Water Laboratory Alliance

 Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 (HSPD 9) directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
 "develop nationwide laboratory networks for...  water quality that integrate existing Federal and State laboratory
 resources,  are inter-connected, and utilize standardized diagnostic protocols and  procedures."  In response to
 HSPD 9,  EPA's Office of Water proposed and initiated the development of the Water Laboratory Alliance


 The purpose of the WLA is to provide the water/wastewater sector with an integrated nationwide network of
 laboratories with the analytical capability and capacity to support monitoring, surveillance, and remediation in
 response to  intentional and unintentional  water contamination events involving  chemical, biological,  and
 radiochemical contaminants.

 Approach for Development

 The WLA is being developed based on existing networks. It is being designed to leverage existing laboratory
 network  capability,   capacity,  and  infrastructure  to  fill gaps  in national  laboratory preparedness  for
 water/wastewater analyses. Laboratory infrastructure that  is being leveraged from other networks includes
 analytical methods, membership criteria, and critical materials such as laboratory reagents.
 The WLA integrates  drinking water, wastewater, public health and  environmental laboratories  and select
 commercial laboratories that currently provide analytical support to government agencies.   The WLA focuses
 solely on  water and is an integral part of EPA's Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN).  The
 ERLN is a network with a similar purpose as the WLA but will focus  on analyses  of all other environmental


 Benefits of WLA participation include improved laboratory preparedness for response to emergency situations
 and improved communications with peer laboratories to help address  emerging analytical, laboratory security, or
 laboratory operation challenges. In addition, WLA members will have access to water security-related training
 opportunities, analytical support to address analyses not conducted by their laboratory, and  standardized
 analytical methods and data reporting systems.   In the future, WLA laboratories will also have access to EPA-
 prepared proficiency testing samples for unregulated contaminants.

 WLA to  Date

 A number of activities have  been initiated in support of the WLA.  Activities completed to date  include:
 development and evaluation of Regional Laboratory Response Plans for each of the 10 EPA Regions and an
 additional  plan for Hawaii; identification of priority contaminants of concern, methods, and method gaps for
 priority contaminants; development of Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water, and
 development of training for Laboratory Chain of Custody and Evidence  Preservation.   Ongoing activities
 include:  developing  and  validating  chemical  methods; funding  the  establishment  of  a Home Base for
 environmental laboratories; and  initial  development of quality control criteria  for the Centers for Disease
 Control and Prevention Laboratory Response Network  (CDC LRN) ultrafiltration device, which concentrates
 large-volume (up to 100 L) water samples for  subsequent select agent analyses.  WLA development activities

      Drinking Water Laboratory Response Preparedness Project. The Office of Water and EPA Regional
      Laboratory Chiefs have  developed Regional Laboratory Response Plans for each of the 10 EPA Regions
      and  an additional plan  for Hawaii to help with improving intra-regional laboratory preparedness for

             Office of Water I  EPA 817-F-08-007 I  October 2008  I www.epa.qov/watersecuritv

Water Laboratory Alliance                                         page 2
      responding to actual or suspected contamination events.  The objective of this project is to develop a
      functional,  customized region-specific  laboratory response plan. Each regional plan has been revised
      based on the lessons learned during table-top exercises completed in August 2007.  Functional exercises
      intended to assess region-specific laboratory capability and performance were completed in September
      2008. The region-specific laboratory response plans will be updated based on the results of the functional
      exercises, as necessary.  A national response plan will be developed based on the Regional Laboratory
      Response Plans and used to integrate the regional networks into a nationally-consistent Water Laboratory
      Alliance program.
      Chemical Method Development and Validation.  Through 2006, EPA's Office of Water targeted 16
      unregulated contaminants of interest to  the water sector for single-laboratory method validation by
      adapting existing drinking water methods. Method validation studies using  ion chromatography (Method
      300.1), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a fluorescence detector (Method 531.2),
      and HPLC with  a UV detector (based on Method  532) were initiated.  An additional study was  also
      pursued to determine whether gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) Methods 524.2 and 525.2
      were adequate to screen drinking water for unregulated contaminants. In addition, EPA's Office of Water
      collaborated with EPA's National Homeland Security  Research Center (NHSRC) to conduct a method
      development study using  gas chromatograph-mass spectroscopy (Method 525.2). The ion chromatography
      (Method 300.1) and GC-MS (Methods 524.2 and 525.2)  studies were successful.  The NHSRC study
      using Method 525.2 and the HPLC with UV detection study were also successful for some analytes.
      During 2007, two follow-up method validation studies were conducted.  The first was a multi-laboratory
      validation of Method 300.1 for two EPA Office of Water unregulated contaminants and the second was a
      single-laboratory validation of a liquid  chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to address
      additional gaps in environmental capability.
      Ultrafiltration Quality Control (QC) Criteria Development Project. The WLA currently relies on the
      CDC's LRN for concentration and analysis of select agents and toxins from large volumes  (10-100 liters)
      of drinking water using the LRN Filter  Concentration for the Detection ofBioterrorism Threat Agents in
      Potable  Water  Samples  referred to  as  the "LRN UF"  protocol.   The  LRN UF protocol  requires
      comprehensive  training  and use to achieve  and  maintain proficiency.    However, QC  criteria to
      demonstrate proficiency  with water have not been  developed.  As a result, there is a critical  need for
      standardized QC criteria for implementation of the LRN UF procedure in support of the WLA.
      The Ultrafiltration QC criteria  study design  was developed through a collaborative effort with subject
      matter experts from CDC and was approved by EPA in March 2008.  The study includes  an eight-phase
      approach requiring extensive preliminary  analyses prior to development of  QC criteria by up to 16 LRN
      volunteer laboratories. To date, a vegetative bacterium, virus, and spore surrogate have  been evaluated
      and selected for use in the study.  In addition, the  applicability of BioBall™ spikes and the analytical
      methods have been deemed acceptable.  Initiation of QC criteria development at the LRN laboratories will
      begin in 2009.

      Home Base for Environmental Laboratories.  EPA's Office of Water funded a cooperative agreement
      to initiate the development of a National Home Base for environmental  laboratories to enhance capability
      and  capacity of environmental  laboratories  and  disseminate  educational programs  and tools for
      environmental  laboratories.  The  effort enhanced the  flow of information to and from  environmental
      laboratories and increased the awareness of environmental water security issues.

 Contact Us

 For more information on the WLA, contact EPA Office of Water's Latisha Mapp (Mapp.Latisha@epa.gov) or
 Anand  Mudambi (Mudambi.Anandigiepa.gov).   Information on EPA Office  of Water's activities, tools,
 products, and the latest scientific advances to  protect drinking water and wastewater utilities is available online
 at http: //www. epa. gov/watersecurity.

             Office of Water I  EPA 817-F-08-007  I October 2008 I  www.epa.qov/watersecuritv