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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Subject 391-3-26 COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORIES

Rule 391-3-26-.01 Purpose and Scope

The purpose of these rules is to establish the procedures required for the administration and implementation of O.C.G.A. 12-2-9 which requires all commercial analytical laboratories submitting data for regulatory purposes to be accredited or approved as specified in the Division's rules and Regulations.

Rule 391-3-26-.02 Definitions

(1) "Accreditation" means the procedure by which an accreditation agency, a state, or the U.S. Environmental Agency evaluates and acknowledges a program as meeting certain predetermined qualifications and standards.
(2) "Accreditation Agency" means an agency that meets the requirements of 391-3-26-.04 (2) and which the Division has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the purposes of 391-3-26-.04 (1)(c).
(3) "Approved" means the acceptance by the Division of a commercial analytical laboratory by accreditation or certification. The approval shall be valid only for the time period specified by the accreditation or certification agency and valid for the test included in the scope of the accreditation or certification.
(4) "Certification" means the procedure by which an accreditation agency, a state, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluates and acknowledges a program as meeting certain predetermined qualifications or standards.
(5) "Commercial Analytical Laboratory" means a laboratory which performs analyses of environmental samples or media on a fee or contract basis. A laboratory operated by the state, a city, county, or local authority, or an industrial facility is typically not considered a commercial analytical laboratory for the purposes of these rules.
(6) "Data Submitted for Regulatory Purposes" means any data which is to be submitted to the Division, or required to be retained on site for review by the Division, which is required by a permit, rule, statute, or order; except for the following:
(a) Initial Hazardous Sites Response Act notification data submitted under Chapter 391-3-19-.04. Data submitted to a follow-up to such notification would be covered under this rule.
(b) Data which is obtained from the analyses of environmental media if such analyses is performed in situ (examples of this include but not limited to pH, chlorine residual, opacity, turbidity, on-site instrumental sampling, continuous instrumental monitoring, stream biological sampling data, etc.).
(c) Tests for which accreditation is not available from a third party or from another state.
(7) "Director" means the Director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources.
(8) "Division" means the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources.
(9) "Laboratory" means a body that calibrates and/or tests. A laboratory may be at a permanent location, a temporary location, or may be a mobile facility. In any cases where a laboratory forms part of any organization that carries out other activities besides testing, the term "laboratory" refers only to those parts of that organization that are involved in the testing process.
(10) "Test" means the technical operation that consists of the determination of one or more characteristics or performance of a given product, material, equipment, organism, physical phenomenon, process, or service according to a specified procedure.

Rule 391-3-26-.03 Data Submittal

Data submitted for regulatory purposes, as defined above, by a commercial analytical laboratory or a customer of a commerical analytical laboratory, shall be accepted by the Division only if the commercial analytical laboratory is approved in accordance with 391-3-26-.04 below at the time the tests are performed.

Rule 391-3-26-.04 Approval

(1) A commercial analytical laboratory is approved for submitting data for regulatory purposes in the State of Georgia if the laboratory meets any of the following requirements specific to the analytical data submitted:
(a) Accreditation or certification by another State acceptable to the Director.
(b) Accreditation or certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(c) Accreditation or certification by an accreditation agency, acceptable to the Director, and which the Division has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding of these purposes.
(d) Certification by the Division pursuant to O.C.G.A. 12-5-174(a)(3) and DNR Rule 391-3-5-.29 for drinking water tests.
(2) Accreditation agencies shall use Guide 25 (as amended) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the basis for determining the ability of a laboratory to satisfactorily carry out analyses. Additional requirements may be determined on a case by case basis depending on the specific analyses and the scopes of accreditation. Limits on scopes of accreditation acceptable to the Division may be stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding with the accreditation agency.
(3) The Director, or his designee, may enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with accreditation agencies specifying criteria to be included in any such accreditation.
(4) Approval in Georgia shall be valid only for the time period specified by the accreditation agency, State or EPA, and valid only for the tests included in the scope of the accreditation.

Rule 391-3-26-.05 Procedures

(1) The Division will maintain a list of all approved accrediting agencies, including States, and such list may be made available upon request.
(2) Any person submitting data prepared by a commercial analytical laboratory to the Division for regulatory purposes shall stipulate that the laboratory is approved. The stipulation shall include the name of the accrediting agency, the scope of the accreditation relevant to the data submitted (such as drinking water, non-potable water, air, solid/hazardous wastes, etc.), the accreditation number issued by the accrediting agency, the date of accreditation, and the expiration date of accreditation. This stipulation shall be by one of the following methods:
(a) The stipulation shall be submitted with each regulatory report; or
(b) The stipulation shall be submitted in a separate document with the first regulatory report of the calendar year. No additional submittal will be necessary for the year unless another laboratory is used or there is a change in the accreditation or certification status of the laboratory.
(3) Data submitted without such stipulation shall not be accepted by the Division and will be returned.

Rule 391-3-26-.06 Regulatory Responsibility

The responsibility for submitting acceptable analytical data lies with the person subject to regulation under Georgia's environmental statutes, permits, and rules. Use of an approved commercial laboratory does not necessa- rily mean that the data submitted was properly prepared or that the submittal satisfies the regulatory requirement.

Rule 391-3-26-.07 Effective Date

These rules shall become effective on July 1, 2000. Commercial analytical laboratories meeting the requirements of 391-3-26-.04 may voluntarily be approved prior to July 1, 2000.