By Christine Graf
Capital Region Environmental Lab, a full-service water testing lab, recently opened a satellite office at Suite 231 of 7 Hemphill Place (Parade Ground Village) in Malta.
The Rensselaer-based company is owned by Brian Collins and Erika LaPorta.
A state and EPA approved environmental laboratory, the company tests drinking water and non-potable water.
“We specialize in drinking water. We do bacteriological testing, we do minerals and metals analyses, we do organic chemical testing and so forth,” said Collins.
The company’s clients include local and state health departments, municipalities, and local business and restaurant owners. Private homeowners also make up a large portion of their customer base.
The Malta satellite office is for sample drop offs only and was opened due to customer demand.
“We have some very good clients in that area, and they asked if we could open another facility to make it more convenient to drop off samples,” said Collins. “Right now, we do not do any testing there. If we decide to do that, we need to apply to the state for certification and approval.”
Since opening the Malta office, the company has seen an uptick in new business in Saratoga County.
“We picked up a big client which has been really helpful for us,” said Collins. “We also picked up some mobile home parks and a lot of private residences.”
As they look to the future, Collins said he and LaPorta are considering opening an office in Dutchess County or Greene County.
“There’s not a lot of lab presence in that area. That would be in the future. We are settling into our Malta location, and our biggest challenge right now is just getting the word out about what we do and acquiring new business.”
The company’s Malta location is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.crenvlab.com.
A military veteran, Collins has a degree in chemistry and more than 30 years of environmental laboratory experience. LaPorta holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from SUNY Albany. She and Collins met working at Bender Laboratory, a water testing lab operated by St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.
In 2020, St. Peter’s announced plans to sell the lab after deciding to exit the environmental testing arena. Collins and LaPorta purchased the business from the hospital in October 2020 and renamed it Capital Region Environmental Lab.
The majority of the company’s 10 employees were previously employed by Bender Laboratory. Chemists, environmental scientists, and clinical laboratory technologists make up the majority of the staff.
“We do a lot of private resident testing,” said Collins. “A lot of times, when you turn the news on, you will see stories about water concerns. That prompts people to give us a call. They may just want their water tested or they may have specific problems—smells, discoloration in the water—or somebody in their family is sick and they are concerned. We field a lot of questions from a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons.”
All the testing is done in the company’s 2,200-square-foot facility that is located across the Hudson River from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.