EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance and Environmental Response Laboratory Network
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EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance and Environmental Response Laboratory Network. Independent Testing Laboratory Association June 16 2010. Objectives For Today. Provide an overview of the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN)

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EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance and Environmental Response Laboratory Network

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EPA’s Water Laboratory Alliance and Environmental Response Laboratory Network

Independent Testing Laboratory Association

June 16 2010

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Objectives For Today

  • Provide an overview of the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN)

  • Explain what the Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is and how it fits into the ICLN

  • Explore the Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA), its role under the ERLN, and how environmental laboratories are involved in the network

  • Understand EPA’s Water Security Tools

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National Laboratory Initiatives

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Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN)

ICLN created in response to:

Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPDs)

Need for agency coordination

Goal: Create a U.S. Homeland Security infrastructure that would provide an interoperable system of (Federal) laboratory response networks

ICLN is hosted by Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

ICLN was created in 2005

Ten federal agencies are signatories: USDA, DoC, DoD, DoE, HHS, DHS, DoL, DoJ, DoS, and EPA

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Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN)

Joint Leadership Council (JLC)

(Assistant Secretary Level)

DHS Chair


Technical Experts

Network Coordinating Group (NCG)

DHS Chair

Exec Sec



National Animal Health Laboratory Network

NPDNNational Plant Diagnostic Network


Food Emergency Response Network


Environmental Response Laboratory Network


Laboratory Response Network

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Responsible Federal Agency Matrix

White: capability is/can be established within the department.

Green: capability in place through agreements.

Yellow: capability not in place, agreements needed.

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What is the ERLN ?

  • Network of Federal, Public, and Commercial Laboratories

  • Member of the ICLN

  • Addresses chemical, radiological, and limited biological threats during environmental responses and nationally significant incidents

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What does the ERLN Do?

  • Provides an all hazards/all environmental media laboratory network

    • Chemical Agents (including toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents)

    • Biological Agents (no select agents)

    • Radiological Agents

  • Addresses preparedness, response, remediation, and recovery activities

  • Sets procedures/practices that allow for day-to-day use in order to seamlessly support incidents of any scale

  • Organizes a network of laboratories with known quality

  • Provides support to the response community

  • Operates under Incident Command System (ICS) structures

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ERLN - Phase 1


Phase 1: 18 member laboratories

  • 15 EPA Regional and Program Laboratories

    • Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10

    • NAREL

    • NEIC

    • Pesticides Environmental Chemistry Branch

    • Pesticides Microbiology Laboratory Branch

    • Pesticides Analytical Chemistry Branch

    • R&IE National Laboratory

  • 2 State Laboratories

    • FL DEP

    • VA DCLS

  • 1 Federal Laboratory

    • LLNL

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ERLN - Phase 2


PHASE 2 solicitation (September 2009): Open for State, Federal, local, and commercial laboratories

  • Goals:

    • Build a comprehensive list of laboratories and capabilities

    • Enhanced national capacity for environmental analyses

    • Analytical Service Requester (ASR) has more laboratory alternatives to best meet their needs

  • Anticipated Membership: Could include over 700 laboratories

    • Easily accessible information: Launch of ERLN Website (www.epa.gov/erln)

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ERLN Tools

Laboratory Compendium

EPA’s Compendium of Environmental Testing Laboratories (Laboratory Compendium) - an online database of environmental laboratories containing each laboratory's specific capabilities to analyze chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants (www.epa.gov/erln)

Standardized Analytical Methods

Standardized Analytical Methods for Environmental Restoration Following Homeland Security Events (SAM) identifies analytical methods to be used by laboratories tasked with performing analyses of environmental samples following a homeland security event.(http://www.epa.gov/sam)


The Web-based Electronic Data Review (WebEDR) application performs automated data evaluation of ERLN electronic data deliverables (EDDs) against specified measurement quality objectives (MQOs)

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What is the WLA?

The Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) provides the Water Sector with an integrated nationwide network of laboratories

The WLA is composed of drinking water, public health, environmental, and select commercial laboratories

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The WLA is Part of the ERLN

The WLA focuses solely on water and is an integral part of EPA’s ERLN

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Why Create the Water Laboratory Alliance?

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What does the WLA Address?

  • This network of laboratories offers capabilities and capacity to analyze drinking water in the event of:

    • natural,

    • intentional, or

    • unintentional water contamination

  • Involving:

    • chemical,

    • biological, or

    • radiochemical contaminants

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Actual Contamination Incidents

  • Alamosa, Colorado (Salmonella)

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Cryptosporidium)

  • Blackstone, Massachusetts (Intentional contamination)

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Alamosa, Colorado

  • Alamosa, Colorado (Salmonella)

    • More than 200 residents may have been sickened (at least 68 confirmed sick through laboratory tests, and 12 were hospitalized)

    • Bottled water and boil water advisories issued by public health department

    • Water system flushed with concentrated chlorine (system closed for 1 week)

    • Source of contamination may have been animal waste that found its way into a water storage tank

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Cryptosporidium)

    • 1993 incident is probably the largest waterborne disease outbreak documented in U.S.

