General lab policies

Access to the lab

  • We are happy to offer training to any student (or researcher) who brings samples to the lab for analysis.
  • The Lab will analyse samples for any person or Country provided that the data will be used for lawful research, study or business purposes.
  • Appointments must be made with lab personnel for training or use of equipment. Please call or email us.

Conditions of access

  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training must be taken before being allowed to work in the Lab. This training can be done at any time on-line (WHMIS).

  • For our students: the Laboratory Safety Training course must be taken as soon as possible. This is a class offered periodically by the Office of the Chief Risk Officer. Please check their website for the next available class.
  • Instructions from Lab personnel as well as basic lab safety procedures must be followed. Any person failing to do so risks being banned from the Lab.
  • In some cases, liability insurance may need to be obtained.

Basic lab safety

  • Long pants or full-length skirts and closed shoes must be worn in the labs. No shorts, capris, shorter skirts, sandals, heels, etc.
  • Clean footwear must be worn in the labs. When the weather is inclement, bring a pair of indoor shoes.
  • Wear proper protection (safety glasses, lab coat, etc.) as instructed.
  • Use proper disposal procedures as instructed.
  • ASK if you are unsure! There are no stupid questions; only stupid mistakes.


  • You must obtain permission and/or approval from your supervisor(s) before submitting samples for analysis.
  • uOttawa students must obtain the FOAP (cost centre) to be invoiced when submitting a project (the supervisor will be contacted for final approval at the time of billing).
  • The Lab is not a storage facility. You are responsible for bringing your samples for a booking, and taking them away again afterwards.
  • Please take notes when personnel are demonstrating a technique or procedure.
  • Please bring along any materials or sample containers (such as vials) needed that are not included in the price of analysis. Please ASK when you make your booking.

Turn around time

  • In general the Lab asks students and researchers to plan for a 2-3 month turn around time. Often the time is much less.
  • 4th year student projects are given priority due to the very limited time constraint.
  • “Rush” projects (at additional charge) are given priority over all other analyses.
  • Otherwise, projects are generally put into a queue as the submission files arrive and are approved. Your project does not exist until the submission file is approved and you have received a reference number.
  • Special consideration for conference or other deadlines may be possible with sufficient advance notice. Rush fees will apply without sufficient advance notice.
  • Some instruments are used for more than one type of analysis. Samples are grouped until there are enough to warrant switching to that type of analysis.

Invoicing (see also billing)

  • A minimum charge is applicable to all projects: internal: 25$, NSERC/CanGov: 35$, Private/Others: 50$.
  • In general, invoices are prepared and sent out by e-mail after the analyses have been completed and results emailed.
  • Pre-invoicing is in effect for clients outside Canada. An invoice is prepared after the Lab has received the submission file and samples. Extra charges may be applied afterwards if there are unexpected problems.
  • Clients who do not pay their invoices in a timely manner may be denied final data until the outstanding invoice(s) are settled.

Sample retention

  • Keep in mind that the lab does not return samples. Send only the quantity required for a given analysis (a sub-sample).
  • Most sample material will be retained for 6 months after completion of the analyses, then they are disposed of following the university policies of waste disposal.
  • TIC/TOC or DIC/DOC waters will only be retained for a short time. We have very little storage space in our refrigerators; also, the inorganic C is no longer good after a vial has been analysed. Please contact us immediately if you have any questions or concerns regarding you data.
  • Important information regarding disposal must be included in the submission file (e.g. addition of HgCl2 to waters; contain H2S).