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OQA Bulletin Board
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March 4, 2021: Renewal Applications:: The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) renewal applications have been mailed. Laboratories must follow the instructions included in the application package when reviewing and completing the renewal application. Renewal applications must be returned to the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) at the address noted on the Part I of the application no later than April 1, 2021, with the applicable fee payment mailed to Treasury at the address noted on the invoice. Due to the continuing work from home situation, NO CHECKS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE OQA FOR RENEWALS as it will delay the processing of payment and therefore delay the processing of your application. Instructions for submitting the application, along with the required forms for any changes, can be found on our website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/labcert.html
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February 22, 2021: Changes to Part III: : In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the list of updates to the Part III link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from March 1, 2020 to date. Part III Changes

June 9, 2020: Laboratory Certification Requirements During Emergencies:: In the event of an emergency, certified laboratories may face unforeseen challenges and limitations. The document found at https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/OQA%20BMP%206-9-20.pdf addresses identified concerns certified laboratories may face during a crisis. It is essential to remind all New Jersey certified laboratories, which may fall under these provisions, of the obligation to adhere to all current regulatory standards, timelines, operating practices and processes until such time they can no longer support those functions.   If laboratories, due to emergency conditions, cannot meet the regulatory requirements, they shall follow the guidance contained within the document. Documentation of any deviations from current regulatory standards, timelines, operating practices and processes shall be retained and shall adequately address the reason for the deviation.

June 01, 2020: Amendments to the SDWA and PWTA Rules Effective 06/01/2020 : The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has adopted amendments to the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act rules and the Private Well Testing Act rules that became effective on June 1, 2020.  The rule changes include the establishment of two new Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) of 0.014 micrograms per liter (μg/l) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 0.013 μg/l for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and require all public community and nontransient noncommunity water systems to begin monitoring in 2021. The changes to the PWTA rules include testing for PFOA, PFOS, and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) Statewide that takes effect December 1, 2021.

A courtesy copy of the rule adoption is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules. Monitoring schedules will be available later this year through the Division of Water Supply and Geoscience's Drinking Water Watch Application https://www9.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public/index.jsp.

For more information visit the Division of Water Supply and Geoscience website at https://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/. If you have any questions, please contact the Bureau of Water System Engineering via email at watersupply@dep.nj.gov.
  
Laboratories wishing to obtain certification for any of the newly regulated parameters must submit an application request to the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA).  The application along with instructions for submitting the application, and the list of required documentation and applicable fees, may be found on the OQA website at https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/labcert.html.  Any questions regarding the procedure for obtaining certification can be directed to the OQA at (609) 292-3950.

Important PWTA reporting notification:  The PWTA E2-DWR database will undergo enhancements prior to December 1, 2021 to allow for the submission of the new reporting requirements (PFOA, PFOS and PFNA). Laboratories will be notified by the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water when enhancements have been completed.  In the meantime, laboratories should report using the existing spreadsheet provided in PWTA E-DWR. Additional directions will be forthcoming.

March 16, 2020: Notification Request:   Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19 the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) would like to request that laboratories notify us if temporary laboratory closures occur. While there are currently no issues with laboratory capacity, in preparation of any pending closures, the OQA asks that any laboratory that anticipates implementing a closure notify the OQA within 48 hours prior to any closure. This will allow the OQA to more easily monitor laboratory capacity for regulatory testing. Notification of pending laboratory closures can be sent directly to the OQAs email address at OQA@dep.nj.gov.

In addition, if you are a regulated entity that is required to collect and monitor samples for compliance with a DEP program it is your responsibility to collect the required samples in accordance with DEP rules. Any regulated entity should contact their applicable DEP program directly for guidance if there are any issues or concerns with sample collection and monitoring.

Contact information for the following Department Programs may assist you with DEP program notifications:

Bureau of Safe Drinking Water: watersupply@dep.nj.gov or 609-292-5550

Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control: dwq_bnpc@dep.nj.gov

Bureau of Surface Water Permitting: dwq_bswp@dep.nj.gov

Bureau of Pretreatment and Residuals:
dwq_pretreatment@dep.nj.gov
dwq_residuals@dep.nj.gov
dwq_pas@dep.nj.gov


February 27, 2020: Changes to Part III
In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the list of updates to the Part III link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from September 1, 2019 to date. Updates to Part III

 


December 23, 2019: Clarification of Requirements for Field Reagent Blanks for Trihalomethane Analysis: 
In accordance with the January 3, 2008 USEPA Memo to all Regional Drinking Water Certification Officers from the Technical Support Center of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, the collection and analysis of a Field Reagent Blank (FRB) is not required when performing only total Trihalomethane (TTHMs) analysis, using EPA Methods 502.2, 524.2, 524.3, 524.4 and 551.1. 