      • hundreds of thousands sickened; more than 100 deaths

    • Clinical manifestations included watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever,and vomiting

    • Cryptosporidium oocysts apparently passed through the filtration system of a water-treatment plant; pathogen source never confirmed

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Blackstone, Massachusetts

  • Blackstone, Massachusetts (Intentional contamination)

    • Vandals broke into property and accessed water storage tank

    • Empty 5-gallon container found on top of tank (contents unknown)

    • Do not use advisory issued; schools closed

    • System flushed water mains

    • Contamination determined to not be serious

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Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan

  • Establishes a national, comprehensive laboratory response approach to drinking water contamination events

  • Provides laboratories with a structure for a systematic, coordinated response to a drinking water contamination incident

  • Scalable to address evolution of an incident from initial response to full ICS for a significant event

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Validated by Exercises

  • The WLA-RP was developed based on similar elements of 11 regional laboratory response plans (RLRPs)

  • The RLRPs were tested and refined through 11 Table Top Exercises (TTXs)

  • The revised RLRPs were further tested through the 11 functional exercises

  • The WLA-RP was tested through a Full-Scale Exercise (FSE) of laboratory response

  • The WLA-RP will be the featured topic of the 2010 WLA Security Summit TTX - June 16-17, 2010 in San Francisco

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WLA-RP Elements

  • Laboratory roles and responsibilities, including support to first responders

  • Laboratory coordination

  • Communication and logistics

  • Sample brokerage, tracking, and transport

  • Sample analyses – field screening, rapid, and confirmatory

  • QA/QC

  • Chain of custody

  • Data review and validation

  • Data reporting and storage

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WLA Resources and Tools

  • Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT)

  • Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water

  • Web site of water tools and protocols


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Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT)

  • Password-protected on-line database with information for contaminants of concern that pose a serious threat if introduced into drinking water and/or wastewater

  • Provides drinking water-specific data compiled in a single location that can be accessed by the water sector to plan for and respond to drinking water contamination incidents

  • Recently added nine new contaminants

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How Can WCIT Be Used?

Prevention Before

Contamination Events



After a

Contamination Event


Threat Discovery/

Threat Assessment

Response During a

Contamination Event

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Sampling Guidance

Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water

  • Integrates sample collection, preservation, and transport procedures

  • Provides an example of what is required for a comprehensive sampling program

  • Supplements emergency response plans

  • Includes helpful resources, including approaches to collaborate with other agencies

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Contamination Scenario

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Contamination Scenario

  • Utility, 911, and hospitals receive calls, complaints

    • Water smells of sulfur or “rotten eggs”

  • Reported symptoms:

    • Blurred vision

    • Headaches

    • Breathing difficulties

    • Vomiting/diarrhea

    • Convulsions

    • Cognitive impairment

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Information needed for this Scenario

  • Medical

  • Availability

  • Contaminant Profile

  • Fate and Transport Information

  • Toxicity/Medical Information

  • Analytical and Screening Methods

  • Treatment Method

  • Infrastructure Decontamination Procedures

  • Risk Communication

  • Risk Calculation

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Contamination Response

In this hypothetical contamination scenario WCIT will provide information to the following entities:

  • Emergency Responders – Field Methods

  • Medical and Public Health Officials – Toxicity Information

  • Laboratories – Analysis information

  • Water Utilities – Treatment and Decontamination

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Search for the Contaminant

Lannate SP

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Search Results

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Contaminant Profile

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Obtain Laboratory Methods

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Obtain Laboratory Methods: NEMI-CBR

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Obtain Laboratory Methods: NEMI-CBR

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Laboratory Compendium

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Laboratory Compendium

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Laboratory Compendium

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Laboratory Compendium

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Why should labs become members?

Improved preparedness for analytical support to respond to any emergency situation

Opportunity to participate in emergency response preparedness exercises

Partnership with neighboring laboratories to support surge capacity needs

Improved communications with peer laboratories

Knowledge of neighboring laboratory analytical capability and available personnel

Priority access to EPA water security-related training opportunities


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Criteria to participate in ERLN/WLA

Quality Management System

National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025

Drinking Water Certification

Agreement to use ERLN methods

Use reporting requirements

Have data and information security

Participate in proficiency testing program

Submit to audits as appropriate

Meet laboratory specific health and safety requirements

Participate in Laboratory Compendium

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June 25, 2010


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Contact Information


For comments and questions on the WLA, please contact:

Pamela Bernard, US EPAOffice of Ground Water and Drinking WaterPhone: 202-564-1094E-Mail: bernard.pamela@epa.gov

For comments and questions on the ERLN, please contact:

Schatzi Fitz-James, US EPAOffice of Emergency ManagementPhone: 202-564-2521E-Mail: fitz-james.schatzi@epa.gov



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Regional Contact Information

Ernest Waterman, USEPA

New England Regional Laboratory

Phone: 617-918-8632

E-Mail: waterman.ernest@epa.gov

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