Under the authority of R.S. 36:254(B)(7) and in accordance with R.S. 49:950 et seq., the Administrative Procedure Act, the Department of Health, Office of Public Health (LDH-OPH), has amended Chapter 80 (Accreditation of Laboratories Performing Drinking Water Analyses) of Subpart 28 (Drinking Water Laboratories) of Part V (Preventive Health Services) of Title 48 (Public Health−General) of the Louisiana Administrative Code (LAC). The amendments are necessary to withdraw the LDH-OPH Laboratory Certification Program from The NELAC Institute (TNI), the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP).

Through membership with the above entity, the LDH-OPH Laboratory Certification Program is required to offer certification to any laboratory that applies, regardless of location or size.

The limited resources of the LDH-OPH Laboratory Certification Program are being drained by large out-of-state laboratories that are taking advantage of low program fees. None of these laboratories are analyzing drinking water compliance samples for the State. One out-of-state assessment was performed in 2016, two in 2017, three in 2018, and three are scheduled for 2019. The out-of-state laboratories which have sought TNI NELAP accreditation from LDH-OPH have only covered the cost of travel for LDH-OPH laboratory certification personnel; however, the LDH-OPH Laboratory Certification Program’s resources including preparation time for the out-of-state assessment and the time spent at an out-of-state laboratory are essentially free.

Reciprocal, or secondary, certification (based on recognition of a TNI NELAP accreditation body) does not require an onsite assessment, and will still be offered to all out-of-state laboratories, but primary certification will be reserved for in-state laboratories.

This withdrawal will realign the Laboratory Certification Program with the departmental mission of protecting and promoting the health for all citizens of the state of Louisiana. Furthermore, it will allow the limited resources of the program to be focused on laboratories conducting analyses in the State and for the State.

Click here to view a copy of the 2nd Legislative Oversight Committee Report for the final rule. This oversight report was delivered to the relevant oversight committees on July 10, 2020.