About the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP)

What does ELAP do?

ELAP provides evaluation and accreditation of environmental testing laboratories to ensure the quality of analytical data used for regulatory purposes to meet the requirements of the State's drinking water, wastewater, shellfish, food, and hazardous waste programs. The State agencies that monitor the environment use the analytical data from these accredited laboratories. The ELAP-accredited laboratories have demonstrated capability to analyze environmental samples using approved methods.

Program Overview

The California Environmental Laboratory Improvement Act (Assembly Bill 3739, Chapter 894, Statutes of 1988) took effect on January 1, 1989. It established a consolidated fee-supported accreditation program for environmental health laboratories, and a special fund, the Environmental Laboratory Improvement Fund, to support the program. Under the Act, accreditation is required of an environmental laboratory for producing analytical data for California regulatory agencies. The data is used to demonstrate compliance with requirements of drinking water, wastewater, food for pesticide residues, shellfish testing, and hazardous waste sections of the California Health and Safety and Water Codes. The Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) is responsible for implementing the Act.

ELAP is part of the Division of Drinking Water at the State Water Resources Control Board and is overseen by Chief Christine Sotelo. ELAP’s staff and functions are divided between three locations - Sacramento, Glendale, and Richmond. The Sacramento location is ELAP’s headquarters and is home to the Program Development, Research, and Enforcement Unit (PDREU). The PDREU is responsible for all program transformation initiatives, technical research, and enforcement cases. The Glendale Field Office is ELAP’s Assessment Unit with a group of specialized auditors. The Richmond Field Office houses the Monitoring Unit responsible for the evaluation of annual proficiency testing results. ELAP staff in all offices work together across geographic boundaries to fulfill the duties prescribed by the Laboratory Improvement Act: Inspect, Accredit, Monitor, and Enforce.