“Sooo hot. Need water.”

The dog days of summer are here.  As the temperature rises, so does our thirst.  If you’re like us, you’ve been upping your water intake to stay hydrated.  And if you drink water at a home, business, or restaurant, chances are we’ve been involved in the testing process.

2018 Drinking Water Testing at Suburban Testing Labs

Since January 1st of this year alone, we’ve performed more than 44,000 tests on over 20,000 samples for public water suppliers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.  For private well owners, we’ve analyzed more than 3,000 samples for more than 12,000 contaminants.

Our top test?  Total Coliform Bacteria easily tops the list with 18,381 tests performed in our microbiology lab.  This includes analysis for the presence of Total Coliform an E.Coli, and “Enumeration,” which gives a most probable number of bacteria present in the sample.

How Do I Know My Water Is Safe?

If you have a private well, the only way you can find out is to have your water tested on your own.

If you’re a customer of a community system public water supplier, you can find out by reviewing the annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) that is delivered in the mail each year.

CCRs are required disclosures for community water systems by US law, and must be provided to all customers by July 1st of each year.  Your CCR tells you your water source, levels of contaminants in your water source, and how that compares to EPA allowable limits.

What Happens When We See A Failing Sample?

From time-to-time a sample will exceed allowable Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).  Each state has specific Public Notification Requirements.  In Pennsylvania, for example, if there is a Total Coliform and E.coli positive sample, a Nitrate / Nitrite failure, or any other MCL exceedance, we must notify the public water supplier within 1 hour via telephone.  The public water supplier must then notify the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) within 1 hour, and notify the public within the timeframe specified by the law. For acute health risks, such as the presence of E.coli, they are required to notify the public within 24 hours.

Then, check samples are collected and analyzed within 24 hours to confirm the original result.

It is critical that laboratories, PWSs, and DEP quickly responds to MCL violations to correct the issue.

At Suburban Testing Labs, we take this responsibility seriously.  We understand the critical nature of drinking water analysis, and our team works 7 days a week to support the needs of our public water suppliers.   During these dog days of summer, as you’re increasing your water consumption, you can trust us – your experts in drinking water analysis.

 

We asked our staff: What are your favorite ways to stay fit during these hot #dogdaysofsummer?

Play golf as much as possible. I try to walk vs. riding in a cart as much as possible. On average, walking 18 holes of golf is approximately 5+ miles depending on the course.

Keith, Inorganic Chemistry and Microbiology Supervisor

Summer is the best time for me to get out and active with hiking activities. I love to work up a good sweat in the hilly terrain, and my two dogs are great hiking partners!

Beth, Sales Manager

Going to the gym every morning keeps the blood flowing during the workday! Hiking is another good one.

Jesse, Human Resources Generalist

Yoga is my favorite way to stay fit – in the air conditioning!!

Lindsay, Project Manager
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“I hope they tested this.”

We enjoy natural bodies of water for swimming, fishing, and boating.  How do we know it meets safety standards?

As an Environmental Testing Laboratory, a lot of non-potable water samples from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) come through our laboratory.  The treated water discharged by these facilities goes into our vast natural waterway system – our rivers, lakes and streams.  Testing this water to ensure it meets safety standards is critical.

WWTPs have state permitted analysis requirements that must be completed by an accredited laboratory.  In addition, public water supplies must often test untreated or “raw” water for harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and cryptosporidium.  We perform this analysis for our clients 365 days a year.

The public trusts that we are using the highest quality standards when analyzing these samples.  We understand that the results of our water testing are used to make important environmental decisions.  Trustworthy data quality is of utmost importance for us to meet that demand.

It’s Personal – A Dip Into A Local Lake

Blue Marsh Lake, Berks County, PA

Blue Marsh Lake, Berks County, PA

The health of all our regional bodies of water is important to us.  One happens to be in our backyard.

Our main laboratory is located five miles from Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and many of our employees use the lake for recreational activities all year long.  Owned and maintained by US Army Corps of Engineers, this lake benefits water control practices for the downstream communities of Reading, Birdsboro, Pottstown, Conshohocken and sections of Philadelphia.*

The lake is 1,150 acres and allows for a lot of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, swimming and hiking.  The lake is located on the Tulpehocken Creek, which is a tributary to the Schuylkill River within the Delaware River Basin.  The Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers are vast resources for drinking water supplies.

