California ELAP Expert Review Panel


California maintains an Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) to ensure that the State’s drinking water, wastewater, shellfish, food and hazardous waste programs have access to consistent, high-quality data. All California environmental testing laboratories are required to go through this accreditation process prior to providing analytical data used for state regulatory purposes. The ELAP program transitioned from the California Department of Public Health to the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in July 2014, and the SWRCB asked the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority (SCCWRP) to convene an Expert Review Panel to help the State chart ELAP's path going forward. SCCWRP has convened this independent, five-member panel to undertake a comprehensive review of the accreditation process. 

To read more about the California ELAP accreditation process, click here.

Charge Questions

The ELAP Expert Review Panel has been tasked with answering the following charge questions:

  1. What should the State’s role be in the accreditation process? Are the philosophies, objectives and scope of ELAP clearly defined? Are they appropriate? Does ELAP have the capacity to support the program?
  2. How can California’s accreditation standards be improved?  
  3. What should California’s approach be to recognizing accreditation by other states, national entities or private accreditation services? Should California rejoin NELAP?  
  4. How can ELAP’s laboratory inspection program be made more robust? What are the appropriate qualifications for auditor/inspector team members in each of the specialty areas that ELAP certifies laboratories?  
  5. How can California improve its proficiency testing program for quantifying laboratory quality?  
  6. How can California improve its process for responding to concerns expressed by: a) laboratories that have concerns about the certification process, or b) clients who have concerns about the quality of a laboratory that has been certified by ELAP?  
  7. How should ELAP plan for future programmatic, testing and management needs?
  8. Which program improvements are most urgent and can be accomplished within existing resources and authorities? Which are the highest-priority, longer-term program improvements? 


Event Supporting Documents
March 17-19, 2015
First meeting of the Panel


Biographies of Guest Speakers

Background Materials Provided by ELAP

Supporting Materials Provided by Guest Speakers

Morning Session Presentations

Guest Speaker Presentations

Report-Out (Lara Phelps)

June 23, 2015
Informational webinar for
the Panel to hear pros/cons
about adding
quality system standards to
laboratory operations



Public Comments Received

August 10-13, 2015
Second meeting of the Panel


Background Materials Provided by ELAP


Panel Recommendations (Lara Phelps)

Public Comments Received

Video Recording of the August 10 Meeting 

Video Recording of the August 12 Report Out

    October 14-16, 2015
    Third meeting of the Panel


    Panel Report (Draft for Stakeholder Feedback)


    Public Comments Received

    October 22, 2015
    Release of Panel's Year One Final Report

    Findings and Recommendations by the Expert Review Panel for the State of California's Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program: Year One Final Report (PDF)

    February 8, 2016
    Quarterly progress webinar


    ELAP Work Plan for the Implementation of a Sustainable Accreditation Program

    Video Recording of the February 8 Webinar

    June 7, 2016
    Quarterly progress webinar


    Video Recording of the June 7 Webinar

    October 31, 2016
    Quarterly progress webinar



    Video Recording of the October 31 Webinar

    January 31-February 2, 2017
    Year One follow-up review by the Panel


    Background Material Provided to the Panel

    January 31 Presentations

    Video Recording of the January 31 Meeting 

    February 2 Presentation

    Video Recording of the February 2 Meeting

    March 31, 2017
    Release of Panel's Year Two final report

    Progress Assessment and Final Recommendations by the Expert Review Panel for the State of California’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (PDF)

    Panel Members

    The five panelists on the State of California ELAP Expert Review Panel have been tasked with making recommendations to improve the California ELAP accreditation process. The panelists come from a variety of backgrounds and U.S. states – none in California – and were selected by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority in consultation with the California State Water Resources Control Board and a Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

    Jordan Adelson

    Dr. Jordan Adelson is Director of the U.S. Navy’s Laboratory Quality and Accreditation Office and is Chair of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Environmental Data Quality Workgroup, which develops and makes recommendations on DoD policies regarding environmental sampling and testing operations.

    Full resume

    Stephen Arms

    Stephen Arms is Administrator of the Florida Department of Health’s Environmental Laboratory Certification Program, where he supervises staff assessors and is responsible for decision-making in all areas of certification.

    Full resume

    Mitzi Miller

    Mitzi Miller is Vice President of Environmental Programs for Dade Moeller & Associates.  Mitzi has served as a third party assessor to support State laboratory accreditation programs in Louisiana, Kansas, Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Illinois.

    Full resume

    Lara Phelps

    Lara Phelps is Senior Advisor for Measurement, Monitoring, Modeling, and Laboratory Science for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Science Advisor. She is EPA’s national expert in the area of laboratory accreditation and assessment and serves as the Designated Federal Official for the EPA’s Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board.

    Full resume

    David Speis

    David Speis is the President and Chief Executive Officer for QC Laboratories, where he oversees a company that provides a full suite of analytical chemistry and microbiological services to the environmental, food science, pharmaceutical and dairy industries.

    Full resume


    For more information about the California ELAP Expert Review Panel, and to send comments and correspondence to the Panel, please contact Dr. Stephen Weisberg, 714-755-3203 or

    To send comments directly to ELAP staff in Sacramento, please contact program Chief Christine Sotelo, 916-341-5175 or

    To be added to the ELAP Expert Review Panel email listserve to receive occasional updates about panel meetings and other announcements, please contact Scott Martindale, 714-755-3240 or
    This page was last updated on: 3/31/2017