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Water Authority Laboratory Accreditation Extended

Water Authority Laboratory Accreditation Extended
03 December, 2019
Edlyn Ruiz Stoll 949-2837

Following another successful audit by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), the Water Authority Laboratory’s Accreditation has been extended through November 2021.

This accreditation ensures that the Laboratory meets the A2LA’s ISO 17025:2017 accreditation standard.

“The 17025 ISO accreditation standard was revised in 2017 and focuses on technology developments. This pushed us to stay abreast of new technologies in our field” explains Laboratory Manager Marcela Martinez-Ebanks. “It also ensures that as we deploy new technologies, we maintain the highest degree of integrity while protecting customer confidentiality,” she adds.

The standard emphasises staff competency and is more aligned with current global trends in the management and leadership of human capital; moving the Laboratory away from linear management to a more agile structure for managing processes and resources.

The Laboratory’s accreditation was expanded to ensure reliable testing of corrosion-related parameters in drinking water; specifically, iron, copper, lead and zinc. Globally, public concern has grown regarding these parameters.

“Our distribution network is primarily PVC, and there is no historical use of lead pipes in the Cayman Islands. However, we do use metal fittings and encounter buildings with internal copper piping, so the Authority felt that it was prudent to add these parameters to its scope of accreditation,” explains Ms Martinez-Ebanks.

In addition, the Laboratory is now accredited to test hydrogen sulphide in air. Ms Martinez-Ebanks explains that this is a significant milestone for the Laboratory.

“This is the first parameter in air for which we received accreditation. The Authority has been approached about hydrogen sulphide, as it smells like rotten eggs. It is released into the air from natural processes in groundwater, wetlands, lakes and ponds. The Authority obtained equipment and developed the methods to test hydrogen sulphide in air. The accreditation for this parameter ensures that the data we collect is robust and reliable.”

Water Authority Director Gelia Frederick-van Genderen expressed her appreciation for the Laboratory. “The continued and expanded accreditation means a lot to the Authority; it is independent recognition and confirmation of the high standard, professionalism and reliability of the Laboratory and I congratulate Marcela and her team on all the hard work and long hours to pass the audit successfully.”

The A2LA accreditation was approved until 30 November 2021, following which the Authority will undergo another external audit to continue the accreditation. The Laboratory’s certificate of accreditation (A2LA certificate number 1931.01) may be viewed on the Authority’s website. The Laboratory undergoes external audits every two years to maintain its international accreditation.

The Laboratory carries out quality control testing of the Authority’s potable water supplies and the treated effluent of the wastewater treatment plant. It also provides testing services to Government agencies, the private sector, and the general public.

For more information on the Water Authority, please visit www.waterauthority.ky.