Chris Moyer, Field Scientist

The Creek was impounded in 1974 creating this 8-mile-long Lake, and there has been a total of 37 species of fish captured during surveys conducted by the PA Fish & Boat Commission.

We conduct various types of field analysis, sample collection, and laboratory testing for many different clients within this watershed.  It’s just one way we work to preserve the health of our local water environment, and our community.

To learn more about Blue Marsh Lake, visit the USACE website: http://www.nap.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-

Moyer Collecting a Sample from Blue Marsh Lake

Works/Blue-Marsh-Lake/

To learn more about our Field Services, Wastewater and Drinking Water Analysis, visit our website: http://www.suburbantestinglabs.com/environmental-testing-services.html

* Per USACE
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Suburban Testing Labs flows between generations

Rich Stump in Reading EagleCompany uses technology to analyze water samples.

WRITTEN BY WES CIPOLLA of the Reading Eagle

BERN TOWNSHIP, PA — July 11, 2018

Rich Stump has always been in the family business.

When he was 7, he capped bottles at Suburban Testing Labs, then run by his father Rick.  Then he became a janitor, and worked his way up to buying Suburban in 2014, making him the sole owner of the company, which tests local water samples for lead, bacteria and carcinogens.

“Like all kids, I had a few moments where I didn’t want to,” Stump, 40, said about following in his dad’s footsteps, “but I thought it was the right opportunity for me. I always loved the science behind the business.”

Stump says he’s proud that the labs have lasted 55 years, through two generations.

In his tenure he has moved the labs from Temple to Bern Township and increased automation. That much is clear, as Suburban’s labs are filled with elaborate machines that handle test tubes of all shapes and sizes.

Will robots replace Suburban’s 78 employees someday?

“I don’t see that in this industry’s future,” Stump said, “again because of the complexity and number of steps. You still need a scientist to interpret the data.”

“We’re almost like manufacturing, where we’re coming out with results for different tests.” he said. “We have about a hundred different testing lines going on at once.”

First, the water is tested for pesticides. The materials are separated from the water using funnels and hot baths. Then the samples are taken to analysis machines and the data becomes lines on a computerized graph. Then the samples are taken to a room where plasma is heated to 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit to detect metals such as lead. The smell in these labs ranges from disinfectant to chlorine to roasted cocoa.

Someday, a new generation will take over for Stump. He wants to get his two children interested in science (his dog’s name is Einstein) and for 7-year-old Madison, it’s working.

“As long as they go on to become productive members of society and have a job that makes them happy,” Stump said about the possibility of them leaving the family business, “I would be fine with that.”

Companies such as Suburban provide a critical service, says the director of one Berks County water authority.

“I think that water testing is critical to public health and safety.” said Matt Wolborn, the director of operations of the Western Berks Water Authority. “Water testing is a barometer that shows us how we’re doing.”

Municipal water needs to be clean not just for consumers, but so it doesn’t enter streams as dangerous runoff. Wolborn, a third-generation water treater, said that the industry has a steady demand for jobs.

To Stump, a cancer survivor, the most important part of his job is giving people an opportunity to protect the water and soil from pollution.

“I lived through the ozone layer hole,” he said, “and we took small steps that were difficult, and now 20-some years later, the ozone layer has started to repair itself. So I don’t plan to move to Mars.”

Contact Wes Cipolla: 610-371-5066 or wcipolla@readingeagle.com.

View Article that Appeared in the Reading Eagle Newspaper Here: http://www.readingeagle.com/money/article/suburban-testing-labs-flows-between-generations

 

 

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Happy #GeekPrideDay!

May 25th marks the day Geeks celebrate all things Geek worldwide.

#GeekPrideDay is officially 10 years old in the U.S., and is celebrated annually on May 25th.  Gone are the days when being called a Geek was known as an insult.  Today, we celebrate all things Geek!

The Geek was born in the 1950’s and has evolved from pocket protectors and comic books only to Academic Geek, Tech Geek, Pop Culture Geek, and much more.  Check out this Infographic on the Evolution of the Geek. 

Are you confused as to which class of Geek you fall?  We found this great Infographic to help you decide.

And don’t you dare call a Geek a Nerd!  One or the other is likely to be offended.

