Application and Accreditation

  • How do I apply for accreditation?
    Visit our Application webpage for instructions on submitting New, Renewal, Reciprocity, and Amendment applications.

  • What is in a “complete application package”?
    A complete package includes:
    1. Signed ELAP 001 Application Form (PDF file)
    2. Signed Fields of Testing Forms (PDF file)
    3. Sign and Dated Quality Assurance Manual (PDF file)
    4. Acceptable Proficiency Testing Results for every requested subgroup (Include PDFs with your submission. New laboratories have six months from the date of application to submit acceptable results to ELAP)
    5. Field of Testing Worksheets (Excel files)
    6. If applying for accreditation via reciprocity, include:
      1. Primary Accrediting Body's Certificate and Scope of Accreditation
      2. Official On-Site Assessment Report
      3. Corresponding Corrective Actions
    7. Toxicity Laboratories:
      1. Current control charts for standard reference toxicant tests with each species and test endpoint requested in your application. For methods with multiple endpoints (survival, reproduction, etc.) control charts must be plotted for each endpoint.
      2. New or updated Standard Operating Procedures for bioassay methods.

    A complete application must be received by ELAP or it will be returned to the sender.

  • When is my application package due?
    At least 90 days prior to the expiration of your certificate. A complete application must be received by ELAP or it will be returned to the sender.

  • What happens if my complete application package is not received 90 days prior to the expiration of my certificate?
    If the application was submitted after the due date, it may result in expiration of the certificate by force of law. At that time the laboratory will no longer be ELAP-accredited. Accreditation may be reinstated when/if ELAP approves the laboratory's application, but there will be a lapse in the accreditation dates.

  • Should I submit my application package earlier than the due date?
    It is beneficial to submit your application package as soon as possible to allow ELAP adequate time to evaluate and perform an on-site assessment, if necessary.

  • Will I receive confirmation that my application package was received?
    Yes. You will receive email confirmation from ELAPCA that we have received your submission. The email will either notify you that we are returning your application because it is incomplete or inform you that you will be contacted after review of your application package.

  • How often do I need to reapply?
    Laboratories seeking to renew certification by the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) must submit a complete application for certification no later than 90 days prior to the expiration of their current certificate. It is the responsibility of the laboratory to know and understand the regulations related to their certification, including that related to application submission requirements.

    ELAP is not obligated to notify a laboratory that its certification will be expiring or has lapsed. Any notice sent by ELAP is a courtesy on behalf of the program and should not be the only mechanism a laboratory has in place to prompt the submission of a renewal application.

    Failure to submit an application for renewal at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the certificate shall result in expiration of the certificate on the stated expiration date. (California Code of Regulations, Section 64805(d); Health and Safety Code section 100845).

  • I want to add to my current scope. What is the process?
    Submit an amendment application (including fee) for the new subgroups. Follow the directions listed here.

  • What if I want to add to my scope and also have another Accrediting Body’s certificate for that method?
    Submit an amendment application following instructions here. Include with your application:
    1. Official Certificate and Scope of Accreditation
    2. Official On-Site Assessment Report and Findings
    3. Applicable Corrective Action Plans

    ELAP will not use another body's certificate to issue a new or amended certificate unless the accrediting body has acceptable reciprocity conditions with ELAP.

  • My lab is accredited by another accrediting body. Will ELAP accept this as basis for California accreditation?
    The laboratory is eligible for accreditation via reciprocity if the primary accrediting body's accreditation was granted on conditions at least as stringent as California's requirements. Submit a reciprocity application by following instructions here.

  • I believe there is a mistake on my certificate. How can I have it corrected?
    Submit an Accreditation Inquiry Form to elapca@waterboards.ca.gov and we will work to investigate the issue.

  • What is the best way to contact CA ELAP?
    Send an email to elapca@waterboards.ca.gov. You can also call (916) 323-3431, but email is preferred and will usually receive the most expedient response.


On-Site Assessment

  • When will my on-site assessment take place?
    On-site assessment dates are determined by the auditor once they have contacted you. ELAP makes every effort to work with labs on scheduling issues, but ultimately has the final decision as to when the assessment will take place.

  • What documents should I prepare in advance of my on-site assessment?
    Quality Assurance Manual, Standard Operating Procedures, Calibration logs, Certificates of Analysis, Method Detection Limit studies, Proficiency Testing data, and any available internal audit reports. Please have these available for the time since your last application was submitted (typically two years).

  • Does ELAP do unannounced inspections?
    Yes. California Health and Safety Code statutes provide enforcement authority to ELAP. ELAP can perform unannounced inspections, document inspections with photography, issue citations for noncompliance with regulations, suspend or revoke a laboratory’s certificate, obtain an injunction against laboratories performing work they are not certified to do, and refer laboratories to the appropriate prosecutorial agency for civil infractions or criminal behavior.

  • What is the Corrective Action process?
    Within 30 days of your site visit, your auditor will send you an On-Site Assessment Report detailing their findings. You must respond to the report, and the auditor must accept your reply. Once this has happened, an accreditation decision will be made and official documents issued

  • Will I be getting a letter listing the findings of the On-Site Assessment?
    Yes. Your auditor will send you an On-Site Assessment Report within 30 days of your assessment. You will have 30 days maximum to respond with a Corrective Action Plan to address the findings. Depending on the nature of the findings from your laboratory, your auditor may request a shorter response time.

  • Can we buy our auditor lunch?
    No. ELAP Staff cannot accept any gifts, including meals. If you buy a meal for a group, your auditor can join if he/she reimburses you for the cost.
  • When will I get my certificate?
    Your certificate will arrive after you have completed the Corrective Action process following your site visit.