Mick Neill’s work brought to fruition by his colleagues

THE work started by the late Mick Neill to ensure that the regional laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Kilkenny city meets the highest international standards came to fruition last week when the centre was doubly rewarded. It has been accredited to the international standard ISO 17025 for its technical and quality systems and has also obtained ISO 14000 certification in for the environmental management system it operates.

THE work started by the late Mick Neill to ensure that the regional laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Kilkenny city meets the highest international standards came to fruition last week when the centre was doubly rewarded. It has been accredited to the international standard ISO 17025 for its technical and quality systems and has also obtained ISO 14000 certification in for the environmental management system it operates.

ISO 17025 is an international standard that confirms the quality system and competence of laboratories to carry out tests. The ISO 14001certification involved setting up a fully integrated, effective Environmental Management System that streamlined operations, and increased overall efficiency reducing the lab’s carbon footprint, therefore lowering costs.

In 2007, the EPA’s Kilkenny Regional Inspectorate moved to a green-field site at Seville Lodge on the Callan Road. As a commitment to the quality of the work carried out in the laboratory, the then Regional Manager, the late Michael Neill embarked on the process of laboratory accreditation. Michael felt that accreditation would reinforce confidence in the services provided by the laboratory. The accreditation process was a long one, but one which the staff in Kilkenny were well equipped to deal with through their experience and knowledge.

John Lucey, Regional Manager in the Kilkenny Regional Inspectorate who took over the post from the late Mick Neill, said that all the good work that the inspectorate does in terms of managing waste, monitoring and measuring energy and water use, and monitoring the impact of transport use are to the highest possible environmental standards.

The EPA laboratory in Kilkenny produces an annual report on river water quality in the south-east. It also carries out analyses of drinking water, surface water, groundwater, wastewater, coastal waters and estuarine waters as well as monitoring licensed industrial sites for compliance with their licences.

The EPA Regional Inspectorate on the Callan Road comprises offices and a laboratory. The EPA has 20 staff based in the Kilkenny Regional Inspectorate as follows:

- 15 who are assigned to the EPA’s Office of Environmental Assessment (10 laboratory staff including three chemists, two hydrometric technicians, two staff dedicated to the EPA’s Air and REACH teams and one administrative staff member)

- Five staff who are assigned to the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement.

Welcoming the award to the laboratory, Mr Joe Crockett, Kilkenny County Manager said:

“This accreditation is a recognition of the technical skills of the staff in the EPA laboratory in Kilkenny and a just reward for the work which they carry out in a professional way for our network of local authorities in the South East region. The INAB Quality award is an important step in maintaining the leadership of the EPA Kilkenny laboratory in the provision of high quality environmental data and is a key part of its customer servic,” Mr Crockett said.