California ELAP Information


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 On-Site Assessment Unit with a group of specialized auditors. The Richmond Field Office houses the Proficiency Testing (PT) Unit responsible for the evaluation of annual PT 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.

Accreditation Process (without Reciprocity)

New Laboratories

For a new laboratory, the accreditation process begins when a laboratory submits a complete application package (including fee) to ELAP. All applications are processed in the order they are received and will be reviewed by technical staff. An auditor will perform an on-site assessment of your laboratory and send you an assessment report within 30 days of their visit detailing the method deviations and/or regulatory violations observed during the assessment. The laboratory has a maximum of 30 days to respond to the letter with a Corrective Action Plan. Internal reviews are performed and, if acceptable, accreditation is issued. This process typically takes 3-6 months given current ELAP resources. Every laboratory is required to participate in annual proficiency testing and pay an annual fee to maintain accreditation. *See Sections 64803(a), 64805, 64806, 64807(a)(b), and 64809 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 4, Chapter 19.

Accredited Laboratories - Renewing Accreditation

A laboratory must reapply for accreditation every other year. For a laboratory renewing their existing certificate, the accreditation process begins when the laboratory submits a complete renewal application package (including fee) to ELAP, due at least 90 days prior to its expiration. The application package will then be reviewed by technical staff. If an on-site assessment is needed, your auditor will send you an assessment report within 30 days of their visit detailing the method deviations and/or regulatory violations observed during the assessment. The laboratory has a maximum of 30 days to respond to the letter with a Corrective Action Plan. Internal reviews are performed and, if acceptable, accreditation is issued. This process typically takes 3-6 months given current ELAP resources. Every laboratory is required to participate in annual proficiency testing and pay an annual fee to maintain accreditation. *See Sections 64803(a) 64806,64807(a)(b), and 64809 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 4, Chapter 19.

Accredited Laboratories - Amending an Existing Accreditation

If a laboratory wishes to amend the scope of its existing accreditation by adding methods or analytes, the accreditation process begins when the laboratory submits a complete amendment application package (including fee) to ELAP. All amendment applications are processed in the order they are received. If an on-site assessment is needed, your auditor will send you an assessment report within 30 days of their visit detailing the method deviations and/or regulatory violations observed during the assessment. The laboratory has a maximum of 30 days to respond to the letter with a Corrective Action Plan. Internal reviews are performed and, if acceptable, accreditation is issued. The length of this process varies according the scope of the amendment and based on ELAP resources. A typical time frame for the amendment application is 2-4 months. The laboratory must perform annual proficiency testing for the amended methods/analytes to maintain accreditation. *See Sections 64803(b)(c)(d),64805, 64806,64807(a)(b), and 64809 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 4, Chapter 19.

Reciprocity Accreditation Process

ELAP grants certification through reciprocity with any accrediting body deemed to have an equally or more stringent program than California. To obtain certification via reciprocity, as part of your complete new, renewal, or amendment application package, submit:
  1. Certificate and Scope of Accreditation from the alternative accrediting body,
  2. Official findings from your most recent on-site assessment,
  3. Corresponding corrective actions.

ELAP technical staff will evaluate your submission and contact you if additional or clarifying information is needed. Internal reviews are performed and certification is issued. This process typically takes 1-3 months based on current ELAP resources. Each laboratory is required to participate in annual proficiency testing and submit those results to California as well as pay an annual fee to maintain certification. *See Section 64821of the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 4, Chapter 19.

Contact Information

Get in Touch
Email: elapca@waterboards.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 323-3431


Christine Sotelo, Program Chief
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
Division of Drinking Water
State Water Resources Control Board
(916) 341-5175
Christine.Sotelo@waterboards.ca.gov

Sacramento Headquarters

Street Address:
Joe Serna Jr. CalEPA Headquarters Building
State Water Resources Control Board
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:
State Water Resources Control Board
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
P.O. Box 100
Sacramento, CA 95812-0100

Glendale Field Office

500 N. Central Avenue, Suite 500
Glendale, CA 91203

Richmond Field Office

850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P, 1st Floor, MS 0511
Richmond, CA 94804