United States
Environmental Protection
Andrew W. Breidenbach    April 1990
Environmental Research Center
Andrew W. Breidenbach
Environmental Research


                                                 The Andrew W. Breidenbach
                                         Environmental Research Center-
                                         Cincinnati, houses research laborato-
                                         ries, training facilities and adminis-
                                         trative offices. The ten-story structure
                                         is located at 26 West Martin Luther
                                         King Drive. The Center is named
                                         after its first director, Dr. Andrew W.
                                                 From 1975 until his retire-
                                         ment in March 1978, he served as
EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water and Hazardous Materials. Having a
distinguished career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its
predecessor organizations, Dr. Breidenbach will be remembered as a dedicated
leader in many facets of environmental protection.

        The history of environ-
mental research in Cincinnati
reaches back to the turn of the
century. In 1912 the first water
pollution laboratory in the
United States was established
here, in the Kilgour Mansion,
near the banks of the Ohio River.
                                 1912 - Third and Kilgour Streets - Congress established the first water pollution
                                                                            By 1966 the Robert A.
                                                                   Taft Sanitary Engineering
                                                                   Center on Columbia Parkway
                                                                   had established a reputation for
                                                                   its work in wastewater treat-
                                                                   ment, water supply control, air
                                                                   pollution, radiation, and food
                                                                   protection for the Public Health
                                                                   Service and HEW. In effect, most
                                                                   of the federal government's
                                                                   major environmental research
                                                                   began here. In that year water
                                                                   pollution control endeavors at
                                                                   Taft and across the country came
                                                                   under the management of the
                                                                   Department of the Interior's
                                                                   Federal Water Pollution Control
2948 - Robert A, Taft Sanitary Engineering Center used for research in air pollution,
water pollution control, radiation and food protection by the Public Health Service and
Department of Health Education and Welfare.
        In 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established, organizing activities under the
areas of wastewater treatment, drinking water, solid waste, radiation, air pollution control, industrial
wastes/mine pollution control, and analytical quality control. The Taft Center remained the major EPA
research facility and was responsible for wastewater research. Other EPA facilities were scattered
throughout the city.

                                                                            In 1975 the Environ-
                                                                    mental Research Center was
                                                                    constructed on a 22 acre site
                                                                    donated by the City of Cincin-
                                                                    nati. The property lies adjacent to
                                                                    the main campus of the Univer-
                                                                    sity of Cincinnati and near a
                                                                    major hospital/medical research
                                                                    complex. The building was com-
                                                                    pleted at a cost of 28 million
                                                                    dollars and was dedicated in
                                                                    1975 by President Gerald R. Ford.
                                                                            The Center is one of two
                                                                    major EPA research centers in
                                                                    the nation.
                       t«VI«OHMtl»TAl PROTECTION  AGENCY
                                              KHMCH «NTI«
1975 - Present facilt
                              ng the cutting edge of technology research for

The Andrew W. Breidenbach
...enhance the quality of
science which supports
environmental decisions
through conscientious,
effective planning and
conduct of experimental
Environmental Research Center
(AWBERC) is one of the U.S.
EPA’S largest research and
development facilities.
The primary mission of the U.S. Environmentai kro-
tection Agency Is to reduce the risks posed by pollutants to
public health and welfare and to natural ecosystems. Within
this context, the staff at AWBERC strives to provide scientific
information and data for Agency decision makers to help
them select cost-effective and environmentally safe means of
achieving environmental results in support of the Agency’s
regulatory responsibilities, and to advance the state of
knowledge on environmental problems not yet well
The work done at EPA - Cincinnati has helped to
establish the Center’s reputation as a world leader in water
research, AWBERC is also emerging as a center of excellence
in the field of hazardous waste management
Research and development completed at the Center
strives to answer these basic environmental questions:
Which pollutants are dangerous and how are we un-
knowingly exposed?
• At what levels do they become a threat to human health
and welfare?
• What are the health risks of being exposed to pollution?
Flow can you detect contamination in the water, air and
on the land?
What are the most effective ways to clean up and
eliminate further pollution?
How should we respond to emergency situations such as
chemical spills and releases?
Equally as important to finding these answers, the
Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center
assures that its findings are shared with other agencies and
environmental professionals who are actively involved in pro-
tecting the environment. The staff understands that it is every-
one’s duty —federal, state and local governments as well as
private citizens — to find and use innovative answers to
today’s environmental challenges.

