Lab Matters Fall 2022 - Page 18


APHL Members Collaborate with Water Sector Partners

by Hunter Adams , environmental laboratory supervisor , City of Wichita Falls , TX ; Kathryn Wangsness , quality assurance manager , Arizona State Public Health Laboratory ; Erin Morin , associate specialist , Environmental Health ; and Sarah Wright , manager , Environmental Laboratories
In 2015 , the APHL Environmental Laboratory Science Committee began an informal collaborative partnership with the Water Environment Federation ( WEF ) Laboratory Practice Committee to identify collaborative opportunities within the environmental laboratory community to promote public health . They were joined by the American Water Works Association ( AWWA ) Water Quality Laboratory Committee in 2019 . Through this partnership , overlapping topics of mutual interest were identified , resource dollars were maximized , and consistent messages were communicated across this important public health sector that has not historically been well-linked .
• “ Coliphages : What Will You Need to Know and How Will Laboratories , the Regulatory Community , and the Public be Impacted ?” Since the majority of recreational water contact illnesses are caused by enteric viruses , data have shown that a viral structure such as coliphage may be more representative of the recreational water quality viral load . The webinar was held in preparation for the then-expected 2018 release of US Environmental Protection Agency ’ s ( US EPA ) recreational water quality coliphage criteria . While these criteria have still not been released , lots of preparation is needed to transition to test for , interpret and apply viral ( coliphage ) instead of bacterial indicators to recreational water quality management . Multiple speaker perspectives provided a comprehensive view into how this shift would affect the water laboratory sector .
• “ Calculating & Using Method Detection Limits ” ( MDLs ). MDLs are used to ensure laboratories measure analytes at a consistent sensitivity , because no two analytical instruments are
( from l to r :) Kathryn Wangsness , Erin Morin and Hunter Adams present a poster on the WE & T article “ The Vital Role of the Environmental Laboratory as Public Health Laboratories ” at APHL 2022
identical . Because US EPA updated the MDL procedure in 2016 ( 40 CFR Part 136 ), discussions between APHL , WEF and AWWA on how laboratories were incorporating and implementing the process determined that there was a need to better understand the updated process . The webinar ’ s goal was to define the importance of MDLs for use within the laboratory and as a basis of regulatory decisions , with an interactive component in which participants calculated MDLs utilizing a calculation spreadsheet and provided data .
• “ Ethics for the Environmental Laboratory .” The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program ( NELAP ) is the main US accreditation standard for laboratories performing water and wastewater analyses , with over 2,000 laboratories in 47 states and four countries participating . As part of this accreditation , the 2016 TNI Standard Quality Systems General Requirements , Volume 1 , Module 2 , requires annual data integrity and ethics training for analysts . This webinar ’ s goal was to provide a recorded training that could be used to fulfill this requirement .
• APHL published Cyanotoxins : A Guidance Document for Public Health Laboratories in 2021 as an update to the 2017 edition , providing resources for environmental
AWWA and WEF are international USbased organizations that promote the research , training and dissemination of knowledge of water and wastewater practices . AWWA and WEF members include drinking water and wastewater utility laboratories , which do many of the same water tests as state environmental and public health laboratories .
16 LAB MATTERS Fall 2022
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