Since total THM analysis would be expected to be present in nearly all disinfected drinking water samples, an FRB is not required to accompany a THM only sample set and is not required to be analyzed when reporting positive results for total THM analysis. This exclusion only applies to the analysis of THMs.

FRBs are still required to be collected for all other analytes in the methods listed above and analysis is required when positive results are observed for all other analytes in the methods listed above.


November 1, 2019: NJDEP Implementation of the 2016 TNI Laboratory Accreditation Standards:  As stated in the Important Notice the Office of Quality Assurance sent with your Fiscal Year 2020 renewal packet; The NELAC Institute’s (TNI) National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) has announced the 2016 environmental laboratory standard will become effective January 31, 2020.  In support of accreditation to the 2016 Standard, all NELAP laboratories must purchase the full 2016 TNI Standard in order to reference and implement all applicable requirements. All NJDEP NELAP laboratories must revise all Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and update Quality Manuals and any related documents at the laboratory to comply with the 2016 TNI Standards. New Jersey Primary NELAP laboratories will be required to have fully implemented the 2016 TNI Standard on or before February 1, 2020 and New Jersey will begin to perform assessments using the 2016 TNI Standard as of that date.  Laboratories will be required to submit confirmation to the OQA that the 2016 TNI Standards, that include the ICO/IEC language, have been obtained prior to scheduling the on-site audit.  If a copy of the 2016 TNI Standard is not obtained within enough time to prepare for the January 31, 2020 implementation date, your on-site assessment may be delayed and cause your laboratory to be out of compliance.
Each NELAP Accreditation Body (AB) will continue to recognize the accreditations of all other NELAP ABs, and secondary accreditations will continue as usual, regardless of which standard is in use by a laboratory’s AB, and without any additional proficiency testing, quality assurance, or on-site assessment requirements.

May 7, 2019: Data Quality Objectives: It has come to the NJDEP’s attention that, in some instances, laboratories are not meeting departmental and/or program specific reporting requirements.  This notice is a reminder that certified laboratories need to meet the monitoring and reporting requirements for the project they’re conducting testing.  For example, if a project requires monitoring down to a standard listed in the Ground Water Quality Standards (GWQS) as required by the Site Remediation and Waste Management Program (SRWMP) or some other program specific required reporting limit, then there must be sufficient analytical sensitivity to meet that limit.  The intended data quality needs, the program that will be using the data and how the data will be used should be communicated between the client and the laboratory prior to the start of testing.  Additionally, the laboratories and their clients must maintain open lines of communication as to the selection of the appropriate analytical method.  It must be recognized that there could be instances where, due to excessive contamination present at a site, the most sensitive analytical method is not necessary.  However, the most sensitive analytical method frequently is required.  As an example, for the analysis conducted to demonstrate 1,4-dioxane is below its standard as noted in the GWQS rule, the laboratory must achieve a reporting limit of 0.4µg/L and that failure to achieve and report data to that limit could result in the rejection of the data and could require reanalysis.  Laboratories are frequently required to analyze a low-level standard at or below an applicable standard (and in the above example, at or below 0.4 ug/L) to demonstrate that they can analytically “see” down to that level. This requirement is an essential quality control objective.  It is the laboratory’s client that is ultimately responsible for determining the usability of data after their analysis and validation of that which has been submitted to them by their laboratory.  If the data does not meet the data quality requirements necessary, then that data may be invalidated by the program and reanalysis may be required resulting in additional delays for the client as well as additional expense both to the client and the laboratory. 

 

February 27, 2019: Changes to Part III: In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the list of updates to the Part III link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from October 1, 2018 to date.

 

https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/Part III Changes since 10-1-18.pdf

 

October 23, 2018: Changes to Part III: In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the list of updates to the Part III link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from July 1, 2018 to date.

https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/Part III Changes since 8-1-18.pdf

Please note that the category codes for Perchlorate by IC/MS and LC/MS have been moved to the organic MS section of the Part III for all matrices. The perchlorate changes only relate to changes in parameter codes and do not affect the laboratories certification or the original date that the certification was obtained. The OQA will not be automatically issuing new ACPLs for these changes. Any laboratories certified for Perchlorate by these technologies that would like a new ACPL showing the new Perchlorate codes may contact the OQA for an updated signed copy. If you have any questions please let us know.