Because the environment is such
an important issue today, many
people have come to rely on the
U.S. EPA for information and
Many groups such as other federal agencies, state
and local governments, and even private Industries need to
work closely with the EPA to help them improve our water,
air and land resources. The Office of the Senior Official for
Research and Development (OSORD) functions as the official
spokesperson for EPA in Cincinnati. It is through this office
that EPA in Cincinnati communicates with other organiza-
tions across the nation and around the world.
The OSORD initiates and directs AWBERC’a re-
sponse to the Federal Technology Transfer Act, fostering a
cooperative working relationship between the Center and
other government agencies, academic institutions and the
private sector with respect to research, development and
demonstration opportunities.
In addition to overall support for all research labora-
tories at EPA-Cincinnati, OSORD evaluates the effectiveness Who speaks for the
of AWBERC’s compliance with federal, state and local regula- EPA
tory requirements (RCRA, TSCA, SARA Title III, etc.) that
relate to the operation of Agency facilities associated with
AWBERC programs. The office oversees the activities of the
AWBERC Compliance Council in the identification and
review of health, safety and regulatory requirements and rec-
ommendation of appropriate actions.
The Support and Public Affairs Office, within the
OSORD, has the lead responsibility for planning and coordi-
nation of outreach programs at the AWBERC Including local
Congressional affairs, public information and community
relations, academia and training, media relations, the Speak-
ers Bureau, international and domestic visitors, intergovern-
mental relations, support services, and related programs.
OSORD is committed to increasing public awareness of
environmental concerns and provides local leadership in the
formulation, direction and implementation of the EPA
Institute Program at
AWBERC of other
technical and scientific
framing of agency
employees for State and
other personnel.
oversees the operation
of facilities such as the
Electron Microscope
Facility, the Media
Preparation Facility
and the Pathogenic
Suite. In these laborato-
ries, professionals from
EPA and other organizations collaborate to produce results
that seldom are achieved by working separately.

How do you test for
pollutants? Are some
tests better than others?
Are the laboratories
which test our water and
wastewater meeting
federal standards?
The Environmental Monitoring
Systems Laboratory (EMSL)
oversees the EPA’s quality
assurance program for water and
wastewater analysis.
EMSL is charged with developing and standardizing
chemical and biological tests which will be used by the EPA
Through years of experience, EPA realized the
necessity of having laboratories use similar tests and specifica-
tions when analyzing water and wastewater. Water analyzed
in California should be subjected to the same battery of tests
as the water in Maine. These tests must clearly detect and ac-
curately measure viruses, chemicals, and biological/microbio-
logical contaminants. It is EMSL’s responsibility to stipulate
which tests must be used and revise the tests to reflect new
Other agencies, private industry, or
academic institutions may present new methods of
testing or instruments to the EPA for consideration.
EMSL evaluates them for accuracy, suggests im-
provements, develops prototypes and produces
working models. Currently, EMSL scientists are
evaluating the use of “biomarkers” - a new method
which uses actual exposed tissue from living
organisms to measure contamination levels.
The Environmental Monitoring Systems
Laboratory in Cincinnati is the only EPA labora-
tory that certifies regional laboratories. They train
laboratory personnel and monitor the labs for
accuracy and conformity to certification standards.
In addition, EMSL produces manuals and hand-
books for laboratories, chemists, engineers and
others who need to know about current testing
A Particle-Beam Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry System is used
in the development of methods far the determination of toxic organic
environmental pollutants in situations where gas chromatography is not
Purple sea urchins such as this, from the west coast will
be used by EMSL scientists to study toxic effects of
surface water on reproduction.

