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5 Key Considerations When Choosing an Environmental Lab
March 5th, 2019
Whether you are an environmental consultant, environmental health and safety officer, state regulator, chemical or civil engineer, there are many factors to consider when selecting an environmental laboratory for your sample testing needs. In fact, without a broad assessment of a lab’s capabilities, specialties, certifications, industry affiliations and geographic coverage, you may not be choosing the best laboratory for your specific requirements.
Here are 5 key considerations that you should keep in mind when selecting an environmental testing laboratory:
Quality Control – Not all labs are created equal. The confidence you have in the accuracy of the results in the final report is critical to your project success. An advanced lab should have procedures in place that evaluate overall quality of results by measuring and tracking those results over time. Those processes should also include test parameters that establish ranges for acceptable results. Those parameters should then be used to identify outliers and potential irregularities with individual tests.
Turnaround Time – Understanding how long it takes for a laboratory to conduct testing and provide results can be a critical factor in most projects. It is also important that a lab not sacrifice accuracy to improve overall turnaround time. Simplifying the process of sample submission is one way that advanced labs are able to reduce turnaround time. Another approach is offering the testing results electronically via a website, mobile app, or even email.
State Certifications – Federal and state government agencies require analytical testing laboratories be certified to conduct certain testing. These accreditations are often on an individual test level. To ensure the legitimacy of your testing results, it is essential to verify the lab you are selecting has the necessary certifications in the state where this testing is being conducted.
Customer Support – Having access to a dedicated customer service and support team can make environmental testing a much more efficient process. The ability to ask a real person to confirm the receipt of a submitted sample, inquire about the status of testing results, or ask questions about completed results can be a tremendous time saver.
Industry Reputation – As with any business, it is important to gauge the professional standing of an environmental. Asking for referrals of existing or previous clients is a great way to gain a firsthand understanding of what it is like to work with a particular lab and what you should expect if you choose to work with that lab. Another great way to assess a lab is by evaluating the size, scope and visibility of projects that lab has been involved with. For example, if a lab can include in its portfolio a modest number of high-profile projects, you can be reasonably assured that their services are trusted and reliable.
While there are other factors to evaluate when selecting an environmental testing laboratory, these 5 considerations are fundamental to ensuring you will be working with a lab that is focused on accuracy and reliability, while also prioritizing the client’s needs and having the reputation to back it up.
Con-Test Analytical Laboratory is one of the leading environmental laboratories in the country. Located in the Greater Boston area, Con-Test services over 30 states nationally. Known as one of the top-quality environmental laboratories, Con-Test is a partner with leading international firms, the EPA, state governments, and more. Our diverse areas of expertise include: air toxins, sediment, tissue, solids, aqueous, product testing and more. Contact us to learn more about our analytical testing services.