The State Water Board fined two Kern County laboratories a total of $8,180 for failing to report drinking water test results within the required time frame.
The state’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Enforcement Unit responded to separate complaints that the labs — BC Laboratories Inc. and Zalco Laboratories Inc. — were exceeding the required time frame for reporting drinking water test results to the State Water Board.
Staff confirmed the claims by performing data audits that revealed multiple instances of late reporting by both laboratories. The department didn’t provide any details about the violations.
ELAP issued official orders to the labs to correct the issue, or they would face fines and potential revocation of accreditation. ELAP later performed verification audits and found that the problem persisted in both laboratories.
The organization then officially cited both laboratories for failing to correct the problem after they were notified. BC Labs was fined $4,780 and Zalco Labs was fined $3,400.
“The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) relies on timely electronic reporting of water quality data to enable us to identify where contamination is an immediate threat to public health,” said Betsy Lichti, Division of Drinking Water section chief. “These enforcement actions are a message to laboratories that DDW and ELAP are responding to failures to report that critical data.”
Laboratories are required to notify a water system within 24 hours if acute contaminants such as E. coli or nitrate exceed the maximum safe level established by the state. The Water Board must be notified within 10 days.