To ensure the quality of your test results, ETR Laboratories maintains rigorous testing and administrative procedures that begin as soon as your samples arrive at our facility and remain in place through the completion of your report.

Our proprietary database begins to monitor your sample as soon as it is logged into our lab. At this first step, the package containing your samples is opened and the samples are examined.

Our database generates a lab worksheet that will accompany your samples all the way through the testing process. Each sample bottle or vial gets its own identifying label at the logging step.

Your Samples Arrive in the Lab

Once checked, recorded and labeled, your samples are then placed on a cart that is moved into the lab.

The first stage of testing is bacteria, if this test has been specified by our customer. We begin the testing process to detect and /or identify bacteria present in the sample.

Appropriate samples then move to the Wet Bench, a section of our lab where the use of liquid or potentially hazardous chemicals is controlled. At this point, we may treat your sample with a reagent to ensure that appropriate tests can be performed accurately.

Small tubes of your sample are then delivered to the correct departments for the tests you have requested; for example, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, or radon.

Recording and Verifying Test Results

As each test is completed, results are added to the database record associated with your order. Some results are exported directly to the database by our test equipment.

From there, we begin a series of quality control checks before your final report is prepared.

  • First quality control check. Each department runs a quality control check on their test results before they leave the department. From here, the tests are forward to the Lab Manager.
  • Second quality control check. The Lab Manager runs a second quality control check on the results and gives them a pass.
  • Retesting to ensure accuracy. If there is any question about the accuracy of the test, the Lab Manager may request that the test be run a second time. If deemed necessary to ensure the accuracy of the results, a third test may be requested. These additional tests are completed at no additional charge for the customer because they are part of our internal quality control process.
  • Third quality control check. When satisfied with the results, the Lab Manager sends the results to the Report Writer who again checks the information for transcription errors or any anomalies in the results themselves. The Report Writer can, if needed, refer the tests to senior staff at ETR Laboratories for correction.

Once all results have been verified, the Report Writer compiles the final report that includes all test results. The report is then emailed to the client.

Our Testing Equipment

ETR Laboratories constantly invests in new testing equipment to ensure we can consistently provide state-of-the-art testing. Every instrument receives daily calibration before any tests are run to ensure its accuracy.

Our equipment will alert us during our daily operations if there are any settings at variance from proper calibration standards, even in the middle of a testing run. If this happens, we stop the run, recalibrate the equipment, and begin the run again.

All equipment calibration and maintenance is recorded into logbooks. Every process in our lab is fully documented and defendable, as required to comply with ISO 17025, the rigorous standard set for testing laboratories by ISO, the international standards organization.

As a lab that has met the stringent international requirements of ISO, we maintain more precise procedures and more sophisticated testing equipment than most regional or state laboratories.

Our laboratory equipment includes:

  • Inductively coupled plasma spectrometers analyze the quantity and characteristics of metals in a sample, detecting analytes such as arsenic and lead.
  • A turbidimeter enables us to analyze the intensity of light scattered by a sample or “cloudiness” (sample turbidity), as well as color of the sample. These qualities are important factors in evaluating overall sample cleanliness.
  • Electrodes are used to accurately detect and quantify certain contaminants in a sample (e.g. ammonia, nitrate, fluoride).
  • A spectrophotometer identifies and determines the concentrations of impurities in a sample. Spectrophotometers can be used to evaluate a number of analytes including, but not limited to, chlorine, nitrite, and chemical oxygen demand.
  • pH meters measure the pH of a water supply which is an indicator of how neutral the water is (too acidic or basic waters are not recommended for drinking).
  • Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is a process of separating molecules by size and electrical charge using a CE system, which enables us to identify contaminants such as chloride, sulfate and nitrate.
  • Conductivity meters measure dissolved chemicals and minerals in water (conductivity). Conductivity is an indicator of how much electric current is present in the water.
  • A liquid scintillator converts radioactive energy into flashes of light so we have the ability to evaluate water and air for radon contamination.
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) enables us to analyze properties of a water sample at a molecular level. We can use this for an identification and qualification of chemicals and microbes in a water supply.
  • With scanning electron microscopes (SEM), we can identify parasites, algae, iron bacteria, and other contaminants and pollutants that would be causes of concern for clients.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are typically disinfectant byproducts, industrial solvents, and other chemicals that may be found in groundwater. Gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) equipment enable us to identify and quantify these potentially harmful pollutants.
  • A measurement of total organic carbon (TOC) provides information on the quantity of organic compounds dissolved or suspended in water. This is an important index of plant or animal infiltration of a water supply.
  • Biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) are important indicators of organic pollution in water. High measurements indicate organic matter growing in water which can be an indicator that a system is in need of repair.

If you have any questions about our lab equipment, please contact us at (800) 344-9977.