The principal objective of the
Office of Drinking Water is to
assert national leadership to
assure that public drinking water
is of sufficient quality to protect
the public health.
Consistent with this objective, the Technical
Support Division (TSD), also located at the AWBERC,
assists In the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water
Act. of 1986, by supporting the development and implementa-
tion of drinking water regulations. Additionally, technical
assistance is provided to EPA regions, states, and to local
The TSD is composed of the Water Supply Technol-
ogy Branch (WSTB) and the Drinking Water Quality Assess-
ment Branch (DWQAB). The WSTB develops data and
provides engineering services through national surveys,
treatment technology studies, and technical assistance. As the
requirements for compliance with drinking water regulations
become more numerous and more complex, WSTB is focusing
on the development and delivery of specific information and
techniques to assist states and utilities in implementing these
The DWQAB provides information in the areas of
monitoring and analytical methods. It has fully operational
chemistry and microbiological laboratories, capable of
investigating a broad range of problems dealing with drink-
ing water contamination. This branch is developing monitor-
ing strategies to assess whether water utilities are in compli-
ance with existing regulations. Also, it is managing the
national laboratory certification implementation program and
Is Involved in developing analytical methods training pro-
The VG High Resolution Mass Spectrometer is used
to detect and identify extremely low con cent rations
of corn pounds in drinking water.
Once pollutants are
identified, and effective
methods for detecting
and treating them are
established, how can
states and smaller
communities begin to
conform to safe water
standards? Are the
regulations being
implemented? Is it
TSD Engineers and staff review corn prthensive performance etul uat ion results
from a community water system.

What can realistically be
The Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory (RREL)
is responsible for the planning, Implementation, and manage-
ment of research to provide an authoritative, defensible
engineering basis in support of the policies, programs, and
regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency with
respect to drinking water, wastewater, pesticides, toxic
substances, pollution prevention, solid and hazardous wastes,
and Superfund-related activities.
RREL research provides Invaluable Information to
states and cities regarding drinking water. The staff com-
pares treatment systems for effectiveness and cost. They
provide information which helps municipalities produce safe
drinking water. Disinfectants, which are essential to safe treat-
ment of drinking water, also produce by-products which
remain in the water. RREL studies ways to control the by-
RREL searches for cost effective ways to treat and
manage wastewater, including sludge, urban runoff and in-
dustrial discharges. At the Center, the RREL developed a
relatively inexpensive and rapid procedure for states to use to
determine which discharges are toxic. They also develop and
evaluate new technologies to treat wastewater. RREL investi-
gates methods for preventing pollution, thereby reducing
wastewater treatment needs.
For many yea
disposal of wastes Into the
ground were not controlled.
No one thought about the
long term effects this would
have on the land and under-
ground water supplies. Leaks
into the land, water and air
were posing serious threats to
the environment. Later, as we
became concerned about
resource conservation, some
regulations were enacted.
Approximately 27,000 hazard-
ous waste sites have been
identified and the Congress
has enacted “Superfund” leg-
islation to respond to the
need to clean up these
done to protect and
restore our environment?
Underground Storage Tank test ap ratus, Edison, New Jersey.
Rotating biological contactor designed to
utilize white rot fungus to treat synthetic and
actual woodtreating wastes.

What can be done about
Land and cleanup is a major focus of AWBERC’s
RREL staff. They are developing new disposal technologies to
meet government standards. They are investigating innova-
tive concepts such as the use of safe, natural organisms to
breakdown harmful pollutants. These methods could provide
the solution to many land pollution challenges.
At the Center Hill Facility, RREL conducts tests on
contaminated soil to determine if it can be treated and what
treatment would be most effective.
RREL oversees the operation of the Incineration
Research Facility in Jefferson, Arkansas where scientists are
looking for safe ways to burn hazardous wastes, organic
chemicals and metals and prevent their release into the air.
old landfills that contain
harmful wastes which are
threatening the land and
underground water
supplies? What will we
do to prevent further
damage to the land?
What can we do in case
of emergencies such as
chemical spills and
hazardous releases?
RREL supports Superfund activities by develop-
ing ways to prevent and contain hazardous releases.
They develop methods for regions and states to use to
evaluate sites. Their research reveals ways to manage
uncontrolled waste sites. The RREL manages the Super-
fund innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) program
which is designed to make it easier to devise and use new
treatment methods and monitoring techniques. The S1TE
program explores alternative disposal and cleanup
methods (38 new technologies in the first 4 years alone!).
The SiTE Program is instrumental In encouraging the
private sector to take advantage of the commercial oppor-
tunities of providing hazardous waste cleanup at Super-
fund sites.
RREL’s Superfund Technical Assistance Re-
sponse Team (START) provides on-call assistance for
Superfund activities. The findings of their treatability
studies are used to help decide which toxins can be
treated and how best to do it. They support RREL’s
Superfund cleanup activities by conducting research
which involves producing, storing and treating hazardous
To protect workers at hazardous waste sites
RREL evaluates and chooses protective clothing and res-
pirators. They have conducted research with robots to
eliminate exposure of humans to potential danger. These
findings have benefited other organizations whose
personnel face threats of contamination.
Center Hill researcher examines hazardous waste soil

