Melbourne's COVID lockdown in 2020 has been identified as one of the longest and strictest in the world. Through it all, Melbourne demonstrated its resilience, as a society and as a workforce. For businesses, including Envirolab Services Melbourne, which operated as an essential services provider, each team member can only be admired for how they diligently and tirelessly adjusted to changes in what became termed as the “new normal.”
In a recent “virtual coffee chat” with Chris De Luca, Operations Manager of our Melbourne lab, we briefly discussed some of the interesting projects he has been involved in over the last year – some of these projects resulted from these changes to the business’ operating conditions whilst the laboratory remained focused on meeting client needs in the delivery of environmental contamination testing services.
A little about Chris’ career to date
Before we do dive into the discussion, let's first take a step back and quickly cover a little background about Chris as a valued member of the team. Chris has over 15 years’ experience in all sections of a commercial laboratory in the areas of Inorganics, Metals, Organics as well as Sample Receipt and Reporting.
Since joining Envirolab Melbourne in 2014 as a Senior Analytical Chemist, Chris was promoted in 2019 to his current role of Operations Manager. Chris is also a NATA Accredited signatory for the Melbourne laboratory and has an excellent understanding of a range of regulatory requirements for contaminated land, WHS (workplace health and safety), and various other areas in the environmental sector.
What have you recently been working on?
Chris explained that it has been rewarding to see some of his hobbies now being part of the client enquiries. Again, as some additional background, Chris is known as the Melbourne lab’s coffee connoisseur. He is also a passionate supporter of the AFL team, Carlton (and Inter Milan!) and enjoys dabbling in brewing craft beer and cider from the nine apple trees growing in his backyard.
So naturally, with the rise of home brewing during the COVID lockdown, it’s no surprise that Chris leapt at the opportunity to assist client queries relating to home brewing water testing and the monitoring of the aesthetic quality of craft beer and cider.
Chris explained, “Brewing beer involves microbial activity at every stage, from the production of raw material and malting to stability in the package.”
“During the many months of the strict COVID lockdown restrictions here in Melbourne in 2020, we experienced an increase in lab testing enquiries for home brewing – even from other locations in Australia too where we have been assisting a mix of clients – that is, in addition to existing brewers monitoring their beer development, we are conducting sample testing for some who are trying their hand at home brewing for the first time and then there are a few others returning after being away for some time.”
“It’s great to see so much interest over the last year and perhaps we’ll soon see a new wave of craft brewers start to emerge over the course of 2021.”
Chris at the Melbourne lab
Do you need to test for organisms or other characteristics that affect the taste, colour and quality of your craft beer or cider?
Need to provide quality assurance for your final product?
Whether you're an occasional brewer, small scale gypsy brewer or entrepreneur looking to upscale your beer brewing into a commercial success, there are a number of different tests available and tailored specifically to individual needs. Chris and the team can routinely test product samples that assist with more informed decision-making that safeguards the quality of your beer. They can test for many chemical and microbiological parameters including pH monitoring, alkalinity, TDS (total dissolved solids), to name a few.
Need more information or help?
Still not sure where to begin or what you need to test for?
One major hurdle is not having fast and accurate reporting throughout the brewing process. The Envirolab fact sheet on home brewing water testing provides information on some of the chemical and microbiological parameters that Chris and the team can test. There is also information on how to send a sample for testing. Alternatively, get in touch with Chris and the team today.
Get in touch >
Download the Envirolab fact sheet on home brewing water testing >
Tell us about any upcoming projects
With a growing interest and demand for more sustainable farming methods, Chris explained that there continues to be a rise in related client queries, for instance, herbicide contamination in the soil, testing for the presence of metals including lead and the quality of drinking water.
“As a keen gardener with a particular interest in companion planting and applying organic methods of growing, it’s also quite satisfying to apply my passion for gardening with my professional expertise in chemistry, which in turn provides a more complete understanding and therefore, a better level of service for our clients.”
For more information on environmental contamination testing services, contact us today!