September 7, 2018: Field Reagent Blank (FRB) and/or Trip Blanks: It was brought to the OQAs attention that field reagent blanks and/or trip blanks may not always be prepared and/or analyzed in accordance with method and NJDEP requirements. Please review the reminder listserv issued on September 7, 2018. The OQA suggests facilities and/or laboratories confirm any specifics related to field reagent blanks and/or trip blanks with the NJDEP program for which the analytical testing is being conducted to ensure compliance with program requirements.

 

DEP Adoption of New Drinking Water MCLs and PWTA Monitoring Requirements Adoption Date September 4,2018:The Department of Environmental Protection has adopted amendments to the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act rules and the Private Well Testing Act rules that became effective September 4, 2018. The rule changes include the establishment of two new Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) of 0.013 micrograms per liter (g/l) for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and 0.030 g/l for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), and new monitoring requirements for public community and non-transient non-community water systems. In addition, non-transient non-community water systems will be required to monitor for radionuclides (gross alpha, uranium, and radium), and comply with existing Federal MCLs for radionuclides. The changes to the PWTA rules include testing for 1,2,3-TCP Statewide that takes effect March 3, 2019, uranium testing has been added for the northern counties and takes effect September 4, 2018, and expanded testing for gross alpha and arsenic that takes effect September 4, 2018. A courtesy copy of the rule adoption is available at https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules.

Monitoring schedules will be available later this year through the Division of Water Supply and Geoscience's Drinking Water Watch Application https://www9.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public/index.jsp.

The Division of Water Supply and Geoscience will be holding a Laboratory Roundtable in early November that will include discussion on the new rule and an opportunity for questions. Information will be emailed to all certified laboratories and made available on the Division website at https://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply.

For more information please click on the following links for a summary of rule changes, and a copy of the letters sent to all community and non-transient non-community water systems.

https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/CWSNewMCLRuleOutreachLetter9-4-2018.pdf

https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/NTNCOutreachletter.pdf

https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/RuleSummaryCertifiedLabs9-4-2018.pdf

If you have any questions email watersupply@dep.nj.gov or contact the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water at (609) 292-5550.

Laboratories wishing to obtain certification for any of the newly regulated parameters must submit an application request to the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA). The application along with instructions for submitting the application, and the list of required documentation and applicable fees, may be found on the OQA website at https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/labcert.html. Any questions regarding the procedure for obtaining certification can be directed to the OQA at (609) 292-3950.

Important PWTA reporting notification
: The PWTA E2-DWR database is currently undergoing enhancements to allow for the submission of the new reporting requirements (expanded monitoring for gross alpha, uranium, and arsenic). Laboratories will be notified by the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water when enhancements have been completed. In the meantime, laboratories should report using the existing spreadsheet provided in PWTA E-DWR. Additional directions will be forthcoming.


FY2019 Renewal: Changes to Part III:
In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from September 30, 2016 to date.


Information Required to be Supplied When Requesting Initial Certification: In order for the Office of Quality Assurance to streamline the certification process for granting initial certification, effective October 1, 2017, any laboratories requesting a modification for addition of analytes to their current scope must submit a complete application for initial certification in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:18-2.5. This process will apply to all initial certification requests, including requests made with the annual renewal application. The application must include at a minimum the following documentation in order to be considered complete:
  • 1.) Application: A completed Part I and Part III of the application package. Only the applicable pages of the Part III shall be submitted. A Part II must be submitted if any new categories are being added to the laboratory’s Annual Certified Parameter List (ACPL). *
  • 2.) All associated fees, including the $400 modification fee and any associated category fees for new categories not currently listed on the laboratory’s ACPL.** The modification fee is waived if the request is submitted as part of the renewal application.
  • 3.) A draft SOP for the new parameter(s)/method(s).
  • 4.) MDL(s) (if applicable).
  • 5.) Precision and Accuracy (P/A) study or Demonstration of Capability (DOC) and the associated raw data.
  • 6.) Proficiency Test (PT) provider name and study number(s) used.
  • 7.) PT raw data package.

  • *If a Part II is being submitted all required educational, employment and training information; and documentary evidence in support of education, training and experience (transcripts, training course certificates, resumes, etc.) must be included.

  • **If a laboratory is applying for a user defined method a review fee of $600 may be required before the OQA can review the data package.
If any of the above documentation is not submitted the application will be considered incomplete and the laboratory will be notified of any discrepancies. The package will be placed on hold or returned to the laboratory until all the required documentation is received. Once all the required information is received the laboratory will be placed in Applied status and an auditor will be assigned. The items noted above are the minimum items that are required to be submitted in order to start the initial application process. Additional documentation and/or an on-site audit may be necessary to obtain certification. The laboratory will be notified by the auditor if any additional information or an on-site audit is required. All complete applications are processed in the order in which they are received. The submittal of an incomplete package will delay the processing of your application and the request will not be placed in the que for review until a complete application is received.

