Providing High Quality Analytical Data to Support EPA On-Site Response Activities

About this Program

A natural disaster, terrorist attack, major accident, or failed industrial operation can lead to severe health and environmental problems.  To improve EPA’s emergency response capabilities, the Agency tasked CSS with establishing a state-of-the-science mobile analytical laboratory system. We set up and operate 10 mobile laboratory units providing sample preparation, analysis, storage, and waste management areas. Working in these highly specialized units since 2009, CSS’ chemists analyze air, sediment, soil, water, swab, and wipe matrices collected from affected sites. We produce NELAC-compliant data in near-real time, speeding EPA’s ability to make decisions that protect first responders and improve site cleanup.

The mobile analytical units and our security-cleared chemists are capable of testing for both chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial chemicals. When not mobilized for a specific response or special security event, our chemists develop specialized analytical methods and standard operating procedures, and support EPA training programs. We also collaborate on response and research activities with EPA Regional staff, the National Homeland Security Research Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Department of Defense.

Mobile analytical units are ready to:

  • be on the road within 6 hours of notification from EPA
  • accept samples within 6 hours of arrival on site
  • Operate for 4 days without restocking/refueling
  • Process 100 samples per day
  • Operate on a 24-hour work cycle

The results of our analyses have been used to reduces turn-around for NELAC-compliant data to near-real time. This rapid availability of reliable data in turn speeds EPA’s ability to make decisions that protect first responders and speed site cleanup. 

Testimonials

Please extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who moved mountains (including moving through mountainsthese past weeks to get mobile lab support to California.”

Janet G. McCabe, Deputy Administrator, USEPA

I want to thank you for your commitment and hard work supporting the Red Hill Drinking Water Emergency. We’re serving a critical role in the response and yesterday we eclipsed the 1000 samples analyzed mark. Your support is being recognized bi-weekly by the most senior levels of EPA Region 9 and HQ leadership.”  

Edward Argenta, Jr., Branch Chief, Field Operations Branch, CBRN CMAD

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Get in touch

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