Non-Field Lab Certification

Municipal, Industrial, Commercial and Other Laboratories

Laboratories analyzing samples beyond the scope of Field parameters (Field parameters include total residual chlorine, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, temperature, settleable residue, turbidity, free available chlorine, sulfite, salinity, and VAR Options 5, 6 &12) may apply for certification under one of the following categories:

  • Municipal
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Other 

Initial Application Process

To begin the process, a lab may request an application form by calling (919) 733-3908 or visiting the Forms tab of this site. 

The following must be included with the initial application package:

  1. Application - must be completed in its entirety with applicable signature and date.
  2. Application Fee - An applicant for Initial Certification must submit to the Department of Environmental Quality, Water Sciences Section, a non-refundable fee of three hundred dollars ($300.00) for the evaluation and processing of each application. Do not submit the application fee until you are issued an invoice.
  3. Proficiency Testing (PT) results - acceptable results for proficiency testing samples for each requested parameter (for which a PT is available) must be submitted directly from an approved vendor (additional PT requirements can be found in PT Requirements tab). All testing must have occurred within the six months prior to the date of application.
  4. Quality Assurance Manual(QAM)/Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) - submit one copy of the laboratory's QAM, which must include the established quality control limits (where appropriate to the method) for all requested parameters. The QAM may also contain SOPs for each method that Certification is requested. If not, the laboratory must also submit SOPs for each parameter method requested. The QAM must provide a listing of major equipment used in the analytical testing process.
  5. MDL and IDOC study summaries - Calculated Minimum Detection Limits (MDLs) and Initial Demonstration of Capability (IDOCs) studies for: Analytes by Ion Chromatography, Oil and Grease by EPA 1664, select Organic determinations, Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) and ICP-Mass Spec (ICP-MS) metals, and any other analytes for which the analytical method requires it MUST be submitted, if Certification is requested. MDL studies must be conducted as specified by 40 CFR Part 136, Appendix B. Additional MDL and IDOC study summaries for any analytical category may be requested to evaluate the laboratory's ability to meet the requirements of certification. 

After a complete review of the application package, the auditor assigned to the applicant lab may arrange for the initial on-site inspection of the laboratory's analytical capabilities. The auditor may require evidence of remedial action, for any findings cited during the on-site visit, prior to proceeding with the application process.

Fees Associated with Municipal, Industrial, Commercial and Other Non-Field Laboratories

Once the auditor is satisfied that all requirements have been met, the auditor will send the lab an invoice for the appropriate initial certification fee. The fee schedule established in 15A NCAC 2H .0806 is as follows for Municipal, Industrial, Commercial and Other Non-Field laboratories.


Fee Description Amount
Initial application fee $300.001
Fee Description Cost per Parameter Minimum Total
Initial certification fee2 Municipal Laboratory 5 $85.00 each $2000.00 per year
  Industrial Laboratory 6 $85.00 each $2000.00 per year
  Other Laboratory 7 $85.00 each $2000.00 per year
  In-State Commercial Laboratory8 $85.00 each $6500.00 per year
  Out-of-State Commercial Laboratory8 $85.00 each $9750.00 per year
Annual (renewal) certification fee Municipal Laboratory 5 $85.00 each $1750.00 per year
  Industrial Laboratory 6 $85.00 each $1750.00 per year
  Other Laboratory 7 $85.00 each $1750.00 per year
  In-State Commercial Laboratory8 $85.00 each $3500.00 per year
  Out-of-State Commercial Laboratory8 $85.00 each $9750.00 per year
Late payment of annual fee4 $250.00
Recertification fee $200.00 per decertified parameter method
Travel reimbursement for out-of-state laboratories3 varies per trip
Other expenses include annual and remedial performance testing samples varies per lab and vendor
1 This is an initial, one-time, non-refundable fee for the evaluation and processing of each application.
2 Initial certification fee will be prorated on a quarterly basis to make all certification renewals due on the first day of January.
3 Out-of-state laboratories shall reimburse the state for actual travel and subsistence costs incurred in certification and maintenance of certification. They shall also be assessed for expenses for an on-site inspection based on the hourly rate of the laboratory certification staff, rounded to the nearest hour and inclusive of preparation time, travel time, and inspection time. 
4 Annual certification fees are due 60 days after receipt of invoice.
5 Municipal Laboratory means a laboratory, including its agents or employees, operated by a municipality or other local government to analyze samples, including Field Parameters, from its wastewater or wastewater from its water treatment plant(s).
6 Industrial Laboratory means a laboratory, including its agents or employees, operated by an industry to analyze samples, including Field Parameters, from its wastewater or wastewater from its water treatment plant(s).
7 Other Laboratory means a facility that does not require laboratory certification as part of its routine operation and does not analyze samples for a fee, or is doing business as a non-profit facility.
8 Commercial Laboratory means a laboratory, including its agents or employees, which is seeking to analyze or is analyzing samples , including Field Parameters, for others for a fee.

Initial Certification

Upon receipt of payment, a certificate will be awarded with the NC WW/GW LCB certificate number and a certificate attachment detailing the parameters and methods within the scope of the laboratory's certification. Certification expires each year on December 31.

Certification by Reciprocity

For the North Carolina Wastewater/Groundwater Laboratory Certification Branch, certification by reciprocity eliminates the requirement for an initial on-site inspection of a laboratory prior to awarding initial certification. Once certified, however, laboratories are subject to periodic announced or unannounced inspections during the certification period. A laboratory may obtain certification by reciprocity if:

  • The state of the laboratory's location or other accrediting agency operates a program with standards and test parameters similar to those of the NC WW/GW LCB,
  • The laboratory has a current certificate with the accrediting agency, and
  • The laboratory has had an on-site inspection by the accrediting agency.  

For reciprocal certification, the following must be submitted in addition to the items listed above under the Initial Application Process section:

  1. A copy of the current certificate including the date of expiration,
  2. A list of accredited Fields of Testing, and
  3. The latest on-site inspection report and associated corrective action responses. 

Reciprocity is not guaranteed. In some cases, submitted documentation may be insufficient to grant certification and an on-site inspection will be performed.

NOTE: The NC WW/GW LCB is not a National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) Accrediting Authority and does not recognize NELAP accreditation issued by other state or federal agencies in lieu of certification under North Carolina Administrative Code 15A NCAC 2H .0800.

Maintenance of Certification

During subsequent years, laboratories must obtain acceptable results on PT samples for each parameter on their certificate. The graded results must be received in this office on or before September 30. Each laboratory is also subject to announced or unannounced inspections and must send a written corrective actions response to inspection reports within the time allotted. Anytime there is a change in laboratory name, address, location, ownership, management (supervisor or manager), telephone number, methodology, reporting limits or major equipment, the laboratory shall notify this office in writing or by submitting an amendment to certification application within 30 days of the effective date of change.

Renewal of Existing Non-Field Lab Certification

Approximately July 1 of each year, the NC WW/GW LC program will send the lab a notice of renewal letter and an invoice for the following year's certification fees. Annual fees must be paid within 60 days of receipt of the invoice.

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