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Central Analytical Lab


The Central Analytical Laboratory provides analytical and field research support, and consultation services to NRRI scientists, other University scientists, local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, and to private businesses and commercial laboratories. It has over 1,600 sq. ft. of wet lab space. The lab is certified for a variety of Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act water quality parameters by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Certification follows National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) guidelines and the Lab participates in various round robin local and state quality assurance programs.

The Lab has been an integral part, or the lead, for numerous EPA and Minnesota approved Quality Assurance Program Plans (QAPPs) since its inception in 1986. This includes projects involving Minnesota’s Surface Water Assessment (SWA) and Water Pollution Load Monitoring Network (WPLMN) Programs,  the EPA funded Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring and Great Lakes Environmental Indicators projects. 

Key Services and Equipment

  • Flow Injection Autoanalyzer: Quantitative analysis of nutrients (low levels of all nitrogen and phosphorus fractions) silica, chloride, and sulfate
  • Narrow band UV/VIS spectrophotometer: Quantitative colorimetric analysis for chlorophyll-a and phaeophytin, true color, low-level N and P nutrients
  • Turbidimeters: turbidity (bench and field) 
  • Fluorometers: Algal pigments and water movement tracers
  • pH meters/titration equipment: alkalinity, acid neutralizing capacity, hardness
  • Hydrolab and YSI multi-parameter water quality sondes, handheld field displays, Campbell Scientific dataloggers
  • Limnological field sampling equipment - water, plankton, and sediment 
  • Small boats

Additional advanced water quality analyses, microscopy for algal taxonomy, services related to aquatic invertebrates, and sediment sampling are done in collaboration with the Fish and Invertebrate Lab and the Phytoplankton/Paleolimnology Lab.