The documentation noted above will not routinely be required for laboratory’s that hold NJ-NELAP secondary accreditation. However, if a modified method is being requested for secondary accreditation, or if a modified method is listed on your primary Accreditation Body’s scope, the above documentation shall be submitted in order to verify the modifications made are acceptable for the analysis of New Jersey samples.

The OQA may request additional information in support of certification at any time.

FY2018 Renewal: Changes to Part III: In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the https://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/docs/partIIIchangesforbb.pdf link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from September 30, 2016 to date.

September 29, 2016: Changes to Part III
In response to new technologies, newly regulated parameters and to provide pathways for laboratory certification that meet the needs of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) has updated the laboratory certification methods/parameters/techniques it offers for certification. View the list of updates to the Part III link to see all of the changes to the OQAs Part III from February 26, 2016 to date.

Revisions to New Jersey 48 Hour Rapid Gross Alpha Testing
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has made revisions to the New Jersey 48 Hour Rapid Gross Alpha method, ECLS-R-GA, Rev. 8.  All drinking water laboratories were notified by a letter dated September 26, 2014.  Revised MEMO of September 26, 2014View a copy of the method, ECLS-R-GA, Rev. 8.   

Laboratories are required to implement the changes as soon as possible and no later than January 1, 2015.  Laboratories shall forward to the OQA a revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and data generated using the revised criteria as outlined in the letter.  Upon receipt of acceptable documentation, the OQA will issue an updated Annual Certified Parameter List (ACPL) for the laboratory that includes the method and revision number.  After January 1, 2015, the Department will not accept data from laboratories that did not implement the revisions and did not obtain an updated ACPL form the Department.

Site Remediation Program (SRP) Projects: Conduct the analysis and appropriately qualify all results:

  • The laboratory should contact their client (person responsible for conducting the remediation and/or the licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) overseeing the remediation) and inform them of the situation. The LSRP, using their professional judgment based on their knowledge of the remedial activities being conducted and site conditions, should make the determination whether or not to proceed with the analysis of the impacted samples. From the SRP perspective, exceedance of storage temperature is not an automatic rejection of sample results.
  • If it is determined to proceed with sample analysis, the laboratory needs to note the situation in the laboratory non-conformance summary section of the data deliverable package.
  • The LSRP, when submitting the remedial phase report associated with the impacted data, needs to note the situation with an explanation of data usability.

New Jersey National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NJ-NPDES) or for meeting permit requirement for Sludge Quality Assurance (SQAR): Do not conduct the analysis.  Permitted facilities will move forward to collect and meet all requirements for the month of November 2012:

  • The Monitoring Report Form (MRF) Manual was prepared to give direction for Reporting Invalid Test Results.  Although not every example of ‘invalid’ sample issues was mentioned in the manual, NJDEP has expanded on this topic in training sessions and phone inquiries over the years.
  • If a permittee calls the NJDEP and knows prior to having the laboratory conduct the analysis that the samples are invalid, they should be instructed to not waste resources for analyzing these samples.  Also, if sample analysis was underway prior to the storm (i.e. BOD samples set up on Day 1 with a loss of power on Days 2), results may be reported by the testing laboratory but must be appropriately qualified. Results reported with appropriate data qualifiers cannot be used to demonstrate compliance with any NJPDES or SQAR regulatory requirements.
  • The permittees should report CODE=E if all of the samples for that parameter for the month/monitoring period were in this situation as directed in the MRF Manual.
  • If only some of the samples for the month/monitoring period were in this situation, the permittee should only report on the MRF valid data for the month/monitoring period.  The number of samples actually tested is to be noted on the MRF (i.e. 3/month instead of the required 4/month).
  • The permittee must explain the situation on the MRF submittal form (or cover letter if necessary).  This explanation must include information regarding proof of power outage – such as HOTLINE notification, etc.  The MRF Manual can be found at the following link: www.nj.gov/dep/dwq/pdf/MRF_Manual.pdf

Guidance Documents
December 2011: Certification of Low Flow Parameters Guidance Document
View letter and guidance document

May 2011: Important Notice Regarding Application Process Policy
View more information

02/26/2007: pH Monitoring - A generic Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for pH Monitoring(PDF) has been developed by the OQA. The document provides an outline for businesses to follow when preparing an SOP to become certified.

08/28/2003: Continuous pH Monitoring – A generic Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Continuous pH Monitoring(PDF) has been developed by the OQA. Please see this link for direct and indirect calibration procedures(PDF).

 
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