UT Knoxville’s Water Quality Laboratory Accreditation: Episode III – Lab Solo

Operational Issues Impacting the Environmental Laboratory Industry
Oral Presentation

Prepared by A. Gonzalez
University of Tennessee, John D. Tickle Engineering Building, 850 Neyland Drive, JDT Room 325, Tennessee, Knoxville, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 865-673-4820


Over a two-year period, the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus (UTK) converted a faculty-managed, graduate-student operated lab into a fully accredited water quality laboratory based on the 2016 TNI Standard. It received official accreditation in October 2020 – no small achievement in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. The lab’s prime directive is to continue providing analytical services to National Park Service (NPS) water quality monitoring programs, a role UTK has had since the mid-1990s. Now in its third year, a disturbing trend is developing in the lab’s workload and clientele, one that was anticipated during the lab’s planning stage. We discuss current measures being taken to overcome the challenges of operating a small accredited lab while simultaneously managing non-accredited clients and limited scope of services within an academic organization.