Introducing Our New Website!

New Babcock Labs WebsiteBabcock Labs has completely revamped its website to enhance your user experience! Enjoy intuitive, user-friendly navigation, digitized forms and documents, seamless compatibility with your smartphone and tablet, and much more!

Our new site includes an integrated blog, which means that as of July 7th, 2017, this blog (www.babcocklabsblog.com) will no longer be updated with industry news and lab information. To view our brand new site, simply visit www.babcocklabs.com today!

Questions? Contact us at 951-653-3351 or info@babcocklabs.com. 

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Babcock Labs Website Down for Maintenance

The Babcock Labs website will be down for maintenance beginning the evening of Friday, July 7th, and ending on Sunday, July 10th, 2017. Some pages may appear incorrectly or be unavailable during this time, however, this maintenance will not affect the Client Connect portal for online results.  If you need to access your online results this weekend, please use the following link: https://secure.babcocklabs.com/

We appreciate your understanding and patience during this process. There are big changes in the works for our website and we are excited to reveal them to you soon!

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact your Project Manager or call us at 951-653-3351.

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CA ELAP Update: State Water Board Considers Final Recommendations

The arduous journey to fix laboratory accreditation in California and improve the reliability of all regulatory data quality produced by CA accredited labs reached another significant milestone last month. On May 3rd the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) held an informational workshop regarding the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). The State Water Board received  public comments on the Program’s progress and also the final recommendations in the Year 2 Final Report by the ELAP Expert Review Panel. As the CEO of Babcock Laboratories and a member of the Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (ELTAC), I was among those who attended this workshop and provided comments. This article highlights some of the Expert Review Panel’s final report recommendations and what labs can expect during the next leg of the journey.

The Panel’s final report included the recommendation that ELAP move without delay to adopt the The NELAC Institute (TNI) 2016 Standard. Additionally, the Panel also recommended that “ELAP adopt the 58 ELTAC proposed modifications as implementation guidance rather than as modifications to the underlying standard” in part because “adopting a modified standard would isolate California from invaluable training resources available from the national program.” Babcock Laboratories supports this recommendation by the Panel because we believe that full adoption of the TNI 2016 Standard will provide meaningful reform for California ELAP.

The reason that full adoption of the TNI 2016 Standard is important is because the purpose of a quality systems-based laboratory standard is to ensure the competency of a laboratory to produce data of known and documented quality. All labs—public and private— produce data for decision making purposes affecting public health and safety and therefore must be held to the same standard, regardless of lab size. This is yet another reason why ELAP should adopt the 58 modifications as implementation guidance rather than as modifications. Creation of a California-only accreditation standard will impede and delay the process of regaining confidence in all of the results generated by labs.

The Panel also recommended that ELAP “develop an implementation process that facilitates laboratory participation.” More specifically, the Panel suggested ELAP use a combination of time-based, documentation-based, and requirement-based phasing. Again, Babcock Laboratories agrees with this recommendation and believes this phasing process should take no more than three years to implement once the Standard is adopted. Moreover, Babcock Laboratories has called on ELAP to include a training component in its on-site assessments (OSAs) over the course of the implementation period. This will allow laboratories, especially laboratories unfamiliar with the Standard, the opportunity to improve their quality systems.

In terms of expanding resources, the Panel strongly urged ELAP to “immediately begin accepting third-party assessments.” Babcock Laboratories agrees with this recommendation because third-party assessments will help reduce the current backlog and provide expertise for assessment of complex fields of testing (FOTs).

Third-party assessments also make sense from a practicality standpoint. The ELAP staff have made great strides in the past two years and gained significantly in knowledge and experience. That said, the ability of the program to attract and retain the technical competence necessary to conduct audits and assessments of all methods and fields of testing in three major regulatory programs has proved insufficient. The financial resources and the number of years necessary to train, develop, and retain a competent accreditation staff is impractical and, arguably, not in the best interest of the State Water Board and the California tax payers.

To make the use of third-party assessment possible, ELAP must provide some financial relief to laboratories that need to utilize the services of third-party assessors. Laboratory fees in California have tripled in the last three years. The additional cost cannot simply be thrown on top of existing laboratory accreditation fees, which are excessive by any reasonable comparison. With ELAP no longer burdened to provide for the on-site audit and assessment portion, the cost to use third-party assessment services should be considered in setting the California accreditation fees for labs compelled to use it.