What happens to all of
the EPA’S research
The Center for Environmental
Research Information (CERI)
bridges the gap between research
and implementation.
CERI’s Technology Transfer and Technical Informa-
tion staff oversee a vigorous program with the goal of collect-
ing research findings, reviewing documents for scientific in-
tegrity, and making the most important information available.
EPA regions, other federal agencies, state and local govern-
ments, and private industry make use of this information.
CERI publishes brochures, capsule and summary reports,
handbooks, newsletters, project reports and manuals. The
organization conducts regional workshops and seminars, con-
ferences and video teleconferences to share EPA data.
CERI continually seeks new ways to Improve
information delivery and utility. “Expert systems” are com-
puterized systems that bring considered knowledge of
technical experts to engineers who are responsible for design-
ing or correcting deficiencies in pollution control facilities.
Presently an expert system that will run on a personal
computer is being developed for municipal wastewater
treatment plants. By using the system, plant engineers can
evaluate and correct problems found in their facilities. The
same type of program will also be developed for drinking
water plants and solid waste disposal centers.
CERI is making full use of all com-
munication capabilities. An electronic
bulletin board quickly and inexpensively
distributes information. Optical disk tech-
nology will soon allow a library of informa-
tion to be shared rapidly and efficiently.

The Health Effects
Laboratory (HERL)
studies the effects of
at the Center
contaminants in drinking water
on human health.
A large number of
substances have been found in
water: asbestos, inorganic and
organic chemicals, bacteria,
viruses as well as by-products of
the chemicals (e.g. chlorine) used
to disinfect the waters. HERL
studies the link between the level
of contaminants in water and the
incidences of conditions such as
cancer, cardiovascular disease, re-
production problems and birth
defects. They also conduct research
directed to the setting of quality
standards for recreational water.
HERL research examines how we treat and dispose
of wastewater and sludge. The re-use of treated wastewater
and exposure to sludge must be carefully studied.
Airborne pollutants from cars, buses and other forms
of transportation as well as stationary sources such as
factories, can also affect human health. HERL studies these
effects and investigates the potential benefits of using fuel
alternatives, fuel additives and emission filters and
7. ,-
. /
Flow Cytometer is capable of high speed
quantitative suspension, and of sorting
specific precancerous cells.
What are the risks to
human beings associated
with exposure to water
pollutants? What level of
each pollutant can be
Triple Stage Quadru pole Gas Chroraalographf Mass Spectrometer is used
to identify and measure organic chemical contaminants and disinfection
by-products in drinking water.
term or permanent?
considered safe? At what
level are they dangerous?
Are the results short

What are acceptable
levels for the various
contaminants found in
the water, air and land
for the protection of
human health? Who sets
the standards?
The Environmental Criteria and
Assessment Office has the
responsibility for preparing
human health-based criteria and
assessment documents for
contaminants in the environment.
When a specific contaminant Is identified by the
Agency as a possible hazard, all available Information is
obtained by using data base searches of both national and
international literature. This information is then evaluated
and summarized. Documents are then prepared assessing the
health hazards of exposure. All assessments are subjected to a
peer review process and, when finalized, are utilized by the
Agency as supporting documentation for regulation and
ECAO also develops new methods for assessing risks
and uses gathered information to plan
future research strategies. At the Center,
ECAO developed a method for deriving
the human health criteria for ambient
water (e.g., lakes, rivers). This method
was applied to 129 priority pollutants and
is being used as a basis for setting
standards across the nation.
ECAO plays a key role In
prloritizlngSupe,fund sites using estab-
lished criteria for pollutants. ECAO’s
Superfund Technical Support Center acts
as a focal point of information for
Superfund sites, supplying data and information necessary to
those involved in the cleanup. ECAO also determines levels at
which the accidental release or spiii of hazardous waste must
be reported.
ECAO is the lead office in the Agency/or the devel-
opment and maintenance of the Integrated Information
System (IRIS) data base. This data base describes acceptable
levels of exposure to specific environmental contaminants,
both carcinogens and noncarcinogens. These levels have been
agreed upon by Agency-wide work groups, and as such, are
the concensus of the Agency.
Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) is an on-line data base developed
for EPA staff in response to a growing demand for consistent risk information
representing Agency consensus opinions on chemical substances for use in
decision-making and regulatory activities. Although designed for EPA staff, it
is also accessible to other government agencies, the public, state, local and
international commun ities. For additional information contact IRIS User
Support at (513)569-7254.

