NELAP Accreditation Program
The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) is a laboratory certification program that fosters the generation of data of known and documented quality. NELAP, organized by The NELAC Institute (TNI), relies on standards representing the best professional practices in the environmental laboratory industry to establish the requirements for this program.
The TNI standard for laboratories, Volume 1, is modeled after ISO/IEC 17025:2005 "General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories." NELAP accreditation is based upon these standards and are implemented by state agencies recognized by TNI as accreditation bodies. There are currently 12 states that are NELAP accreditation bodies:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
A laboratory seeking accreditation is required to apply to its home state accreditation body for accreditation. It should be noted, however, that if the accreditation body does not offer accreditation for testing in conformance with a particular field of accreditation, a laboratory may obtain primary accreditation for that particular field of accreditation from any other NELAP accreditation body. One key NELAP requirement is that laboratories pursuing or maintaining accreditation must perform analyses of Proficiency Testing (PT) samples for each field of proficiency testing.
A laboratory can obtain NELAP accreditation for five major environmental regulatory programs:
- Clean Air Act (CAA),
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Superfund)
- Clean Water Act (CWA),
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)