laboratory with multiple locations throughout the state. With as many as 40 clients throughout the state, each requires different sampling constituents. If I run across something I have never sampled before, I get a hold of our Client Services Manager and they will let me know exactly what I need to do or use to grab the sample correctly. Having a lab that will have your sample bottles ready for pickup in short notice is also very helpful.

With multiple clients, we will continue to work with WETLAB on everything water and wastewater related to keep our clients in compliance with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. We will continue to work with them as our clientele base increases over time.

 

We are pleased to announce the promotions of Andy Smith and Jennifer Delaney.

Andy has been with WETLAB since 2002 and has nearly 22 years of experience in laboratory testing. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing lab operations and testing. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Adams State University.

Jennifer has worked for WETLAB since 2007; her past roles include laboratory scientist, quality assurance (QA) specialist, and QA team lead. In her new role, she will be responsible for ensuring data is of the highest quality and meets the needs of clients. She received a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology, both from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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