A final recommendation from the Panel that is worth noting is its suggestion that ELAP immediately initiate and use “software to improve the processing efficiency of information being evaluated for laboratory accreditation.” ELAP staff are spending countless hours manually reviewing the Proficiency Testing reports of the 750 CA accredited laboratories. This is an important task as each laboratory must demonstrate the ability to analyze and report every analyte for every test method for which the laboratory maintains accreditation. It is a minimum requirement of any credible demonstration of competence. It is also a task that virtually every other state accreditation system has automated. In our final comments to the State Water Board, Babcock Laboratories called on ELAP to prioritize the purchase and implementation of available software to make this important task efficient and cost effective.

Overall, it appeared at the May workshop that the State Water Board is in agreement with  the Panel’s final report recommendations. This is encouraging, as it means laboratories can begin implementing the TNI Standard ahead of formal State regulation adoption. California will be set up for laboratory accreditation success and data quality reliability.

The next ELTAC meeting will take place on July 13th, where the committee will discuss the next big issue—laboratory accreditation fees.

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Babcock Labs Fully Approved for UCMR 4 Testing!

Babcock Laboratories, Inc. is officially an EPA approved laboratory for UCMR 4! We are now fully approved by the U.S. EPA for all UCMR 4 analyses. Click here to view our approval certificate.

Starting in 2018, approximately 6,000 public water systems (PWSs) must participate in the UCMR 4 program, including all community water systems (CWSs) and non-transient non-community water systems (NTNCWSs) serving more than 10,000 people (i.e., large systems), as well as a selected list of 800 small CWSs and NTNCWSs serving between 25 – 10,000 people (i.e., small systems). For more information about UCMR 4, view our FAQ sheet or contact a member of our team.

Babcock Labs has received certification for each round of UCMR since the inception of the program over fifteen years ago. Our experience with the program and our expert staff make Babcock Labs an excellent resource for UCMR 4 questions and testing services. Whether you have questions about program requirements, are looking for a quote to begin the planning process, or are interested in sample collection, analysis, and reporting services – we are here to help!

Contact a member of our Business Development team today:
Cathy Iijima, Director of Client Services (951-653-3351 ext. 235)
Nick Marz, Business Development Associate (951-653-3351 ext. 262)
Taylor Cariaga, Business Development Associate (951-653-3351 ext. 240)
Or, contact your Project Manager

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Lead in Our Schools: The Case for Testing

Many school districts have participated in the State Water Resources Control Board’s new lead testing program, which requires local water agencies to provide free lead testing to any K-12 schools they service. One such school district, San Diego Unified, has identified yet another one of its schools as having elevated levels of lead in drinking water fountains.

Birney Elementary School is the third school in the district found to have lead levels that exceed State drinking water standards. In March, test results at Emerson-Bandini Elementary and the San Diego Co-Operative Charter School 2 showed drinking water with more than twice the acceptable level of lead. Moreover, San Diego is not the only area affected, as testing has identified elevated levels of lead in drinking water at schools in San Ysidro and San Marcos.

Under the State Board program, if a K-12 school official requests lead testing its public water system is responsible for collecting water samples within three months of the request, having the samples analyzed by an ELAP-accredited laboratory, and reporting the results to the school within two business days of receiving the results—all free of charge. The water system is required to collect up to 5 samples at each school requesting assistance. To view the sampling plan and protocols, visit the DDW’s Lead Sampling of Drinking Water in California Schools website.

Babcock Laboratories is both ELAP and NELAP accredited and has over 20 years of experience determining ultra-trace amounts of lead in drinking water using EPA method 200.8, which is the testing method required by the State Board for this program. In addition to lead, Babcock Laboratories offers a suite of heavy metal testing services for drinking water. If you are interested in our heavy metal testing services, including lead testing, please contact our Director of Client Services, Cathy Iijima.

As is evident by these recent cases in San Diego, this testing program is helping schools and water agencies address potential safety issues so that they can take immediate action to ensure that our children and teachers are consuming clean and safe drinking water. We are proud to lend our support to public water systems as they continue to protect public health under this new program.

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Water Quality: New Objectives for Mercury

The State Water Resources Control Board has adopted new water quality objectives for mercury. These new rules are meant to protect public health and wildlife by limiting mercury in all inland surface waters, enclosed bays, and estuaries in California.

The rules include three new beneficial use definitions for certain types of fishing, five new water quality objectives that set safe consumption levels for mercury in fish tissue, and an implementation plan to achieve the reduced mercury levels in fish.

