EPA certifies two BECQ laboratory officers in Microbiology

The CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ) announced on Monday that Environmental Surveillance Laboratory Manager Charito Bautista and Laboratory Specialist Cassandra Mangarero have been certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after completing and passing the Microbiology Laboratory Certification Officer training course held on September 19-23, 2022 at the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bautista is now an EPA-certified laboratory officer in Chemistry (In-organic) and Microbiology, while Mangarero is now an EPA-certified laboratory officer in Microbiology.

The EPA is the drinking water quality regulator of the Federal Government and is responsible for enforcing drinking water regulations for public water supplies. The agency’s main priorities include keeping water free of harmful bacteria, minimizing harmful disinfection by-products, eliminating lead from pipework, preventing pesticides from entering our waters, managing risks to water supplies, and ensuring all water treatment plants are effective.

The EPA holds Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Officer training courses for Chemistry and Microbiology at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The courses include a mock laboratory evaluation and a final examination. These courses are designed to teach the critical elements of evaluating a drinking water laboratory performing compliance sample analyses and will follow the criteria outlined in the Manual for the Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water.

BECQ Administrator Eli D. Cabrera said the goal of the BECQ Environmental Surveillance Laboratory is to have all laboratory staff be certified for both Chemistry and Microbiology.

“As an island community, protecting and improving the CNMI’s drinking water is a top priority for us here at BECQ. A critical component of this work includes the certification of our laboratory staff by the EPA. We look forward to increasing our capacity at our Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) so we can continue safeguarding our community and protecting our environment.”

For more information about the BECQ Environmental Surveillance Laboratory, please call (670) 664-8520.

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