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Proficiency Testing (PT) Requirements
Municipal, Industrial, Commercial and Other Laboratories
Under the NC WW/GW LC Rule 15A NCAC 2H .0800, laboratories must demonstrate proficiency for all certified parameters (for which a proficiency testing sample is available) each year and the graded results must be received in this office by September 30. Proficiency Testing samples must be obtained from an accredited vendor as unknowns. If performance evaluation samples are not available for a parameter, certification for that parameter may be based on the proper use of the approved procedure as determined by an announced or unannounced on-site inspection.
North Carolina Permittees will not be required to order Dishcharge Monitoring Report-Quality Assurance (DMR-QA) Study PT samples (you can read more about the NC DMR-QA PT Study Exemption on the Field Lab PT Page) and, therefore, will not be responsible for reporting data for their contract laboratories any longer.
2013 PT Study Requirements
The following links describe proficiency testing requirements for commercial, municipal, industrial and other laboratories. A new Proficiency Testing Requirements document (see link below) serves as a guide to the PT sample requirements of the NC WW/GW LC program. In addition to clarifying the regulatory requirements for proficiency testing, this document answers many common questions concerning evaluation of PT sample results. Also included are important deadlines, penalties and corrective actions for proficiency testing sample failures. Highlighted changes, a condensed version of the proficiency testing requirements and an auditor's checklist may also be found in the links below.
Proficiency Testing Requirements Document (February 20, 2012, Revision 1.2)
Highlighted Changes to PT Requirements for 2012 (February, 2012)
The "Cliff Notes" Version of Proficiency Testing Requirements (February, 2012)
List of Parameters and PTs Required 2013 update coming soon
Proficiency Testing Checklist (February, 2012)
NOTE: For the first time this year, we have added aqueous and non-aqueous matrices to your certificate attachment. At this time, we will not require PTs specific to each matrix. A single PT in either matrix shall suffice for demonstration of proficiency for that parameter method technology. A specific matrix PT is required only in cases where a method is matrix-specific (e.g., EPA 9071B).
Proficiency Testing Providers
The laboratory must obtain samples that are part of an official study obtained from a proficiency testing sample provider recognized by The NELAC Institute (TNI) and approved by the NC WW/GW LC program. ACLASS and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) have been designated Proficiency Testing Oversight Bodies (PTOB)/Proficiency Testing Provider Accreditors (PTBA) by TNI. You may see the terms "A2LA-accredited provider" and "NELAC-accredited provider" used interchangeably. In any case, when accessing the list of providers on the websites, select from the "NELAC-accredited" list. Laboratories should check this list each time PT samples are ordered since the list changes periodically.
Link to current NC WW/GW LC and NELAC-approved ACLASS Accredited Vendors of PT Samples - This link takes you to a search page where you can find a list of approved PT providers by selecting Proficiency Test Provider - TNI Vol. 3 in the dropdown list under the Accreditation Standard field.
EPA Lab Codes
Since different accreditation programs use a wide array of laboratory identification systems, the PT providers need a singular means of identifying participant labs when grading and reporting PT results. This singular system of identification is your EPA Lab Code. Each certified laboratory must have an EPA Lab Code and this code must be documented on the results to the proficiency testing provider. Without this EPA Lab Code, the NC WW/GW LC program may be unable to credit the PT results to the correct laboratory. The EPA Lab Codes are assigned by the US EPA. The EPA contact for Lab Code assignment for PT studies is:
Mr. Charles Feldmann
US EPA, M/S 140
26 W. Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45268
Chlorophyll a Round Robin Study
Currently there are no performance evaluation samples for chlorophyll a that can be carried through an entire method from extraction to instrumental analysis. Consequently, laboratories currently certified for chlorophyll a will be required to participate in a round robin with other government, academic, and commercial laboratories pursuant to North Carolina Administrative Code 15A NCAC 2H .0805 (c) (3). The round robin studies are designed to provide a measure of laboratory performance in the absence of vendor-supported proficiency testing. The reports provide an illustration of intra-laboratory and inter-laboratory precision as well as a best estimate of the central tendency of data reported by laboratories currently engaged in chlorophyll a testing. A copy of the Chlorophyll a Round Robin Study Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) can be viewed here.