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Maryland’s Department of Health

Maryland’s Department of Health

About

Recently, the Maryland Public Health Services Laboratory moved into a six-story laboratory facility, designed to meet LEED Silver designation. “The new public health lab will advance our goal of providing Maryland families the best public health service and protection that modern science and technology can offer,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “This state-of-the-art facility maximizes our abilities to protect the health and well-being of all Marylanders under a creative financing agreement that minimizes the cost to taxpayers.”

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Challenge

The department performs at least 25,000 tests per year and is the only lab that has been federally certified. The majority of their tests performed include:

“Chain of custody samples” – These samples go to litigation, meaning it is imperative that the results be accurate.  There is zero room for error.

Medical tests – If, for example, a patient walks into a hospital for gastric problems and the doctor suspects water contamination as a possible cause, a quick turn- around of samples has to be done.

“Emergency response sample” – This includes emergencies such as sewage overflow, which requires that the drinking water being supplied to the area be tested for possible contamination.

With so many testing requirements, an automated process would make water-quality testing and analysis more efficient and is much needed; fast and accurate testing is important for the maintenance and improvement of the health and well-being of Marylanders.

Solution

TECTA-PDS developed the TECTA™ B16 to provide accurate and fully automated testing for E. coli and Total Coliforms much faster than traditional incubation methods.

The TECTA™ B16 is an automated microbiological platform that uses patented Polymer Partition technology. This platform is simple, sensitive and flexible, allowing the testing of samples at any time of the day.

The TECTA™ B16 supports the Department of Maryland’s process by providing an automated, rapid E. coli and Total Coliforms detection system for the assessment of microbiological water-quality and assuring the safety of drinking water.

Erinna Kinney, who is the Public Health Lead Scientist, is very impressed by TECTA™ B16 because of its speed, dependability, accuracy and fully automated process.

Success Story

Kinney’s team first started using the TECTA™ B16 unit to validate samples; confirming contamination following possible detection using other testing methods approved by the state.

The Department of Maryland has been so impressed with the performance of the TECTA™ B16, it is currently in the process of receiving conditional certification from the FDA.  By June 2016, Maryland’s Public Health Services Laboratory will be fully FDA and ISO 17025 certified, allowing them to utilize the TECTA™ B16 for all their samples.

“We’re very proud to be the very first state lab fully certified to use the TECTA™ B16 and are excite that the investment will be so expandable,” says Kinney. “In addition to our current testing capabilities, we’ll also be able to offer a Bottle Water Program and samples from private companies moving forward.”

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