Weight standards image

Metrology Lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was funded by Congress in 1965 to provide each of the states with a set of standards to promote uniformity in weights and measures throughout the United States and the world.  South Dakota became custodians of the state's level measurement standards on September 20, 1971.  These standards serve as the basis for ensuring equity in the marketplace and as reference standards for calibration services for the state's weights and measurement program, service providers, and industry.

South Dakota Office of Weights and Measures

State Metrology Laboratory

Office:  118 West Capitol Avenue

Lab Location:  1500 North Garfield Avenue (Highway 14 Bypass)

Pierre, SD 57501

State Metrologist:  Ron Peterson


Lab:  605.773.3170

Cell:  605.280.4572

Fax:  605.773.6631

Lab quality system:  The State Metrology Laboratory operates under a documented quality system that includes components of ISO 17025 and NIST Handbook 143. Standard operating procedures, good laboratory practices, and good measurement practices used in the lab are provided by or have been approved for use by NIST. The laboratory staff regularly participates in the Mid-Regional Measurement Assurance Program (MidMap) which is a regional measurement assurance group sponsored by the Weights and Measures Division of NIST to provide annual training and evaluation. Laboratory staff regularly participates in "round robin" measurements proficiency tests coordinated by NIST. The laboratory also utilizes an extensive system of internal measurement assurance programs including control charts and technical audits to maintain and verify the values of working standards used to provide measurement services. The laboratory has demonstrated evidence of an unbroken chain of metrological traceability, has documented measurement uncertainties, has documented calibration intervals, and operates under a certificate of Metrological Traceability issued by NIST.

Lab capabilities:  The laboratory-issued calibration reports include:  measurement results and associated uncertainties, a traceability statement that the laboratory standards are traceable to national standards; and an uncertainty statement explaining the coverage factor and confidence level used in determining the uncertainties.  The lab is currently recognized by NIST to perform calibrations in the following areas:

            Mass Echelon III

  • 30 kg to 100 mg

  • 1000 lb to 0.001 lb

  •  8 oz to 0.03125 oz

  • Weight carts 2000 lb to 4000 lb


            Volume Echelon II

  • 5 gallon

Lab scheduling:  Calibration services must be scheduled.  The laboratory typically schedules one to two months in advance.  Small quantities and singular items can normally be worked into the schedule with less notice.  The lab's goal is to turnaround items within the same week they are received.

Lab Fees:  South Dakota fee schedule is outlined in SDCL 37-21A-7 and is $96.00 per hour.

Lab recommendations:  All standards delivered to the metrology laboratory must be clean, and where necessary painted, and in good repair.  Cleaning and/or repair of standards in the metrology laboratory will add considerable to the calibration cost.

Mass Standards

  • Cast iron weights should be free of rust, loose paint, and adhering debris

  • Cast iron weights should be painted with a light coat of aluminum paint (aluminum for avoirdupois and gold for metric weights)  Do not use epoxy or enamel paints

  • Stainless steel weights can be wiped down with an ethanol-dampened rag

  • If 'as found' values are desired before painting, two tests may be required.  In this case contact the laboratory prior to cleaning and painting

Volumetric Standards

  • 5-gallon field test measures must be cleaned inside and out with a mild detergent

  • Make sure the glass gauge tube is clean and the gauge scale plate is readable

  • Provers and test measures cannot be tested if they are received with leaks, large dents, or badly corroded interiors



It is the customer's responsibility to arrange shipment of their standards to and from the laboratory.  The customer must call in advance if they are going to hand-carry items to the laboratory.  Large items shipped by commercial trucking must use pallets and the lab must be informed of expected arrival date and time.  Small individual items packed in shipping boxes should be wrapped well or protected with appropriate packing materials.  Foam peanuts are not acceptable.  Small weight kits should be secured to prevent opening during shipment.

Links to Handbooks

NIST Handbook 44  Specification, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices (2015 edition, as adopted by South Dakota)

NIST Handbook 130  Uniform Laws and Regulations in the Areas of Legal Metrology and Engine Fuel Quality (2015 edition, as adopted by South Dakota)

NIST Handbook 133 Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods (2015 edition, as adopted by South Dakota)