Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP)
CA State Program


The California Environmental Laboratory Improvement Act (Department-sponsored Assembly Bill 3739, Chapter 894, Statutes of 1988) took effect on January 1, 1989. It established within the Department of Health Services (which became the Department of Public Health, DPH) 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, such as the Division of Drinking Water (DDW), The Department of Toxic Substances Control, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The data may be used to demonstrate compliance with applicable 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), in DDW following its transfer from DPH in 2014, is responsible for implementing the Act.

Accreditation Process

A laboratory seeking accreditation must submit a completed application form, a quality assurance manual, and appropriate fees. The fee schedule (Excel) is based on the number of fields of testing (FOT) applied for, and due at the time of application and annually thereafter. The base fee is $1,512.00 and the FOT fee is $681.00 for each FOT. A site visit is then conducted by the ELAP technical staff. The laboratory must take corrective actions for the deficiencies found. The laboratory is also required to participate successfully in performance evaluation (PE) studies. The PE samples must be successfully analyzed prior to the granting of certification and annually thereafter for all applicable test parameters for which PE samples are available. A certificate is issued for a period of two years based upon completion of the application process, verification of the quality assurance program, successful completion of the site visit, and acceptable analytical performance on the appropriate PE samples.

A laboratory desiring to add one or more subgroups within a FOT to its current certificate must submit a completed amendment application form with appropriate fees. A site visit and PES evaluation follow as described above. The application forms for certification and for amendment, and instructions for completing the forms can be obtained from the ELAP web site.

ELAP also conducts investigations and takes enforcement actions as warranted. Further, ELAP provides technical consultations and regulatory updates to the environmental laboratory community. ELAP also provides information on certified laboratories to government agencies and the general public.

Fields of Testing

The laboratories are certified in one or more of the following FOTs:

  • E101 - Microbiology of Drinking Water
  • E102 - Inorganic Chemistry of Drinking Water
  • E103 - Toxic Chemical Elements of Drinking Water
  • E104 - Volatile Organic Chemistry of Drinking Water
  • E105 - Semi-volatile Organic Chemistry of Drinking Water
  • E106 - Radiochemistry of Drinking Water
  • E107 - Microbiology of Wastewater
  • E108 - Inorganic Chemistry of Wastewater
  • E109 - Toxic Chemical Elements of Wastewater
  • E110 - Volatile Organic Chemistry of Wastewater
  • E111 - Semi-volatile Organic Chemistry of Wastewater
  • E112 - Radiochemistry of Wastewater
  • E113 - Whole Effluent Toxicity of Wastewater
  • E114 - Inorganic Chemistry & Toxic Chemical Elements of Hazardous Waste
  • E115 - Extraction Test of Hazardous Waste
  • E116 - Volatile Organic Chemistry of Hazardous Waste
  • E117 - Semi-volatile Organic Chemistry of Hazardous Waste
  • E118 - Radiochemistry of Hazardous Waste
  • E119 - Toxicity Bioassay of Hazardous Waste
  • E120 - Physical Properties of Hazardous Waste
  • E121 - Bulk Asbestos Analysis of Hazardous Waste
  • E122 - Microbiology of Food (under development)
  • E123 - Inorganic Chemistry and Toxic Chemical Elements of Pesticide Residues in Food (under development)
  • E124 - Organic Chemistry of Pesticide Residues in Food (measurements by MS techniques)
  • E125 - Organic Chemistry of Pesticide Residues in Food (excluding measurements by MS techniques)
  • E126 - Microbiology of Recreational Water
  • E127 - Shellfish Sanitation
  • E128 - Air Quality Monitoring (under development)
  • E129 - Parasites in Potable Water

More information on FOTs is available here.


Reciprocity allows ELAP to recognize accreditation of environmental laboratories granted by other states or U.S. government agencies. This process of accreditation through reciprocity saves considerable resources and still meets the needs of the program. ELAP has reciprocity agreements of varying scope with the following states:

  • Washington State Departments of Ecology and of Health: Drinking Water, Wastewater, Hazardous Waste, Bioassay/Toxicity
  • Nevada Department of Human Resources: Drinking Water