The date was chosen to coincide the release of the first Star Wars Film, Episode IV: A New Hope.  This weekend also marks the release of the film Solo: A Star Wars Story (but we didn’t have to tell you that now, did we).

May 25th also marks “Towel Day,” which celebrates Douglas Adams’ acclaimed geek novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Fans carry a towel in his honor recognizing his death in 2001.

So call your fellow Geek friends and get together to Geek-out!

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2018 Top Business – Suburban Testing Labs

Michael Jordan.  David Beckham.  LeBron James. What do these phenoms in sport have in common with us?  The number #23!

Our Team is celebrating today.  #23 on the list of Greater Reading Top 50 Businesses according to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, published today in the Reading Eagle Business Weekly.   We have been appearing on this list every year since we were eligible, and once again are featured in the top half.

Awards will be given to these top businesses on May 31, 2018 at the Annual Chamber Dinner 2018.  The dinner this year will feature another well-known MVP of sport: four-time super bowl champion, Terry Bradshaw.   The event is sold out, and the waitlist is closed.

“This Suburban Family is really amazing, and we are excited to have an honor that recognizes their incredible contributions,” said Sara Stump, Director at Suburban Testing Labs.  “I credit our team’s adherence to our four core values as the root of our success: quality, integrity, innovation and commitment.  To be successful here you have to work in harmony with our values.”

Suburban Testing Labs is a nationally recognized independent environmental testing laboratory specializing in analysis of water, wastewater, soil, and solid materials.  We are accredited in accordance with NELAC (National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference) and commit to providing defensible data at a competitive price with first-class customer service.

Suburban Testing Laboratories has 55 years of experience in environmental testing for microbiological, inorganic and organic contaminants.     We continuously rank on the list of Greater Reading’s Top 50 Businesses.

 

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Suburban Testing Labs Celebrates 55 Years and Looks to the Future

With longevity in business a thing of the past, this growing Berks County firm continues to be firmly rooted.

Our region’s largest environmental testing laboratory is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year.

Founded in 1963, Suburban Testing Labs has grown from a small, regional water testing company to one of the largest family-owned, independent,  single-site environmental testing laboratories in North America. The company’s 55 years of year-over-year revenue growth is testament to its commitment to service excellence.

Richard C. Stump, III in New Organic Chemistry Extraction Laboratory

Third generation owner, and second generation of the Stump Family, Rich Stump, III, has led the organization’s growth.  15 years ago there were 12 employees operating out of a 5,000 square foot facility in Muhlenberg Township.  Under Mr. Stump’s leadership, the company now has a 75 person, 22,500 square foot operation in Bern Township near the Reading Regional Airport.  And he isn’t planning to stop there.

“We have our sights set on delivering high quality data used to make important environmental decisions in our region,” Mr. Stump Said.  “Our goal is to be one of the top 5 most profitable environmental labs in the country by deilvering on this promise.”

Suburban Testing Labs continues to add technical jobs to our local employment base.  Last year they expanded by adding an additional 5,000 square feet of laboratory space to increase capacity for their growing client list.  The expansion included a new Organic Chemistry Extraction Laboratory, and a new Volatile Organic Analysis Laboratory, plus additional of state-of-the-art equipment.  With the expansion of clients and space, came demand for new jobs in chemistry, biology, and environmental science.  The organization plans to celebrate this milestone anniversary and expansion with an Open House showcasing the new laboratories in October.

Firmly rooted in high-standards with an eye soaring to new heights, Mr. Stump credits adherence to the organization’s four core values as their key success factor: Integrity, Quality, Commitment and Innovation.

“We really work to foster a strong, engaged culture of professionals that adhere to these values.  Then they take care of our clients in that same way, which sets us apart,” said Mr. Stump. “Honestly, many of our employees are like a second family to me. And I think that makes all the difference.”

 

For more inforatmion, please visit suburbantestinglabs.com or call 1-800-433-6595.

Founded: 1963

Where: Bern Township, PA

Company’s Principal Leaders: Richard C. Stump, III serves as President and Director of Laboratory Operations

Company Produces: Suburban Testing Labs is a full-service environmental testing laboratory specializing in analysis of water, wastewater, soil, and solid materials.

