Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Courier Services at WETLAB

At WETLAB, we try to do everything we can to make things easier for our clients environmental testing needs.  One of the biggest ways we do that is with wide-reaching courier routes that run weekly.  Each of our three offices (Sparks, Elko, and Las Vegas) has their own routes, which makes it easier for clients all over Nevada and parts of California to have their samples analyzed in a timely manner.

For a sample of how far WETLAB travels to better serve you, we’ll take a look at the basic weekly schedule of pick-ups from the Sparks office.

Monday: Herlong, Portola, Grass Valley, North Lake Tahoe

Tuesday: Kirkwood, South Lake Tahoe, East Shore, Yerington

Wednesday: Carson City, Bridgeport, Topaz Lake

Thursday: South Shore, Mt. Rose, North Shore, Winnemucca, Round Mountain, Austin

Friday: Winnemucca upon request

If scheduled ahead of time, WETLAB can also provide basic sampling and off-route pick-up!  And when a storm comes, we make a special storm water route available.


Call us today at (775) 355-0202 to see how WETLAB can make your sample pick-up and delivery easier.

Nevada is home to many beautiful, expansive, and green golf courses.  But, Nevada is also a dry, arid desert which is currently going through a severe drought, and there’s no end in sight.  How are these two seemingly irreconcilable realities coexisting?  Well, that’s a multi-faceted answer.

Golf courses go hand-in-hand with Nevada’s hospitality and luxury industries, and companies would be hard pressed to simply let their green investments die a brown, crunchy death.  So companies, and courses, have gotten a little creative.  While they started with the obvious measures of reducing overall usage, and examining pipes for leaks, the reduction was simply was not enough.  Golf courses have now started using treated effluent water as a means for watering their massive lawns.  Many courses in Nevada, especially those lining the Las Vegas strip, have used gray water for several years, but effluent water is a newer usage concept.  Effluent water differs from gray water in that it must be more treated, since it can contain sewage.  Using effluent water, instead of fresh water or even gray water, means a reduction of demand for potable water, which in turn means that our dwindling water supply can hold out a bit longer.

Northern Nevada golf courses have capitalized on the use of treated effluent water as a means to water their grass.  It’s clear that the water-saving measure isn’t negatively impacting the golf courses, too, because the lawns are bright green and thriving.  You just have to drive by Washoe County’s Sierra Sage Golf Course in Stead to see that this is a great way to water the turf.  Sierra Sage gets their water from the City of Reno’s Stead Water Reclamation Facility, where the effluent water is treated to the point where it is no longer dangerous, but still not potable.

Another impact of this ever-worsening drought?  Shorter winters mean more time on the putting green.


WETLAB tests effluent water for EPA compliance, and water for golf courses is no exception.  WETLAB will also test all of your runoff and fertilizer samples, call (775) 355-0202 for more information.

In the latest chapter on a controversial subject we’ve discussed before on the WETLAB blog, a judge has once again rejected a Southern Nevada Water Authority pipeline aimed at eastern Nevada water.

This is the second time a judge has blocked the project since 2009, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which would siphon billions of gallons a year from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas.

Seventh District Court Judge Robert Estes ruled that Nevada’s chief water regulator needed to recalculate and reduce how much water could safely be taken from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys, according to the article.

Estes found that the amount of water proposed would affect other water rights, particularly in Spring Valley, where the project would mean the valley wouldn’t reach equilibrium even after 200 years.

He said the project, “is unfair to following generations of Nevadans and is not in the public interest,” according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The proposed project, according to the Las Vegas Sun, would have cost $6.5 billion over 10 years, and has been protested by environmental groups, ranchers and Indian tribes.

If approved, the deal would have taken an estimated 84,000 acre-feet of water. An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons.

“There is no objective standard to determine when mitigation efforts will be eliminated and implemented,” Estes said in the Sun article, requiring the State Engineer, Jason King, to take steps to avoid potential environmental impacts.

While King said he was disappointed, opponents lauded the decision. And while the decision has been made for now, it didn’t dispute the need for water for Southern Nevada outside of the Colorado River supply – an issue that will continue to arise as time goes on.

A recent water quality story caught our eye out of Southern Nevada – mysterious brown foam found floating on Lake Mead.

According to an Associated Press Report, officials urged people to avoid the Overton Arm, a northern area of the lake, when several dozen carp were found dead in the foam, which extended for about eight miles from the mouth of the Virgin River to Echo Bay.

Water quality testing is underway, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife is investigating the fish deaths, according to the article, but the Southern Nevada Water Authority, monitoring water quality at two intakes, hasn’t found any problems.

