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Iowa Environmental Laboratories: keeping Iowans safe during COVID-19

  • 4/30/2020 2:08:00 PM
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DES MOINES — Iowa has 40 municipal and commercial laboratories that test and analyze drinking water samples. Lab results tell regulators if our water is safe to drink.

“Environmental labs play a key role in protecting public health,” said Kathy Lee, with the DNR’s Laboratory Certification Program. “Like other essential services, these testing facilities have stepped up to the pandemic challenge, and we really appreciate the efforts they are making.”

Environmental labs, like many businesses, have changed how they operate to limit personal contact. Laboratories have split staff into shifts, enforced physical distancing, and have added disinfection procedures for the building and samples delivered to the lab. Some labs are making their own disinfectants.

Most commercial labs also analyze samples from wastewater, landfill leachate and underground storage tank leaks. Many municipal labs analyze wastewater onsite at their treatment plants. So far, there have been no reports of labs needing to shut down or being unable to analyze samples.