Employees: 75

About Us

Suburban Testing Labs is a nationally recognized independent environmental testing laboratory specializing in analysis of water, wastewater, soil, and solid materials.  We are accredited in accordance with NELAC (National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference) and commit to providing defensible data at a competitive price with first-class customer service.

Suburban Testing Laboratories has 55 years of experience in environmental testing for microbiological, inorganic and organic contaminants.  Our technical staff has grown from a few technicians in the late 1990’s to a full staff of highly educated analytical professionals today (over 60% have BS in biology or chemistry).   We continuously rank on the list of Greater Reading’s Top 50 Businesses.

Our Mission

As an independent, family-owned and operated testing laboratory Suburban Testing Labs’ core mission is to provide accurate, sound and defensible data needed to support environmental decision making. Our relentless dedication to customers, our team, & ourselves creates a superior customer experience and builds relationships that preserve the health of our environment, work life, home life and community. We resolve to develop our people in an open, creative work place in order to foster an environment & business culture that embodies ingenuity & optimizes resources.

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Let’s Do This.

Suburban Testing Labs Account Set Up

We make new client onboarding easy.  Here’s what you can expect…

First you meet your dedicated Project Manager, who carefully gathers important information to make your project a success.   This may be in person, on the phone, or via email – whichever method you prefer.

Suburban Testing Labs Client Services Team

Client Services Team

We have three full-time Geoscientists on staff serving as Project Managers that fully understand your needs, making information sharing less complicated than with other labs.  Having a single-point-of-contact makes the switch easy, but we also work as a team and support each other when the need arises so you’ll never be left in the dark with unreturned phone calls, or unmet needs.  Our Project Management Team is dedicated to a specific set of Principals for first time client sample submittals, and these are reviewed at multiple levels of our organization to ensure your project is a success.

Then we schedule your sampling supply delivery and sample submission days with our field team.  Our cutting edge real-time tracking software allows us to identify the fastest delivery day and time possible.  Same day, next day, or advanced scheduling –  we can work with it all.  Want to drop off your samples?  That works, too!  We are local and easy to access.

Need results fast?  We have rush capability!  Your Project Manager will work closely with our laboratory leadership to get you what you need, when you need it.  And while analysis is in progress, you can monitor your results on SuburbanClientConnect, our online data access system.

After you receive your final report and data deliverables, we are available to answer technical questions and schedule the next round of sampling.

Easy to communicate with.  Easy to schedule.  Easy to request rush analysis.  We make it all easy!

Contact us for your next project, or to start with us right away.

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A Lab You Can Trust

Suburban Testing Labs Trust

After months or years of preparation, you rely on an environmental laboratory to give you the data you need to make decisions.  You send your samples off trusting your lab will get the job done right.  Don’t let the success of your project go to the wrong hands.

With the number of available labs dwindling, you can trust our 55 years in business, and steadfast commitment to data quality.  We are independent, American-owned, and local.

Before you send off your next set of samples anywhere else, be sure to contact a member of our team and choose a lab you can trust… we promise not to let go!

Contact us for your next project, or to start with us right away.

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Encouraging Interest in STEM with Our Youngest Girls

by: Sara Kuzma-Stump

During this National Teacher Appreciation Week 2018, I can’t help but think about our Science Teachers.   As a mother of a second grade girl who loves science and nature, and since I have a career in the environmental lab industry, I think about how her science teachers are influencing her future.

Many organizations are making it clear that there is a desire to increase gender diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries.  Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke last year at the Technovation Challenge World Pitch Summit and specifically addressed the teen girl audience, saying “I want you to know that there’s a place for you in this industry.”

Many experts claim that the feeling of not belonging in technical subjects starts young, and young girls need to believe they too have an innate ability to understand math and science.  Therefore, it is important to nurture young girls’ interests in math and science to offset any negative perceptions before they start developing.

As an employer with a majority of women on our Senior Leadership Team at our Laboratory, I want to continue this trend forward for our future generations.

Where to Start

Role Modelling is one important way to influence your daughters.  Even if you don’t work in a laboratory, you can share basic STEM concepts with your daughter.  Cooking, gardening, taking care of a pet, and reading picture books that feature young scientists are all examples of that routine exposure.

Girls can still value cheerleading, princesses, pink and glitter.  But they should know that they can also love math and science and get that encouragement from the adults in their life.