The Environmental Response
Team (ERT), Operations Support
Section, provides technical
assistance, when an urgent
response is required to contain
spill areas and prevent
downstream effects.
OSS/ERT, serves as a technical support group for
EPA regional offices regarding cleanup. The ERT trains
federal, state, municipal agencies and private industries to
deal with environmental emergencies. This organization
develops and distributes EPA’s QO1 manual covering health
and safety issues of chemical exposure.
The ERT/Operations Support Section, provides
technical assistance, when an urgent response is required to
contain spills or other chemical releases. OSS assists Super-
fund personnel to stabilize spill areas and prevent down-
stream effects, and serves as a technical support group for
EPA regional offices regarding cleanups.
ERT conducts continuous Emei ency Response Training at their River Road
Testing Station.

AWBERC’s Library
houses the largest
collection in EPA library
network including over
17,000 books, 200,000
technical reports, and an
advanced CD literary
search capability.
Administration of these diverse programs covering
so many aspects of environmental control and preservation is
a monumental task. Like any large organization, there are
many administrative responsibilities such as property man-
agement, computer services, accounting, personnel develop-
ment, and labor relations to name only a few. The Office of
Administration and Resources Management (OARM)
provides this administrative support for AWBERC and many
other EPA facilities across the United States. With their
expert services, the task of research, development and im-
plementation of environmental regulations is done more
The library at the Andrew W. Breldenbach Environ-
mental Research Center is a composite of the holdings, dating
from 1950, of the Public Health Service and the Federal Water
Pollution Control Administration. The facility was established
in 1971 and at one time served as the scientific and technical
focal point for all EPA libraries. It was moved to its present
location at the Center in 1976.
The Facilities Management and Services Division
serves the Center and other facilities by overseeing construc-
tion, major repair, communications, property and supply
management, shipping and receiving, transportation, safety
and security services. The Contracts Management Division
controls contracts for research and development in the Center
and others throughout the nation.
The library is open to the public and contractors for reference use only. Library hours are
8a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
AWBERC Computer Center serves as the Nat ional Disaster Recovery Site for
the Agency mainframe computer systems and is the secondary national site JbT
the Agency statistical analysis system. It houses the major telecommunications
node for the Agency and serves as the A WBERC Information Center.

Personnel matters are handled by the Human Re-
sources Management Division. This office supervises a
comprehensive management program for approximately 900
employees. They oversee employee benefits, retirement
counseling, career development, recruitment, labor relations,
performance evaluations, and help plan and formulate
personnel policy.
The Information Resources Management Division
provides invaluable services to support work being done at
AWBERC and to every other EPA facility. Information
support services are managed from this office. Their state-of-
the-art program provides one central source of information
covering all aspects of EPA research and development. They
operate the Computer Center which manages the Center’s
library, houses the major telecommunications node for the
EPA and operates the A WBERC’s Information Center. In
essence, they facilitate smooth exchange of information
throughout the entire EPA organization.
The Center’s Computer Center, under the manage-
ment of OARM, is responsible for support services for
mainframe and microcomputers, technical and management
consultation, library management with major database access
for literature searches, technical assistance, needs analysis,
training, and the Center’s telephone system.
j i I
I hj,

