2012 Forum on Environmental Accreditation
January 30 – February 2, 2012
Sarasota, Florida

This summary is based on notes taken at the closing session of the TNI meeting on January 28, 2014.  An appendix provides a list of presentations that are posted on the website.

Accreditation Body Task Force - Judy Duncan

There were some recommendations made at the Bellevue, WA meeting; these were explored and reports made this week. A key finding: a one-size-fits-all approach will not fit for all states. We are looking at a range of solutions. Other findings and current status:

  • TRAINING: TNI to develop assessor training – assigned to TAC.
  • DEVELOP ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT: Tracking proficiency test data. The Lab committee is working on the application form and may look at other tools as well.
  • IMPLEMENT NATIONAL DATABASE – This is well on its way to implementation.
  • ENHANCING THE PROCESS OF NELAP RECOGNIZING ABs and the USE of 3rd PARTY ASSESSORS:  Assigned to the LAB committee. They are working on a list of criteria, and then will look at the role that TNI will play.
  • LAB ASSESSMENTS PERFORMED BY THE DOE or DOD AB: Many people are open to this idea.
  • SURVEILLANCE ASSESSMENTS:  This has a medium/long timeframe – there is not a consensus about this yet. More work to come. Joint LASC and LAB working on issues associated with this.
  • NONGOVERNMENT ACCREDITATION BODIES:  ABTF has developed several subcommittees to work on this.
  • RECOGNITION PROCESS:   Different for 3rd parties? Only minor changes needed to the current process.
  • ACCEPTANCE BY A 3RD PARTY:  AB subcommittee – perceived problems, regulatory, emotional and philosophical, sentimental.
  • NEED FOR STANDARD CHANGE SUBCOMMITTEE: Review of all Standards that have to do with ABs. Need to make sure the definitions for ABs are the same throughout the Standards (except FSMO program).

There doesn’t appear to be any serious showstoppers on the use of 3rd party ABs – just some things to address. Will be figuring out next steps and making a formal report to the BOD. Lots of progress has been made.

Consensus Standards Development Program – Ken Jackson

Met early this afternoon with program reports regarding happenings this week. All good news. Anything that came out of the Board discussion beyond the committee stuff:

Concerns:  AB discussion this morning
Two expert committees are working on Standards (PT Committee, QS Committee). Can we present a time table for when the Standards will be done? Yes, but we do not know when they will be adopted by NELAP. Heard a lot about the rulemaking process – out of their control – and struggling with different time schedules.

Mitzi Miller – PT
Website:  Put in a request today to be updated. Website in general needs to be updated on a more regular basis.

Standards:  Have been meeting every week/every other week in order to get the first two volumes done, including a TIA (this took a couple of meetings to straighten out).  We have more to cover by August.

Volumes 1 and 2 – received favorably – some comments but no showstoppers. Identified one issue that needs to be addressed across 2009 Standard – the definition of AB is different across the different volumes. Will be consistent in future editions.

TIA WET – Suggest moving the PT requirements back to the original 2003 WET requirements which is 1 pt/year. Original also states that they are allowed, for corrective actions, to show in control by standard tox. Good comments recently finished. Will be going through these in the next 1 ½ weeks.  A lot of comments were addressed at this meeting. It won’t take much to finish up.

Ken Jackson – Chemistry
Working on a new Standard on calibration. Prior to this meeting there were 12 – 13 items identified that may or may not belong in the Standard. All were presented for comment. Reached unanimous decision on most of the items. Committee is now armed to go back with these and start writing language for the WDS. Time schedule:  Plan is to have ready for the DC meeting.

Question:  Should they go ahead with a real WDS just for calibration – calibration is not independent of LOD/LOQ? Will present elements be in the WDS, but hold off until done with the LOD/LOQ? 

Silky Labie - Quality Systems:

At the last meeting we working on WDS. In early September the committee voted to elevate that Standard to a VDS – vote was 14 in favor, 2 abstaining (entire committee). It was posted January 11, 2012. Voting ends February 11.

William provided a good updated list of comments. All comments were put before the committee: 2/3 were negative vote, 1/3 positive vote. Addressed all negative comments; are 1/3 of the way through the positive comments. Comments will still be coming in over the next week.  Washington will complete the process and we will start over – negative, positive comments, votes persuasive vs. non-persuasive and present in Washington.

Joe Aiello – Lab Accreditation Body

Approved new charter yesterday.

Talked about generic application. Put together a draft based on applications of various ABs. Still need to figure out how to handle electronically. Haven’t touched the FOA part of the application yet. Working with Dan Hickman on this. Should be a little further along by August.

3rd Party Assessors – if there’s a role, and what TNI’s role would be, in order to help support some of the ABs if they want to use them. Put together a list of criteria of how to evaluate an AB – not perfect – needs more work. Better form by August. Not sure what the vision of TNI/3rd Party Assessors is yet.

