The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), Australia’s national accreditation body for laboratories, inspection bodies and calibration services, has granted accreditation to an innovative automated microbial detection system for use at the Tamworth Environmental Laboratory.

The Tamworth Environmental Laboratory primarily offers environmental testing services to the North West, Northern Tablelands and Liverpool Plains regions of New South Wales.

Previously, the regionally located laboratory outsourced its micro samples to an external lab. This process meant it would take several days to receive results which caused delays for both the laboratory and its customers.

In May 2018, the Tamworth Laboratory received NATA accreditation to use Canadian technology from Tecta-PDS in order to automate its water testing for e-Coli and total Coliforms.

James Anderson, Senior Laboratory Technician at Tamworth Environmental Laboratory, said, “The requirement for timely microbiological analysis for drinking water was identified as a public health issue in our region and Tecta B16 provided the solution with the added benefits over other methodologies of rapid detection and notification.”

The automated advantage

The Tecta-PDS automated microbial detection system, Tecta B16, is the only US EPA approved automated method for drinking water compliance testing. It is available in Australia through Tecta-PDS’ regional distributor, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The system is a complete, self-contained automated microbiology testing system capable of providing laboratory-grade results on-site with unprecedented time-to-result performance.

The complete testing capabilities include the interpretation of results and full reports which provides lab-grade quality results instantly via email.

Full automation of the test analysis and interpretation processes eliminates the need for subjective, visual interpretation of results.

This means that non-technical personnel can initiate testing and perform all required quality assurance procedures while still ensuring laboratory-grade test results.

Other benefits and features include:

  • Rapid alerting with no fixed incubation delay
  • High reliability with minimal handling of samples
  • High dynamic range eliminates need for multiple dilutions
  • Direct testing of turbid samples
  • An objective, written test report is produced for each sample tested
  • Industry standard enzyme indicators of target bacteria
  • Self-contained desktop packaging with touchscreen control

Creating measurable results

By using the Tecta B16 instrument, Tamworth Laboratory has reduced its time-to-result by a minimum of one day, as well as lowering its shipping costs for samples.

From an operational perspective, Tamworth has embraced the ease-of-use and limited training required for a lab technician to run aseptic microbial samples.

Tim Adams, EVP Tecta-PDS, said, “This is a fantastic step forward in the Australian market. We are very proud to be adopted in over 35 countries and look forward to continuing to work closely together with Tamworth Laboratories and in Australia.”

This partner content is brought to you by Thermo Fisher Scientific.  For more information, visit

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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