221554 New EPA laboratory network enhances water contamination response capability across the nation

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:35 PM - 5:55 PM

Pamela Bernard, MA , Office of Water, Water Security Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently made significant strides in expanding laboratory capacity across the country by launching the Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA). This network of public health, environmental, utility, and commercial laboratories provides analytical capabilities for water contamination incidents. Through comprehensive sample analyses of known or suspected water contamination, the WLA plays a vital role in protecting public health following catastrophic events, such as natural disasters. With the WLA launch, EPA has established a one-stop shop for public health agencies and public officials to locate laboratories with the ability to respond to public health issues involving drinking water. The WLA and ERLN are part of the larger Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) established by the federal government to enable response to major incidents that may require coordinated, multi-laboratory response.

In an effort to support Public Health and Water Sector preparedness, the WLA conducts Full-Scale and Table Top Exercises (FSEs and TTXs) to support laboratory emergency response preparedness. These exercises are conducted to test integration of WLA Response Plan (WLA-RP) and other federal network emergency response procedures, and to provide opportunities to practice multi-regional coordination during large-scale incidents. These exercises allow participants to practice procedures related to providing support to an environmental and public health incident that includes communication, coordination, and data reporting; and for FSEs, actual sample analyses.

This presentation will provide a general overview of the WLA, lessons learned from WLA exercises, and a review of valuable EPA tools and resources.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain WLA program overview. 2. Describe benefits of the WLA for the public health community.

Keywords: Drinking Water Quality, EPA

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Science & Technology Lead and Training Development and Outreach Lead for EPAís Water Security Divisionís Water Laboratory Alliance Team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.