Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Sample Integrity: Holding Times

What is a holding time, and why do I need to know about it? A “holding time” is the elapsed amount of time from the point of collection to the moment of preparation or analysis. Note that this is not the date/time of receipt at the lab! If samples are analyzed beyond an analytical holding time, the data will be qualified on the analytical report and may not be usable for compliance.

The analytical hold time to a sample is like an expiration date to a carton of milk; past the hold time, analysis technically can still be performed (just as milk may be consumed after it expires), the results, however, in both cases may be unsavory. There are very few allowances for missed hold times and in almost every case, resampling is required.

You should get samples to the lab as quickly as possible, as holding times are different for volume received unpreserved. For example, metals shrink from 6 months to 7 days, nutrients from 28 days to 48 hours, others hold times may even shrink to 24 hours or less! Find out more about preservatives and sample bottles here.

Holding times are easily accessible, as the information is constantly needed (and important!):
From WETLAB’s website here
From the EPA under 40CFR, part 136, Table II
From the NDEP website here
Or, get a hard copy sheet on your next stop into WETLAB

Be aware, hold times can change as methods are updated, so you should contact WETLAB for the most up to date information before you develop your sampling plan.


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 Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) is front and center in some of our employees minds, because of their impact on the lives of infants and mothers. Below, one of our employees shares her experience with NNBC and their annual race/ fundraiser event, the Liquid Gold 5k.

The Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) is a member of the Maternal Child Health Coalition of Northern Nevada, which is a non-profit organization that supports women and children.  The NNBC aims to normalize breastfeeding and increase community awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.  We also offer resources to moms who need support or help when they want to breastfeed.

The Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) held our 8th annual fundraiser, the Liquid Gold 5K Run/Walk on Saturday August 4th, 2018, and our 6th annual “Big Latch On!”  The Big Latch On is a worldwide event which pairs mothers and their children in breastfeeding together for one minute. These events served as our community’s kick-off to World Breastfeeding Week, and were intended to promote community awareness and gain support for normalizing breastfeeding in Northern Nevada.

The events took place on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno and were enjoyed by families, friends, vendors, and volunteers!  Volunteers participated in a volunteer training the night before the race, marked the course, and helped create posters for the race.  The day of the event volunteers were responsible for set up and cleaning up, assisting at the registration table, race guides on the course, and collecting survey information.  It was thanks to the volunteers that helped make our event a success!

If you are interested in learning more about the NNBC, please visit our website (https://nnbc.wildapricot.org/), or join us the first Tuesday of every month from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at The Children’s Cabinet located at 1090 S. Rock Blvd, Reno, NV 89502.

You can also check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nevadabreastfeeds.org/

WETLAB volunteers at the NNBC's Liquid Gold 5k.

WETLAB volunteers at the NNBC’s Liquid Gold 5k.

We are pleased to announce Kathleen (Kat) Langford has joined the Client Services team as an additional Project Manager at WETLAB.  Kat has worked as a Wet Chemistry and Geochemistry Laboratory Technician with WETLAB and a Laboratory and Logistic Coordinator at Desert Research Institute.

As a project manager, Kat will be another point of contact at WETLAB to help coordinate projects, provide quotes, send reports, prepare invoices, provide job status information, and assist with general questions.

Kat studied nutrition/ dietetics and public health at the University of Nevada, Reno.  She also has volunteered with the Veterans Guest House, assisting with special events and fundraising.

Please help us welcome her to the team.  She can be reached via email at katl@wetlaboratory.com.

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!

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.

IMG_0150Rob is the team lead for the Geochemistry lab at WETLAB.  He joined the WETLAB team two years ago, after he moved to Reno from New Jersey.  Rob holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Rutgers University, and has a myriad of technical lab expertise.

Rob came to WETLAB with several years of lab experience under his belt.  He previously worked in research at Church and Dwight (the Arm & Hammer company), where a project that he helped work on eventually made it to market.  After, he worked for third party pharmaceutical company, called DPT, working in a clean room (which is why he sometimes drops things on the floor and doesn’t pick them up).  After that, he worked at American Assay doing acid digestions and quality assurance.

The Geochemistry department at WETLAB runs many different EPA methods, including MWMP (Meteoric Water Mobility Profile), Flashpoint, Cyanide Extraction, and HCT (Humidity Cell Test).  The HCT lab consumes much of his time, as it includes several different tests for each cell, each week.  Since beginning his tenure at WETLAB, Rob has made several improvements to the functioning of the geochemistry department, including completely changing how ABA (Acid-Base Accounting) is preformed, so that WETLAB will better comply with NDEP rules and regulations.

At WETLAB, we specialize in finding innovative and unique solutions to client needs.  This holds especially true in the Geochemistry department with Rob at the helm.  For example, non-percolating HCT’s have been moved to paint trays to ensure both timely and accurate analysis.  Per client request, Rob preformed several consecutive MWMPs (which is a procedure usually only preformed once), resulting in the generation of 25 samples from 5 samples of rock.  Several other requests have been heeded, including making special standards for corrosion tests, and preforming net carbon and percent organic and inorganic carbon value analysis.  Client satisfaction is one of our highest priorities at WETLAB, and we provide inventive solutions while maintaining our standard level of precision and accuracy.


Rob prepping the LECO for analysis.

Rob prepping the LECO for analysis.