The article quotes Southern Nevada Water Authority Spokesman Bronson Mack as saying no pollutants have been found at the intakes.

“It really is a massive body of water, and that’s one benefit from a drinking water perspective,” he told the Associated Press in regards to dilution, adding that water from the Overton Arm takes about a month to make it to the intakes.

In an www.8newsnow.com story, there was speculation of a virus killing the fish and an increase in water temperatures killing off algae to create the foam, meaning the two could be unrelated.

But in an editorial on lasvegascitylife.com, Peabody Award-winning reporter George Knapp raised some concerns.

“I would probably feel a bit better about drinking tap water from the lake if I hadn’t heard so many similar statements from our water officials in years gone by. SNWA and the Water District have spent millions over the years on touchy-feely TV commercials that assure all of us how great our water tastes and about all of the incredibly rigorous tests which are conducted thousands of times each month to ensure that every drop is perfectly safe,” Knapp wrote, referring to missed pollutants in Lake Mead like perchlorate that went undetected by testing for decades.

This will be an interesting story to follow, and one that drives home the importance of water quality monitoring.

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In this blog, we spend much of our time talking about water quality testing news, science and politics that we find interesting; but with this month’s blog, we decided to do something a little different.

Here at WETLAB we care about maintaining and improving water quality, above and beyond our roll in monitoring it. When we came across some tips for average citizens to help from www.cleanwateraction.org, we thought it was a great fit.

First is some news that’s been getting quite a bit of attention in the last few years: Don’t flush medicines, pharmaceuticals or personal care products down the toilet or down the drain. That includes anything from over-the-counter drugs to cosmetics and even sun screen or vitamins. They can all impact both the environment and our drinking water down the road.
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Don’t use antibacterial soaps when you don’t need to. These products often contain chemicals that harm aquatic life, and can lead to antibiotic resistant germs.

Don’t put motor oil, detergents, fertilizers, pesticides or anything but water down storm drains. And speaking of motor oil, fix any drips or leaks on your car or truck so it doesn’t wash into the water supply with the rain.

Try to use natural gardening products over pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The same goes for inside the home–stay away from toxic household products in cleaning and home care.

Pick up after your pets! Their waste contains bacteria that can end up in the water supply when it’s washed down the storm drain.

Pave less of your property. The more water runs across pavement instead of seeping down into the soil, the greater chance it has to pick up pollutants, pick up speed and cause flooding or erosion.

These are just a few tips we thought were worth sharing. Please add your ideas by commenting on this post or on our Facebook page.

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Earlier this winter, we took a look at a promising beginning to the winter’s snowpack and corresponding water storage after big December storms.

Our January WETLAB blog reported end-of-December totals of 112 percent water content in the Sierra Snowpack that feeds the Truckee River and the Reno-Northern Nevada area downstream. At the time, that put us at 53 percent of the year’s total.

Fast forward to the end of February, and the picture is a little different – because the water is about the same. Yes, the months of January and February were the driest ever recorded for the Northern Sierra since modern records were first kept in 1920, according to the San Jose Mercury News, putting us at only 66 percent of normal to date.

Snowfall, stored in the Sierra to melt throughout the spring and summer as one of the major water sources for both Nevada and California, has been blocked by a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast for the last two months, driving storms up into Canada, and dropping them into the Midwest.

And accordingly, water officials are tightening their belts. The Walker River Irrigation District said farmers might receive about half of what they received last year, even though last year was also a below average year for water in the Sierra snowpack, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

That – despite this year’s snowpack holding more water than last year – is due to drawn-down reservoir levels, according to Federal Watermaster Jim Shaw.

“I hate to bear crappy news, but being an old farmer, it doesn’t look very good,” Shaw said in the RGJ article. “If it’s any consolation, it’s this way clear across the U.S., from the Mississippi River west.”

While the April 1 deadline for measuring Sierra snowpack and water stored therein is quickly approaching, some local forecasters aren’t quite ready to write this winter off.

Snow Forecaster Bryan Allegretto of opensnow.com writes that, depending on which forecasting model you look at, there’s still a chance at feet of snow before the month of March is up.

The bottom line – if you’re an optimist, it’s not over until its over, but if you’re not, we’re unlikely to make up for the ground lost in January and February.

By Caitlin McGarry
Posted: May 15, 2012 | 2:02 a.m.

For most people, a drink of water is like eating or sleeping. It’s just something we do to stay alive.

