Client Services Policies

The Water Sciences Laboratory (WSL) provides a suite of additional resources for our clients, to assist in meeting your laboratory testing needs. All technical staff are available to answer your questions, or assist with the details of your projects. We have provided the following resources for the most commonly requested information related to sample submission.

Priority Sample Submission

The Water Sciences Laboratory will accept certain samples as ‘priority’ samples. Priority samples will be put at the top of the sample queue, providing results in the shortest time possible. Each sample assigned as a priority will be charged twice the original sample cost. Feel free to contact us before sample submission, for more information.

Student/User-Run Sample Discount

Samples analyzed by a trained user will get a 50% discount on the full client rate. In order to qualify for this discount, the user or student must complete the laboratory's basic training program, analytical training, and successfully complete a proficiency test. The proficiency test will consist of 8 test samples and will be billed at 50% of the normal client user rate. Only after a successful proficiency test will users be able to schedule instrument time, bring in their samples, and begin independent sample analysis. It is expected that users will complete their proficiency tests within two months of their training. If the user is unable to analyze their samples within two months of their proficiency test, they will have to perform another refresher proficiency test (at no extra cost) before analyzing their own samples. If the user fails this test, they will have the opportunity to repeat the training again, at the same price as before.

Please note that WSL staff cannot guarantee the quality of results on any samples run by trained users. If the results are undesirable, they will be permitted to repeat the analyses one time at no additional expense. If the tests need to be repeated more than once, then the samples will be charged again at the discounted user rate.

Training in the laboratory requires a substantial investment of both time and effort by the trainee. During the training period, users are expected to spend up to 5-10 hours per week in the laboratory, or on training material. The length of time required to complete the training varies, and depends on the method, as well as the user. In order to fully master the materials presented, time may need to be spent in the laboratory after hours, and this time can count towards the hours expected per week. Trained users will be expected to work around staff when scheduling time on equipment, which may mean working in the laboratory on evenings or weekends.

Large Volume Discount

Preparation and analysis of large batches of samples (typically >50 within a 3-month period) for a given method is always more economical than smaller groups. Quantity discounts (10%) will be given when client notifies the WSL Director in advance (3 months) prior to delivery.

Extended Sample Storage Policy

Client samples will be stored for up to 4 weeks after completion of analyses, after which they will be disposed. Extended storage of samples beyond the 4 weeks at the WSL facility is available at an additional cost of $1/sample/month. To request or decline sample storage, please indicate with a Y/N on the Sample Submission form.

Analytical Methods | Method Development

The Water Sciences Laboratory specializes in developing new methods to support water research, and the technical staff at the WSL would be happy to discuss your application. New methods can include modification of existing methods and/or equipment for specific project and sample needs, or development of an entirely new capability. A ‘new method surcharge’ may be required if several weeks of staff effort is needed, or if there is a significant interruption of analyses for other projects. Pre-planning/scheduling of new method development in advance (3-6 months ahead) will permit scheduling of equipment and staff time in order to minimize disruption of the testing of other samples.

Paper Publication and Faculty Planning and Collaboration

Continued support of the Water Sciences Laboratory depends, in part, on documenting its role and contribution to the success of the University of Nebraska faculty. While use of the facility can be measured in terms of number of samples and methods, acknowledgement in publications and presentations can help establish a greater measurement of facility productivity (cost/benefit). Investigators should consider inviting the Laboratory Director and/or specific staff to serve as co-authors on publications where there is significant intellectual contribution to the research. In addition, it is suggested that the Laboratory Director and Laboratory Research Manager be included as a co-PI to proposals where there is a significant intellectual contribution in the form of new method development and/or data interpretation. Appropriate salary coverage for either staff or the Laboratory Director should be included in a project budget. This will include time required for new method development, data interpretation, and/or manuscript preparation. It should be understood, however, that inclusion of the director or other staff as co-PI does not mean a project’s samples are given higher priority.