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A Guide for Choosing a Water Testing Lab for Stormwater Testing

1. Introduction to Stormwater Testing

A major emphasis of 21st Century water management is maintaining our supplies of water for industry, agriculture and human usage even as populations grow rapidly and as unprecedented changes in global climate threaten water resources. These efforts are particularly challenging in dry climate cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. As a result technological innovations and new ideas about how to recapture rainwater for treatment and usage have led to major changes in city planning and state regulations of water management.

All these concerns have led to the establishment and enforcement of a slew of new stormwater regulations for new construction, agriculture, industry and existing infrastructure. These regulations include requiring developers to create overflows to reduce flooding, regulations of pollutants, regulations for monitoring ambient water quality to ensure the maintenance of specific high quality standards in our rivers, lakes and oceans, as well as regulations on the storm water permits and permitting processes.

This increased regulation means that obligations for city planners, farmers, land owners, developers, industries and businesses to comply are proliferating. Compliance is necessary not only for protecting the environment but also for preventing citations, fines, lawsuits, setbacks or suspension of projects and operations. The bottom line is that there are a host of new stormwater testing regulations in place to help ensure long term water sustainability.

2. Criteria for choosing a lab for stormwater testing

If you have been required to do stormwater testing on your property there are several important criteria that must be considered before choosing a testing laboratory.
What are the lab’s certifications that will be doing the water sample testing?
When seeking a certified water testing lab, you must identify a lab that has not only been state certified but preferably also has secured certification through the stringent requirements of the Department of Energy and/or the Department of Defense Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Programs (ELAP). When your certified water testing lab has secured these certifications you know it has the skills, experience, training, and equipment necessary to produce the very best results for your testing procedures.

By choosing at least a state certified lab you will keep from wasting time and money and will instead satisfy the regulators and be confident in your results.

How helpful is a water sample testing lab?
The next thing you need to do is identify a certified water testing lab that is willing to work with your specific needs, able to understand your situation, one that offers helpful guidance and advice concerning your stormwater testing needs and generally offers you superior customer service. Getting your questions answered ahead of time and knowing that your lab will help to fully explain your report to you as well as any follow-up procedures, stormwater monitoring, etc., is extraordinarily important when seeking your testing lab.

Types of water tests that a lab provides
When you find a helpful certified water testing lab that is able to help you with your questions, will guide you through the results and follow through with your monitoring, then you have also likely found a lab that will help you determine the types of water tests that you will need. Often by working with the regulators and the labs together they will help you to identify the types of water tests needed and whether the lab can provide those specific tests for you.

Price range
Although price should not be your first concern, it will certainly play a role in your final choice. Comparing the prices between a few labs you have identified as helpful and capable of providing you with the tests you need will help you get an understanding of the market prices for the kinds of tests you need. Ultimately you must fit the testing into your budget plan, while meeting the prescribed stormwater inspection checklist required by the regulators.

3. A Stormwater Inspection Checklist

Although there will be differences between states and between industrial, commercial or development permits, a typical stormwater inspection checklist will include most of the following sections that your business will need to fulfill satisfactorily.

  • Identification of all individuals involved in the management of stormwater permit responsibilities.
  • Identification of all individuals trained to help with stormwater permit inspections.
  • Have all inspections been completed and recorded?
  • Have all maintenance efforts been recorded?
  • Include a spill response procedure.
  • Identifications of facility size, map, stormwater flow directions, location of nearby surface waters.
  • Identification of industrial activities, specific locations of activities, sewer outlets, impervious services and many other specifics.

This general checklist is a simplification of the many ins and outs involved in the environmental stormwater permits that industrial and commercial facilities must be in compliance with. Environmental testing labs will help your business comply with these stormwater permits and other applicable environmental laws and regulations, ensuring your business stays out of trouble and in compliance.

4. Conclusion

Torrent Laboratory offers a full array of stormwater testing to help you determine if you are in compliance with local, state and national standards for your stormwater runoff. Our facilities in California can help you gather samples of stormwater runoff from your facilities, land, parking lot. You simply ship, deliver or mail your collected samples to our lab. Our technicians and engineers will test for any or all pollutants and hazardous chemicals.

We will determine levels of heavy metals and we have the top of the line pesticide residue testing. Also included in our array of testing options are water testing for PFOA and PFOS as well as polyaromatic hydrocarbons tests (PAHS). These tests detect the presence of dangerous chemicals that must be mitigated for the protection of all life on your site.

Torrent is your full service Laboratory with the highest state (CA ELAP) and federal (DoD ELAP and DOE ELAP) certifications to meet all of your stormwater testing needs.