What is VELAP?
The General Assembly directed the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) to establish a program to certify or accredit environmental laboratories that perform tests, analyses, measurements, or monitoring required pursuant to the Commonwealth's air, waste, and water laws and regulations.
The Virginia Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (VELAP) regulations became effective on January 1, 2009. Environmental laboratories are divided into two groups as defined by the regulations and separate chapters were promulgated as follows:
- 1 VAC 30, Chapter 45: Certification for Noncommercial Environmental Laboratories.
(Performs environmental analysis only for its owner, or in specific other cases defined in the regulation.)
- 1 VAC 30, Chapter 46: Accreditation for Commercial Environmental Laboratories.
(Performs environmental analysis for another person.)
As of January 1, 2012, environmental laboratories must become certified or accredited by DCLS before any analyses can be used for the purposes of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Law, the Virginia Waste Management Act, or the State Water Control Law. Facilities providing DEQ with environmental laboratory data to satisfy permit and/or regulatory requirements must ensure their environmental laboratories (commercial or noncommercial) have been accredited or certified by DCLS, or secure the services of an environmental laboratory that has done so.
To summarize, VELAP requires environmental laboratories to be approved by DCLS and requires facilities in Virginia that are regulated by DEQ to use them.
How does an environmental laboratory become certified or accredited, and which have already done so?
To be certified or accredited, commercial environmental laboratories must meet the requirements of the 2003 National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) standards. Noncommercial environmental laboratories must meet a limited version of these standards.
- Applications for accreditation for commercial environmental laboratories were due by July 1, 2009.
- Applications for certification for non-commercial environmental laboratories were due by Sept. 29, 2009.
The Virginia DCLS administers the certification/accreditation program and also conducts inspections as necessary for environmental laboratories. DCLS is recognized by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) as a primary accrediting authority and may grant reciprocal accreditation to an environmental laboratory that holds a current accreditation from another NELAP-recognized primary accrediting authority.
More information on environmental laboratory certification/accreditation as well as list of VELAP certified/accredited environmental laboratories is maintained on the DCLS website.
How is DEQ involved?
Because VELAP requirements directly affect many of the programs and sources regulated by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), each of DEQ’s media divisions (Air, Land, and Water) have issued guidance memoranda to describe how DCLS’s VELAP requirements will be implemented.
DEQ will work to maintain current copies of the memoranda and any related information and documentation accessible from this page to continue assisting Virginia Businesses and Residents.