New state regulation requires certification for wastewater labs

A new state wastewater laboratory certification program that became effective Sept. 5, 2013, will standardize the procedures used in obtaining and analyzing wastewater compliance samples and reporting results to help ensure the quality of analytical data used by the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) for regulatory purposes.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2011 and codified as KRS 224:10-670 requires certification of laboratories that conduct analysis of wastewater at permitted facilities for purposes of compliance. The Wastewater Laboratory Certification regulation spells out the detailed requirements of the program authorized by KRS 224:10-670.

“Standardization is a vital component in the effort to ensure that a laboratory has the necessary competence, facilities and equipment to perform the required laboratory analytical procedures,” said Frank Hall, coordinator of the Laboratory Certification Section.

The Wastewater Laboratory Certification regulation outlines procedures for laboratories applying for certification, establishes certification fees, provides the requirements for certification including the appropriate methods and guidance for collecting and analyzing wastewater compliance samples, and outlines the requirement for evaluating and assuring laboratory competence and data reliability. The certification requirement will affect approximately 300 to 350 private and public laboratories that provide wastewater testing services associated with the Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) permit program.

The DOW is developing tools to assist wastewater laboratories in complying with this new regulation. Current tools include worksheets to calculate Method Detection Limits (MDLs) and Initial Demonstration of Capabilities (IDCs).  The DOW is developing Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) templates for wastewater laboratories.  These tools can be found at: http://water.ky.gov/permitting/Pages/WasteWaterCertification.aspx.

The DOW will monitor the permitted facilities to ensure permit compliance. Monitoring activities will include

  • Reviewing discharge monitoring reports
  • Interviewing facility personnel knowledgeable of the facility
  • Inspecting the processes that generate and treat wastewater
  • Sampling wastewater discharges to navigable waterways and other points in the generation or treatment process
  • Reviewing how samples are collected and analyzed by the laboratory

The program includes specific standards for training, quality control, field analysis, equipment, supplies, analytical methodologies, data management, fees and auditing of the certified laboratories.

Certification process

  • Wastewater laboratory submits application and fee. Laboratory applies for only those analysis categories performed by the lab, including “field only.”
  • DOW reviews submitted application for documentation and completeness. If deemed acceptable, DOW issues interim certification, pending audit.
  • DOW performs on-site audit.
  • DOW issues full certification or, if deficiencies are identified, provisional certification.
  • Provisional certification replaced by full certification upon receipt of proof of deficiency correction.
  • DOW has the authority to revoke certification if deficiencies persist or develop.
  • Certification renewal is required every two years, with fees paid annually.
  • Fee schedule tiered depending on categories of analysis and other factors. Fees will average approximately $3,000.

For more information, including a Frequently Asked Questions document visit http://water.ky.gov/permitting/Documents/FAQ_WWLC.pdf   or contact Frank Hall at 502-564-3410 or frank.hall@ky.gov.

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