The State Board press release states, “The rules also include a program of implementation outlining methods for determining limits for waste water dischargers, pollution prevention activities for urban storm water, and focuses on controlling sediment from non-point sources particularly in areas known to be contaminated by mercury to achieve the water quality objectives.”

For the State Board’s press release on the new rules, click here.

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Water Reclamation and Reuse: $23.6 Million for Projects and Studies

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded $23.6 million for water reclamation and reuse projects and studies. California is among seven states to receive funding, with many projects located in Southern California. As the press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior reads:


U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke [announced] that the Bureau of Reclamation awarded $23,619,391 to communities in seven states for planning, designing and constructing water recycling and re-use projects; developing feasibility studies; and researching desalination and water recycling projects. The funding is part of the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.

“This funding  provides essential tools for stretching limited water supplies by helping communities reclaim and reuse wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters,” said Secretary Zinke. “These tools are just part of the toolkit for bridging the gap between water supply and demand and thus making water supplies more drought-resistant. In addition to this funding, Reclamation is actively supporting state and local partners in their efforts to boost water storage capacity.”

Title XVI Authorized Projects are authorized by Congress and receive funding for planning, design and/or construction activities on a project-specific basis. Six projects will receive $20,980,129. They are:

• City of Pasadena Water and Power Department (California), Pasadena Non-Potable Water Project, Phase I, $2,000,000

• City of San Diego (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $4,200,000

• Hi-Desert Water District (California), Hi-Desert District Wastewater Reclamation Project, $4,000,000

• Inland Empire Utilities Agency (California), Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project, $5,199,536

• Padre Dam Municipal Water District (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $3,900,000

• Santa Clara Valley Water District (California), South Santa Clara County Recycled Water Project, $1,680,593

Title XVI Feasibility Studies are for entities that would like to develop new water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies. Thirteen projects will receive $1,791,561. They are:

• City of Ada Public Works Authority (Oklahoma), Reuse Feasibility Study for the City of Ada, Oklahoma, $136,193

• City of Bartlesville (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study to Augment Bartlesville Water Supply with Drought-Resilient Reclaimed Water, $150,000

• City of Garden City (Kansas), Strategic Plan for Reuse Effluent Water Resources in Garden City, Kansas, and Vicinity, $65,368

• City of Quincy (Washington), Quincy 1 Water Resource Management Improvement Feasibility Study for Comprehensive Wastewater Reuse and Water Supply Project, $150,000

• El Paso Water Utilities – Public Services Board (Texas), Aquifer Storage-Recovery with Reclaimed Water to Preserve Hueco Bolson using Enhanced Arroyo Infiltration for Wetlands, and Secondary Reducing Local Power Plant Reclaimed Water Demand, $150,000

• Kitsap County (Washington), Feasibility Study for a comprehensive water reuse project at the Kitsap County Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, $150,000.

• Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, $150,000

• North Alamo Water Supply Corporation (Texas), Feasibility Study of Energy-Efficient Alternatives for Brackish Groundwater Desalination for the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation, $90,000

• Oklahoma Water Resources Board (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study of Potential Impacts of Select Alternative Produced Water Management and Reuse Scenarios, $150,000

• Soquel Creek Water District (California), Pure Water Soquel – Replenishing Mid-County Groundwater with Groundwater with Purified Recycled Water, $150,000

• Valley Center Municipal Water District (California), Lower Moosa Canyon Wastewater Recycling, Reuse, and sub-regional Brine Disposal Project, $150,000

• Washoe County (Nevada), Northern Nevada Indirect Potable Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000

• Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (Utah), Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000

The Title XVI Program will provide funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities. Four projects will receive $847,701. They are:

• City of San Diego (California), Demonstrating Innovative Control of Biological Fouling of Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes and Enhanced Chemical and Energy Efficiency in Potable Water, $300,000

• City of San Diego (California), Site-Specific Analytical Testing of RO Brine Impacts to the Treatment Process, $48,526

• Kansas Water Office (Kansas), Pilot Test Project for Produced Water near Hardtner, Kansas, $199,175

• Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Truinfo Demonstration Project, $300,000

Reclamation provides funding through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation.

Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with new sources of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. In that time, approximately $672 million in federal funding has been leveraged with non-federal funding to implement more than $3.3 billion in water reuse improvements.

To learn more about Title XVI and these awards, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title.


To read the original press release on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s website, click here.

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The Bold History of Earth Day

Source: Marshall University

Did you know that Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement of 1970? 