Justin Brown – Field Activities Committee

Reviewed SOP for review of training and efficacy materials – hoping to get close to approval but a lot of changes – need to separate the two pieces. 

Policy statement re: PT – talked about that and avenues to pursue for a TIA while waiting for the WDS.  Will carry on into the next conference call.

Working on suggestions to Standard. Lots of good discussion but will continue. Brainstorming tools that the FAC could provide.

Maria Friedman - SSAS

Presented Stationary Source concentration tool – stack testers will use to obtain optimum concentration to order from providers. Guest speaker on Method 25. Big news:  A2LA has accredited ERA as an approved provider. Final rule requires 2 to be approved, but now with one we can move forward.

Remember that changes need to be passed through EPA. Are you providing this information to the stack testing community? There will be an outreach to the stack testers.

NEFAP - Marlene Moore

NEFAP EC – in the process of voting in the first official committee. Bios are due in 2 weeks, then will go to William. Vote of  TNI membership for the NEFAP EC will occur in the first quarter (end of March).

Nomination Committee SOP approved – will be coming through to Policy Committee. Did start working on Evaluation SOP – changes to, proposed during this meeting, good discussion – things to resolve. Due to Policy Committee by end of March.

1 FSMO applied to an AB this week.


Kristin Daigle – LASEC

ABTF item #6 was presented at this meeting. Sharing assessments and assessors. Presentation was that this is a good option, but not used very often. Perceived hindrances, trust, confidences, etc. between AB organizations. Will be working on SOP for process for how we could work out the logistics to share assessments, reports, and assessors.

David Caldwell (for Betsy Kent) – TAC

ABTF #1 Assessors Training – will work with Small Lab Accreditation Group . Working on summarizing some of the training courses and recommendations. Will be by July 31st. Tuesday session – good working session – focused on root cause analysis and how to write deficiencies for assessors. Two attendees interested in providing training.

Mentoring sessions? Stump the AB session? Assessor Forum Training/Refresher training?  Do we want to get a policy together to talk about this – continuous-type training stuff. TAC assignment? TAC not developing training – they are developing a structure so TNI can determine how to do it, i.e. outsource? Webcast? Who/how?  They are prioritizing some of that training as well.

Aaron Alger – NELAP AC

Met this morning. FL evaluation came through this week – we’ll be voting on this later this month. Discussion regarding the use of assessment reports from other non-NELAP ABs. DOD, DOE, and other government ABs that are non-NELAP.
AC decided unanimously that the use of assessment reports from other ABs are [a] good tool.

Shadow assessment – Labs and assessors are interested. Will occur sooner rather than later. How does this tie in to the surveillance assessments?

Discussion regarding the ACIL position paper and how we can work to resolve some issues that the lab community has with us. We will work with ACIL ESS to resolve these issues. The AC is now more vocal in inviting/opening our meetings with specific agenda items to labs and other specific groups, try to bring them into the fold.

Membership – Hoping to get an application from OK.

APHL – Working on a position paper. Concerns that address transferring accreditation from governmental to out of governmental – certain labs would be lost.

Eric Smith – PT Program

Started with PT website for TNI – William gave demonstration. Have future tables not approved but in effect posted on website. Future plans for website:  Distinction between different programs within TNI and tables for different programs.
Went through the Solvent table – partial update (full update scheduled for 2012) and drinking water table update – full update. Full review of NPW due in 2012.

Management SOP in place now. Applications 1 – 2 will be submitted to us in 2012. Some comments made and will make some tweaks in the future.

Need a chair for the PTPA Database subcommittee.

New chair for 2012 – Stacy Metzler will be taking the reins for 2012.

Crypto and protozoa will finalize what they were working on in 2012. New table from WET subcommittee in 2012 as well. NPW and remaining analytes – recommendations – NPW table completed by end of year.

Oversight PT reviews are due this year.

Administration & Support

Judy Duncan - Advocacy

Drafted DOD today – Janice Willey.

Effort to input database of all state accreditations – that database is now in computer accessible form. Making it openly available to everyone – William got this active this afternoon.

Outreach materials updated. Benefits of NELAP documents now available. Will morph that into other formats.

Memorializing some of the documents that have been around in TNI that are basically position papers, but not readily available. These are in process and will be coming back to the Advocacy committee, and then submitted to the BOD for approval for action.

Need to make PPTs available  - developed a draft SOP to allow members to request viewing of current PPTs and suggestion of changes, to be approved by Jerry. Make sure we have a consistency of message that is going out to the public.

Outreach with other groups. Articles in WEF, Lab Solutions; articles being published re: updated TNI, Small lab Handbook, for example.

Jerry Parr – IT/Conference Planning

IT – LAMS:  6 ABs are fully implementing it to the best of their ability. Another 4 that are getting there. CA data input in about a week. Should be updated automatically every night.  All the states are starting to put information in there.

Conference Planning – including assessment forum and mentor session. 4-day meeting. Sessions going on at the same time every day. Denver 3-day meeting like this one.



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