The Western Environmental Testing Laboratory’s work is one of the reasons people rarely think about the water they drink. The Sparks-based lab handles wastewater and drinking water testing for private companies, research firms and municipalities to ensure its safety.

The company in December opened a Las Vegas branch at 3230 Polaris Ave., to better accommodate its 10 local clients. Utility Services owner Hollie Daines is a recent addition to WETLab’s client roster. Her company is distribution operator for 45 local small public water systems, ranging from homeowners associations to resorts. WETLab analyzes the water samples Utility Services collects from the systems each month.

Click here to read more!

The Las Vegas Wash - upstream view.

The Las Vegas Wash – upstream view. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Viva Las Vegas!  As for Vegas, the lease is completed and we’re currently setting up and going through the certification process for the test we will perform in Vegas. We will perform locally Total Coliform, Quant Tray, Fecal Coliform, pH and BOD5.

The address is 3230 Polaris Ave. Unit 4, Las Vegas, NV 89102.
For additional information please contact Nick Ross at (775) 355-0202.

Michelle Sherven is the owner/operator of WETLAB – Western Environmental Testing Laboratory.

WETLAB is a company that has shown tremendous growth over the past year. Michelle took this company from a small start-up to a well established business with overflowing clientele and an increase in revenue and hiring. WETLAB’s revenue increased 29% over the past year, showing enough promise for Michelle to add 4 new full time employees and 7 part time employees. WETLAB started with a total of seven employees. As any entrepreneur knows, creating jobs in a “down” economy is a feat in itself, yet Michelle comfortably made the decision to add to her team because she not only could, but had to. In addition to adding team members, WETLAB was able to expand their working space and equipment list.

WETLAB purchased a new building to conduct business in, adding 11,000 sq ft to their offices and labs. WETLAB also added additional office spaces outside the Reno/Sparks area, purchasing a location in Elko. Along with the extra space, WETLAB’s finances were so stable that Michelle added several new pieces of cutting edge technology testing equipment to the labs, making WETLAB one of the most innovative businesses in their field today. WETLAB solidified that reputation for being on top of their industry by certifying four new test methods to properly provide the scientific data in their water quality tests that governments, mines, environmental restoration organizations and more use on a regular basis to make important development decisions.

Want to talk expansion? WETLAB’s services, sales, and marketing went from being a one state gig to covering a majority of the West Coast in 2010, expanding to California, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. Michelle now has the team, locations, and resources to provide the most innovative water quality testing to whoever her clients may be and wherever those clients are located.

Michelle’s focus on community well being also contributes to her professional notoriety, both for her and WETLAB as a company. Michelle successfully implemented a paperless billing system for in house client reports, receivables and payables systems. Being in the field she is, environmental standards rate high on Michelle’s priority list, and she’s striving to switch as much of her business as possible to a paperless system. She also strives to keep her lab under a full, 100% recycling program, not letting anything go to waste, from tools and toss away equipment to her team’s lunch leftovers.

WETLAB also gives back to the community by volunteering at the Northern Nevada Food Bank, packaging food to go out to needy families. As a dedicated volunteer group, WETLAB was nominated as one of the top companies that volunteer at the food bank.

As a business and community leader, Michelle takes pride in the fact that she puts the well being of her employees, partners, surroundings, and company first. Her top notch standards ensure that her practices are going to stick around for decades to come. And her revenue figures are impressive for a female in a typically male dominated industry.

High standards go hand-in-hand with owning and operating an Environmental Testing Laboratory. Michelle’s ability to maintain her high standards are reflected in the growth and popularity of her lab. WETLAB is known for their precise analytics and high standard of customer service.  This offering a uniquely client-oriented lab environment.

Michelle is a type of person that knows immediately  what attribute is the most influential in regard to the success of WETLAB.  Based on her several years as a business owner and entrepreneur, Michelle has discovered that at the very top of the list is the distinguishing quality of integrity. Michelle believes that integrity is at the helm of her company. Michelle keeps integrity present throughout the deepest layers of her company and not just at its surface.  She wants integrity to be the heart and soul of the company’s culture in order to run a company that succeeds, and not company that falters.

As a wife and mother of two, Michelle’s continued commitment to her family and company has always amazed me.  She has very strong determination to be successful as she have proven this determination through her ability to maintain harmony through her personal and business life.  Without this ability I am not sure any entrepreneur would survive.

Michelle is not only committed to her friends, family and company but she has created a new standard for how companies should represent themselves throughout the community.

A great example that comes to mind is WETLAB’s ongoing volunteering efforts at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada (FBNN).  The WETLAB staff volunteers their entire evening once a month to the FBNN packaging food.