How to start and run an environmental lab

Envronmental labs

Environmental testing labs San Diego in California are in high demand. There are strict regulations for soil, air, and water in environmental testing. The law has spawned a lot of small and large environmental lab , many of which had been functional in non-environmental industries. The highest growth areas for testing are emerging economies in India, Europe, South America and East Asia, where environmental awareness is now coming into its own.

Know your niche

There has been heavy consolidation within the environmental testing industry and this means that starting a lab from scratch is very time consuming and expensive. Startups are advised to uncover some advantages such as location or some specialty based on analytical capability, expertise, or timeliness.

Laboratories in California can choose their niche carefully and do everything right but still get into problems. The big players in the industry enjoy the economy of scale and competing with them is difficult. Big companies can run numerous samples and have a lot of methods at their disposal. They can also turn samples around fast. They have more certifications.

Laboratories in California that have found their spot outside the field of environmental testing may also consider branching into the field. From the operations, methods and equipment perspective, food testing is closely related to environmental testing.

Major overlaps between the fields are contaminants common to environmental sources and foods such as pesticides and herbicides found in the soil, plants and water. Instrumentation, analytical methods, and mandated limits for the compounds are similar but they aren’t identical. There is a significant difference between environmental testing labs and food testing labs in California. Quality testing and food nutrient have no counterparts in the environmental field. Laboratories wishing to provide the gamut of food and environmental testing should therefore possess broad analytical capabilities.

Strategies for Environmental lab

Instrumentation is a great barrier to starting a laboratory. Mass spectrometry, chromatography, and tandem methods can go up to several hundred thousand dollars. The silver lining: most equipment is multipurpose with respect to matrices, analytes, and even industry. Environmental testing shares a lot of instruments with food testing. What changes are the expertise and accreditations required to run the equipment.

As instrumentation gets more expensive, the cost of ownership enters more into the overall cost equation. A lot of instruments used in testing are updated as frequently as every 3 years. The new zero-tolerance standards demand instruments that are more sensitive. Other issues related accounting are downtime and maintenance as they get more critical as the equipment ages. When an instrument gets old, it will cost up to twelve thousand dollars per year to maintain. However, when you include downtime, the cost will be higher. Getting the work out the door is essential in the current commoditized market.

The relationship between environmental testing labs San Diego in California, instrumentation and regulations is complex as it is almost symbiotic. A lot of methods that were used back in the 80s are still in use. It is important to know that instrument technology evolves and every lab should stay updated.

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