South Dakota 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. 

These standards are owned by the South Dakota Metrology Lab and serve as the basis for ensuring equity in the marketplace. They’re also reference standards for calibration in the state's weights and measurement program, service providers and industry. For questions, contact us or call (605) 347-7541.

See photos of the new Metrology Lab in Sturgis, SD.

NIST Certificate of Metrological Traceability

Lab Quality System

The State Metrology Laboratory operates under a documented quality system. Standard operating procedures, good laboratory practices and good measurement practices used in the lab are provided by or approved for use by NIST.

The laboratory staff regularly participates in the Mid-Regional Measurement Assurance Program (MidMap), a regional measurement assurance group sponsored by the Weights and Measures Division of NIST to provide annual training and evaluation. The staff also regularly participates in "round robin" measurements proficiency tests coordinated by NIST.

Utilizing an extensive system of internal measurement assurance programs, the metrology lab maintains and verifies the values of working standards used to provide measurement services. The laboratory has demonstrated evidence of an unbroken chain of metrological traceability, documented measurement uncertainties, documented calibration intervals and operates under a certificate of Metrological Traceability issued by NIST.



Calibration reports issued by the metrology lab include:

  • Measurement results and associated uncertainties
  • A traceability statement that the laboratory standards are traceable to national standards
  • 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 1 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


Scheduling & Fees

Calibration services must be scheduled, usually 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 turn around items within the same week they are received.

All standards delivered to the metrology laboratory must be clean, painted (where necessary) and in good repair. Cleaning and/or repair of standards in the metrology laboratory will add considerably to the calibration cost.

The metrology lab fee is $96.00/hour. See inspection fees for more information.



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 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. You must call in advance if you 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.

Items can be shipped to:

State Metrology Laboratory
1100 Otter Road, Bldg D
Sturgis, SD 57785

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