Like all federal government agencies, the Andrew W.
Breldenbach Environmental Research Center Is committed to
promoting equal employment opportunities for people of all
races, ages, creeds and physical disabilities. The Office of
Civil Rights (OCR) advises and assists personnel at the
Center and its off-site facilities regarding civil rights issues.
They are responsible for alerting young people to career
opportunities in the environmental field.
Clerical 14%
Technical 12%
Administrative 7%
To accomplish this important task OCR facilitates the
Minority Apprenticeship Program, Black Employment
Program and Hispanic Employment Program as well as other
programs for recruiting and career development of women.
OCR prepares the Center’s Affirmative Action Program Plans.
Composition of workforce:
Professional 63%
Others 4%”

The A.W. Breidenbach Environmental Research
Center, a 10-story, 200,000 square foot building, contains
some of the most sophisticated equipment and expert staff to
research, develop and support environmental activities. The
Center currently has a 1610 square foot Employee Weliness
Center on the premises and plans are underway for a Child
Care Center on the grounds. Its laboratories are equipped
with state-of-the-art instruments such as one of the most
powerful electron microscopes in existence. The Electron
Microscope Facility is currently used to detect lead in drink-
ing water and to analyze results of exposure to asbestos.
Hazardous wastes are tested and treated in the
newly completed Research Containment Facility for hazard-
ous waste. This facility is a self-contained, freestanding
facility that has an overall research area of 7,500 square feet. It
contains unparalleled safety features designed to protect its
employees and community. The PaThogenic Suite is the center
for research to detect and identify microorganisms in drinking
water. Here standardized methods for pathogen analysis
(sources of disease) are developed. The Center also maintains
and operates six mobile treatment units which are able to be
sent to areas of contamination. They are used to study
treatment of industrial wastewaters, sludges, sediments and
certain liquid wastes. The Center also operates Drinking
Water Pilot Plants which evaluate such drinking water
treatment alternatives as chlorination, activated carbon,
filtration, diffused air aeration, packed column air stripping
and ozonation.
The Center also oversees several offsite laboratories:
The Test and Evaluation Facility adjacent to a municipal
wastewater treatment plant in the community provides the
EPA with the ability to study wastewater treatment needs and
to test new treatment methods. This facility houses compo-
nents of the RREL and is available for Agency wide use for
studying wastewater treatment. Here the EPA works with
both private and public agencies to find usable and innovative
answers to wastewater problems.
The Electron Microscope can detect asbestos fibei-s with its capability of 250,000 X
Full Containment Facil ity for Hazardous
Wastes. In 1989 EPA Cincinnati corn pletr4
construction of a special ized facility for
evaluating methods to test and treat
hazardous wastes. This state-of-the-art
facility, unique in the nation, includes
maximum safety features to preclude
ex esure of employees or the surrounding
environment to hazardous chemicals.

The Center Hill Research Facility nearby is the site
of research and development activities on landfills, contami-
nated soil and ground water remediation, expert systems and
the disposal of ash from municipal waste incinerators. Here
the RREL conducts tests on stabilization of hazardous waste
and on-site treatment processes.
The Fish Toxicology Research Facility in Newtown,
Ohio conducts and supports research on living aquatic
organisms that have been exposed to pollutants. EMSL uses
this facility in the evaluation of aquatic testing procedures.
The Incineration Research Facility in Jefferson,
Arkansas is responsible for finding techniques to improve
waste burning methods for eliminating hazardous wastes,
organic chemical mixtures and metals.
The Releases Control Branch (RCB) in Edison, New
Jersey develops equipment and methods to clean up hazard-
ous wastes and chemicals which have been released into the
soil, air and water. Work here resulted in the first mobile in-
cineration unit in the United States which has safely elimi-
nated twelve million pounds of dioxin-containing wastes at
eight Superfund sites. The RCB, a component of RREL, also
provides technical assistance to EPA emergency response
teams throughout the country.

In dcx
Dedication .2
Genesis 3
Mission 4
- — r r
Office of the Senior Official f Research hd Development 5
Environmental Mo,i 4 toring Syst ns Laboratory 6
Technical Support Division 7
Risk Reduction E ineering ta Oratory 8
Center for Environ ntal Research Informati 10
Health Effects Research Laboratory ...C ’ 11

Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office 12
Environmental Response Team 13
Office of Administration and Resources Management 14
Office of Civil Rights 15
Unique Facilities 16