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as the national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the country. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved rare political and socioeconomic alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Will Earth Day 2017 be just as historic?

For the original post and to learn more, visit: EarthDay.orgBabcock Laboratories‘ mission is to safeguard public health and the environment through a family of employee owners who consistently deliver analytical expertise. To learn about the testing services we provide to live out this mission, click here

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Leading the Way: Babcock Labs Senior Chemist to Present Innovative Method Development on PFCs

Babcock Labs Senior Chemist David Schiessel and the LC/MS/MS

Babcock Labs Senior Chemist David Schiessel and an LC/MS/MS

We are very pleased to announce that our Senior Chemist David Schiessel has had three presentations accepted to the National Environmental Monitoring Conference (NEMC)! Mr. Schiessel will contribute two oral presentations and one poster presentation on his innovative research and method development concerning the analysis of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs—also known as PFAS).

For the past few years Babcock Laboratories has focused on the evaluation of PFCs, including perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), perfluorosulfonates (PFSAs), perfluorosulfonamidoacetic acids (FOSAAs), and fluorotelomersulfonates (FTSs). These analytes have been of interest as of late because PFCs are commonly used as surfactants in industrial, consumer, military, and firefighting applications, such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) firefighting products. PFCs exhibit distinctive chemical characteristics that make them stable in the environment and resistant to degradation, allowing them to bioaccumulate in soil, sediment, groundwater, and animal tissue over time. Given the health risks PFCs pose to the public and environment, it is important that laboratories have the capability to detect these types of analytes even when they are not specifically looking for them. For this reason, Babcock Laboratories’ Senior Chemist David Schiessel has focused his research and development efforts on non-targeted suspect screening strategies using low resolution LC-MS-MS, and will present his data and findings at NEMC.

Mr. Schiessel also co-authored a poster with Scott Krepich and Allen Misa of Phenomenex that will be presented at the conference. The poster is on their collaborative work concerning the evaluation of online SPE sorbents for the analysis of perfluorinated compounds in aqueous matrices. Additionally, Mr. Schiessel has been asked to present on a similar topic at the Thermo Scientific POPs (persistent organic pollutants) Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts next month.

Mr. Schiessel certainly represents the dedication and expertise that our clients have come to expect from the Babcock Labs team and we are very proud of his achievements. Our research and method development efforts allow us to pursue our vision of advancing a legacy of scientific contribution through innovation and laboratory excellence. We cannot wait to listen to his presentations at NEMC in Washington, DC in August!

NEMC is held annually as a part of the Environmental Measurement Symposium—a combined meeting of the NEMC and The NELAC Institute (TNI)’s Forum on Environmental Accreditation. The Symposium is co-sponsored by TNI under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each year hundreds of QA/QC managers, regulatory affairs managers, field sampling management organizations, researchers, and laboratory scientists, analysts, and managers attend this symposium, making it the largest conference in North America focused on environmental measurements. The staff who attend such conferences gain greater knowledge of the various aspects within each of the industries we serve and bring this knowledge back to Babcock Labs so that we can continue to better serve our clients.

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Drinking Water Workshop: Attend the Next DWW at Babcock Labs

DWW_smBabcock Labs will hold its 4th semi-annual Drinking Water Workshop on Thursday, May 18th. To register click here. For more information about what the workshop entails, click here or read below:

It is challenging for any sample technician or operator to take a valid sample without first understanding the “why” and “how” behind the drinking water sample. Proper drinking water sampling requires thorough training, extensive knowledge, appropriate resources, and up-to-date techniques. These elements are vital if an organization wishes to maintain scientific integrity and receive quality, legally defensible data from its laboratory.

Because this information is so valuable to your organization’s endeavor to protect the public health, Babcock Laboratories has created a Drinking Water Workshop tailored to meet the needs of your staff. The workshop includes*:

A Short Course Seminar:

  • Sampling techniques
  • Bottle type and preservation
  • Safety and sample documentation
  • Analytical methods and testing

Interactive Training:

  • Hands-on sampling practice
  • Real-life scenarios
  • Two sample testing stations
  • An analysis observation station

*There will also be a break in-between sessions at which point refreshments and a small snack will be provided.

To ensure that each attendee receives one-on-one time with our trainers, space for this workshop is limited to 30 individuals, with a maximum of 2 individuals per organization.

Both the seminar and training courses will be conducted by laboratory professionals who have years of expertise in drinking water sampling. Each workshop attendee will receive a certificate of completion verifying that they have received proper education and applied training on drinking water sampling.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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