Sunrise over a smoky Northern Nevada

Sunrise over a smoky Northern Nevada (Photo credit: lacomj)

Cloud Seeding – Milking More Moisture out of Clouds for Northern Nevada

It sounds like science fiction to those who are unfamiliar, but it’s a practice that’s been in place in Northern Nevada and the California mountains to the west for more than 25 years.

Cloud Seeding – a practice in which mountaintop generators spray particles of silver iodide into storm clouds to boot ice particle formation and snowfall – has been said to increase the snowpack that feeds the Truckee River (Reno/Sparks major water supply) by an average of about 18,000 acre-feet per year, according to an article in the Reno Gazette Journal.

According to the Desert Research Institute, over the last 15 years cloud seeding has created enough snow water to supply 140,000 households annually over the last 15 years.

Last year, a particularly dry year for the Sierra and Northern Nevada, along with much of the west, DRI estimated an increase of 21,600 acre-feet of water, according to the RGJ article.

For reference, an acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons – enough to supply two average homes for more than a year.

Funding was cut to the Desert Research Institute by the state legislature in 2009, but regional government entities, including the Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Western Water Commission are poised to pay for the process again this year.

“We feel it’s money well spent,” said Mark Foree, general manager of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. “Certainly anything that can help our snowpack is something we are interested in.”

In considering the water quality impacts on spraying silver iodide into clouds to create snow and rain, the Weather Modification Association says “There is no evidence that suggests cloud seeding creates any significant negative environmental impacts on the environment. Assessments of soil, vegetation and surface runoff haven’t shown levels of silver iodine above natural background levels.

Desert Research Institute’s cloud seeding is expanding, starting with a 3-year program in southern Nevada to boost the snowpack in the Walker River watershed.

What do you think of cloud seeding? Let us know by commenting on this post on our Facebook page.

English: Cloud seeding. Deutsch: "Impfung...

English: Cloud seeding. Deutsch: “Impfung” von Wolken um künstlich Regen zu erzeugen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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One of the national epicenters of water quality monitoring, just minutes away from the WETLAB offices in Sparks, Nevada, is gearing up for even more analysis. Lake Tahoe is known around the world as one of the world’s clearest large alpine lakes — and federal, state and local efforts are all concentrated on restoring and preserving the lake’s astounding clarity intact.

In late November, the regional water board that governs the Tahoe Basin approved an aggressive plan to reduce the amount of fine sediment, phosphorous, and nitrogen entering the lake, which are some of the main culprits behind the lake’s steady clarity decline. Over the next 15 years, up to $1.5 billion could be spent to increase the lake’s clarity from last year’s 68-foot depth, to 80 feet, according to news reports.

For agencies and restoration groups around the lake, the new water quality targets mean more water quality analysis to determine which restoration projects are working and how much sediment, phosphorous, and nitrogen is entering the lake. That analysis and lab work is WETLAB’s specialty. Given the increase in water quality monitoring occurring in Tahoe, WETLAB is reminding agencies and non-profits around Lake Tahoe of WETLAB’s convenient regular sample pick-up and material drop-off service to Lake Tahoe.

A WETLAB employee regularly travels to Lake Tahoe to collect water samples and bring them back to WETLAB’s state-of-the-art Sparks, Nevada laboratory for careful testing and analysis.

A WETLAB representative travels to South Lake Tahoe every Tuesday, and to North Lake Tahoe every Thursday for sample collection and instrument drop-off. WETLAB is also willing to work out other collection days for new and existing clients if possible.

WETLAB is proud to be part of the restoration of one of the nation’s natural wonders.

Modern communication is a complex array of tweets, status updates, pixels and blogs. And more than ever the choices of consumers are influenced by the data streaming through the online universe on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In this fast-paced communication landscape, it is easy to be left behind, to lose your connection to consumers, clients and industry peers, and to allow the online conversation to pass you by. We here at WETLAB are not only not being left behind, we are leading the charge into a future of effective digital interaction with our water quality monitoring market.

“Social media and online communication tools are not a flash-in-the-pan trend. They are here to stay, and they are the present and future of how businesses and clients communicate,” said Michelle Sherven, President of WETLAB. “By engaging our market through numerous online media, we are positioning ourselves ahead of the curve in our industry, and ahead of the game in effective and immediate interaction with our consumers.”

WETLAB currently engages consumers and potential clients through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, an e-mail newsletter campaign using Constant Contact, and a blog. Through our Twitter feed, WETLAB recently doled out up-to-the-minute updates from the 2010 Geothermal Energy Expo in Sacramento in mid October. Through the immediate communication of Twitter, we were able to connect with potential clients at the industry event.

Our YouTube channel displays videos from one of the company’s most recent projects — water quality monitoring for the City of Sparks, Nev. — giving those too busy to read or too bored with a long block of text, an engaging way to experience our water quality monitoring work.

Facebook supplies information to consumers in a more active way than a traditional website, allowing social networking browsers to see the latest news on our company without taking the time to visit our home website.

Through each social media avenue, WETLAB is not just engaging in self-promotion, but informing a targeted group of individuals about a topic they care about.

“The key to social media is to not just talk about yourself, but engage in conversation on interesting subjects and trends in the industry,” said Sherven.

By taking the business savvy that made us a premier water quality monitoring laboratory and applying it to online communications networks, WETLAB has embraced innovative ways to communicate with our customer base. And each connection we make through our targeted digital networks is reaffirmation that online communication translates into good business.