United States
Environmental Protection
                              Water Laboratory Alliance
   Purpose  The EPA Water Laboratory
   Alliance  (WLA)   provides  the  Water
   Sector with an integrated nationwide net-
   work of laboratories. This network offers
   the  capabilities  and  capacity to analyze
   water samples  in the  event  of natural,
   intentional,  or unintentional  water  con-
   tamination  involving chemical, biological,
   or radiochemical contaminants.  The WLA
   is composed of public health, environmen-
   tal,  and  select  commercial  laboratories.
   The WLA focuses solely on drinking water
   and wastewater  and is an integral part of
   EPA's Environmental  Response Laboratory
   Network (ERLN).
Benefits Participating in the WLA includes many
benefits, such as improved laboratory preparedness for
response to emergency situations; improved communi-
cations with peer laboratories to help address emerging
analytical, laboratory  security, or laboratory operation
challenges; and access to validated methods for unreg-
ulated contaminants of interest to the Water Sector. In
addition, WLA members have access to water security-
related training opportunities, analytical support to ad-
dress analyses not conducted by their  laboratory, and
standardized analytical methods.

WLA Development The WLA leverages
existing laboratory network capability, capacity, and
infrastructure and  is designed to fill gaps in national
laboratory preparedness for water analyses.  Prior to its
launch in the Fall of 2009, EPA and its partners devel-
oped 11 laboratory response plans, one plan for each
of the 10 EPA Regions and a separate plan for Hawaii.
These plans, which were tested using functional exer-
cises, provided the basis for development of the WLA-
Response Plan (WLA-RP). The WLA-RP serves as the
foundation document for the WLA program.
                                  Ongoing WLA activities include:
                                  Ultrafiltration Quality Control (QC)
                                  Criteria Development Project.
                                  The WLA  currently relies  on  the  Cen-
                                  ters for Disease  Control and  Prevention
                                  (CDC)   Laboratory  Response  Network
                                  (LRN)  for concentration and analysis of
                                  select agents and toxins from large vol-
                                  umes (10-100 liters) of drinking water us-
                                  ing  the LRN Filter  Concentration  for the
                                  Detection of Bioterrorism  Threat  Agents
                                  in Potable Water Samples  protocol.  EPA
                                  and CDC are developing Quality Control
                                  (QC) criteria for the ultrafiltration portion
                                  of this LRN protocol. Once implemented,
                                  these QC criteria will allow LRN labora-
                                  tories to confirm acceptable ultrafiltration
                                  performance and maintain ultrafiltration
                                  proficiency  between rounds of the CDC
                                  Proficiency Testing (PT) program. The QC
                                  Criteria Development  study  is also en-
                                  hancing laboratory capacity and capability
                                  for select agent water analyses by improv-
                                  ing ultrafiltration proficiency at more than
                                  a dozen LRN laboratories. This increased
                                  capacity and capability helps ensure the
                                                          continued on back
              Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-09-006 | October 2009 | www.epa.gov/safewater

                                    Water Laboratory Alliance
Water Laboratory Alliance
Response Plan (WLA-RP)
The WLA-RP establishes a comprehensive, national
laboratory response approach to water contamina-
tion  events including preparedness, response, re-
mediation, and recovery. Specifically, the WLA-RP
addresses incidents that, due to their suspected cause
or size, may  require additional analytical support
and a broader response than a typical utility, state, or
federal laboratory alone can provide.  The WLA-RP
provides laboratories with a structure for  a system-
atic, coordinated response to a water contamination
incident that can be used in conjunction with ex-
isting Incident Command System (ICS)  structures
and procedures. In addition, key principles of the
WLA-RP can be applied to responses that only in-
volve a single laboratory.

Training and Full Scale
Exercises (FSEs)  In an  effort to support
Water Sector preparedness, the WLA provides train-
ing opportunities (e.g., Laboratory Chain of Custody
and Evidence Preservation) and conducts exercises to
support laboratory preparedness on an ongoing basis.
FSEs are being conducted to test integration of the
WLA-RP with the National Incident Management
System, as well as other federal network emergency
response procedures and to provide opportunities to
practice multi-regional coordination during  large-
scale incidents. These FSEs include participants from
EPA Regions, CDC, the Federal Bureau of Investiga-
tion (FBI), state public health and state environmental
laboratories, drinking  water utilities, law enforce-
ment, and federal, state, and local first responders.
These multi-regional exercises allow participants to
practice procedures  related to providing support to
an environmental and public health incident that in-
cludes actual sample analyses, communication, coor-
dination, and data reporting.
Current WLA Activities continued from front

Water Sector's ability to respond to potential
drinking water contamination events.

Chemical Method Development
and Validation.
EPA is continuing  its chemical  method de-
velopment and validation efforts in support
of WLA. Evaluation of a liquid chromatog-
raphy-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) protocol
has been initiated in collaboration with the
EPA Region 5 Laboratory to develop a direct
injection rapid screening method for several
unregulated contaminants of interest to the
Water Sector. EPA efforts provide laborato-
ries with a way to analyze drinking water for
hazardous chemicals that would have the
potential  for major public health  impacts
or infrastructure damage to water utilities.
Also, since  EPA is adapting  methods that
are already being used in drinking water
laboratories (e.g.,  utility laboratories, State
laboratories, EPA  Regional  laboratories),
there is minimal  cost burden associated
with monitoring these additional unregu-
lated contaminants, if desired.

Home Base for Environmental

I EPA has funded a cooperative agreement
with the Association of Public Health Labo-
ratories (APHL) to develop a "Home Base"
for environmental laboratories and to dis-
seminate educational  programs and tools.
This Home Base  provides a  platform for
laboratories, and  State and Federal agen-
cies to exchange information.  As a result,
environmental laboratories have  a voice in
the development and implementation of the
WLA and also have an  increased awareness
of water security issues.
CONTACT US:   For additional information on the Water Laboratory Alliance, please contact
                  WLA@epa.gov or see http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/wla.cfm.
               Office of Water (4608-T) |  EPA 817-F-09-006 | October 2009 | www.epa.gov/safewater