Media Exposure

The exposure to media messages starts well before grade school, and as a mother of two young children, I have noticed a shift in media exposure opportunities in recent years.

The Disney Junior Network, a top channel choice for parents of preschoolers, has been at the forefront of this transformation by exposing successful diverse roles in family and career in their programming.  And with great success.

Doc McStuffins is a young girl with a stay at home dad and a physician mother who aspires to be a doctor herself.  Miles from Tomorrowland shows a family of space travelers where the Mother is the captain of the ship.  The Lion Guard’s main character isn’t going to be king, his sister will rule.  Elena of Avalor will also rule her kingdom, too.

Television sets have shifted in recent years to illustrate the intelligence and strength potential in young girls alongside their male counterparts.

 

If we continue this positive trend of exposure, and take advantage of our children’s play and screen time using tools such as these, we will continue to close the gender gap in our STEM careers in the future.

About The Author

Sara Kuzma-Stump has been a member of our team since 2005 working on the client services side of our business in various capacities.  She resides in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania with her husband, two children and her dog Einstein. Connect with her on LinkedIn or via email sstump@suburbantestinglabs.com

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#ThankAScienceTeacher

Do you remember your favorite teacher?  What impact did they have on your life?

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week 2018, which is your chance to #ThankATeacher.  Whether it’s a teacher you’ve had in the past, or a teacher that your child has now, this nationwide event gives us the opportunity to share our gratitude.

As an environmental laboratory, we understand the value and influence of educators in the STEM fields, and wanted to know more about the science teachers that influenced us.  We asked our team about their favorite science teacher growing up, and how they influenced their career choice in STEM.  Here’s what they had to say:

Sara DiGiampaolo, Laboratory Analyst, Inorganic Chemistry

His name was Mr. Katz. I had him for 5th grade general science.  Mr. Katz was my favorite Science Teacher because he made the subject fun. He had interesting and interactive experiments for us just about every day. He was also very friendly and easy to learn from.  He played a huge role in my love for science. If it wasn’t for him, the class, and his awesome experiments I would probably not have followed my passion for the subject. I thank him a lot for the influence he had on my career choice.

Kelly Mays, Project Manager

Miss Neil – 4th Grade. While I had some really great science teachers, from whom I learned so much (chemistry, physics throughout high school and college), Miss Neil’s 4th grade science class was where I remember falling in love with the subject. We covered weather, the solar system, we hatched baby chicks, all of those fascinating topics.  Her class really made me want to learn more about how the universe worked.  She clearly loved science, and that enthusiasm rubbed off on her students.  It led me to want to take more advanced science classes, and I eventually majored in Atmospheric Science in college, and went on to get a Masters in Atmospheric Science with a specialty in atmospheric chemistry.

Carrie Miller, Quality Assurance

Mrs. McConnell, grade 10, Chemistry.  She ran Science in Motion, a local college’s high school science program (and I eventually attended that college for chemistry).  She was inspiring with her patience and passion for teaching.  She was a role model for me as a female in science. I took Chem I, Chem II and Chem III with her – Chem III was an independent study so I worked very closely with her.  Coincidentally the independent study that I did was based on water hardness and how it affects appliances in the home.  Now I’m working in environmental science!

Elizabeth Shultz, Director of Operations

Mr. (Jim) Marshall—high school chemistry. He made science fun and incorporated it into everyday life.  He was passionate about science and teaching. A friend and I once got extra credit for a project on how many licks it took to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop.  It wasn’t overly scientific, but we applied scientific theories into the experiment.  He allowed us to organize the experiment, gather data from the rest of the class, and come up with a conclusion with the average number…and free candy for all!   Although I went to school for Biology, he helped me appreciate science and just made learning fun!

Allyse Van Zee, Client Services Director

Mr. Hawk, 11th and 12th  Grade.   Mr. Hawk taught Anatomy and Environmental Science.  He was always playing jokes on students and made coming to his class fun.  He always called me by my big sister’s name to make me mad!   I decided to study Environmental Science because I loved learning about the natural world around me, being able to identify plants and animals and enjoy myself outside.  Mr. Hawk made everything so fun.  And now I can name a lot of the common Pennsylvania birds!

Go online today and recognize your favorite science teacher using #ThankAScienceTeacher.

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