Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center at UMass Amherst

The Environmental Analysis Laboratory

 EAL logo

The Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) provides inorganic chemical analysis of water for University researchers, public agencies, and other publicly-supported clients to support environmental research, management, and monitoring activities, and has a particular strength in the analysis of trace levels of phosphorus.

The EAL was created in 1984 by the Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center to assist the Acid Rain Monitoring Project (ARM) by analyzing more than 40,000 samples for a suite of 21 parameters. Since 1988, the Lab has provided services to a wide range of off-campus and on-campus researchers. Clients have included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, Greater Springfield Housing Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Living Lakes Corporation, State of West Virginia, and a number of Universities and Colleges. The Lab is located in the Goessmann Chemistry Building on the UMass Amherst campus. Contact Laboratory Staff for more information.

EAL is currently headed by Dr. Julian Tyson and Dr. Paula Rees. We are currently accepting water samples for analysis of pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus and chlorophyll a.

Services for Citizen Monitoring Groups

Quality Control Program

The laboratory runs a QC program, sending blind samples for the analysis of dissolved oxygen, pH, and alkalinity to volunteer labs the week prior to the third weekend of the month between April and October. We manufacture the blind samples (which we call QC samples) and send the samples by mail. Volunteer analysts analyze the samples and call in their results for verification. Volunteer results are compared to the blinds' expected values and volunteer labs are then notified as to how close they came to the expected values. To "pass" a QC sample, volunteer labs need to come within 0.3 units for pH, 3 mg/L for alkalinity, and 10% of the expected value for dissolved oxygen. If a volunteer lab fails the QC, the possible reasons are discussed so that corrective measures can be taken before they analyze their own samples. Some groups do not call their results ahead of the sampling weekend, but report them later. In this case, the QC information is applied by the volunteer groups to decide whether to keep or discard their monthly data. Monitors can request a DO sample, a pH/alkalinity sample, or both. We provides these samples starting in April, monthly through October. To request QC samples, email us a message. A fee of $30 per QC sample covers shipping and handling as well as technical support from EAL.

Supervised Use of Laboratory for Determinations of pH, Alkalinity and Dissolved Oxygen, and for Thermometer Calibration

E-Mail the Lab Techinician for more information and inquire about fees.

Payment

Payment for analyses must come directly as part of a research project, from an educational institution, public agency or citizen monitoring group, or a letter of appointment as agent for the public agency. EAL does not conduct analyses for the private sector except under these conditions, nor does it conduct analyses for individuals.

Contact us: wrrceal@cns.umass.edu