United States
Environmental Protection
Water Laboratory  Alliance
A  Drinking  Water Utility Perspective
   Overview The EPA Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA)
   provides  the  Water Sector,  including  drinking water
   utilities, with   an  integrated,  nationwide network  of
   laboratories. The WLA provides the capability to analyze
   water samples in the event of water supply contamination
   involving chemical, biological, or radiochemical (CBR)
   contaminants.  The WLA focuses solely on water and is
   an integral part of the EPA's  Environmental Response
   Laboratory Network (ERLN).
                                               The WLA is composed
                                               of public health,
                                               environmental, find
                                               select commercial
                                               laboratories,    f
   Benefits to Water  Utilities
   Water utilities that become members of the WLA will be
   provided with critical analytical support before, during,
   and after a potential contamination incident. The WLA
   affords many benefits to water utilities, such as:
    Improved preparedness for emergency response
    Improved communications with support laboratories
    to help address emerging analytical and logistical
   In addition, WLA members have priority access to:
    Emergency response exercises
    Water security-related training opportunities
    Laboratory support for contaminant analyses exceed-
    ing in-house capabilities or capacity
    Access to validated analytical methods for unregulat-
    ed contaminants of concern to Water Sector utilities

   WLA Launch & Membership
   WLA launched the first phase of membership solicita-
   tion in Fall 2009. The WLA launch coincides with the
   second phase roll-out of the ERLN. During this phase,
   laboratories that  are  accepted as ERLN members and
   also are certified to analyze water samples will be con-
   sidered for membership in the WLA. For more informa-
   tion on becoming an ERLN/WLA member please see
                                 EPA Laboratory-Related
                                 Tools, Resources, &
                                  EPA Compendium of Environmen-
                                  tal Testing Laboratories (CETL or
                                  Laboratory Compendium)
                                  TheLaboratoryCompendium (http://epa.
                                  gov/compendium)  is a  secure, Web-
                                  based tool that provides users, with real-
                                  time data related to laboratory contact,
                                  capability, and capacity information.

                                  National Environmental Methods
                                  Index for Chemical, Biological &
                                  Radiological Methods (NEMI-CBR)
                                  NEMI-CBR   (http://cfpub.epa.gov/safe
                                  water/watersecurity/nemi-cbr.cfm)  is  a
                                  secure  Web-based tool  that displays,
                                  summarizes,  and allows easy compari-
                                  son of methods for contaminants of con-
                                  cern. NEMI-CBR is an excellent resource
                                  for drinking  water utilities, emergency
                                  responders, and laboratories and can be
                                  used for training, as well as facilitating
                                  the immediate rapid and comprehensive
                                  response required during a water con-
                                  tamination event.
              Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-09-007 | October 2009 | www.epa.gov/safewater

                    Water Laboratory Alliance A Drinking Water Utility Perspective
WLA  Response Plan
(WLA-RP), Exercises, and
The WLA-Response  Plan (WLA-RP) establishes a
comprehensive,  national laboratory response approach
to water contamination events that covers a spectrum of
activities including utility and laboratory preparedness.
response, remediation, and recovery. In an effort to sup-
port Water Sector preparedness, the WLA and its part-
ners conduct full-scale exercises (FSEs) that test emer-
gency response procedures and provide opportunities to
practice multi-regional coordination during large-scale
incidents involving drinking water utilities.
FSEs generally include participants from:
 Drinking water utilities
 EPA Regions
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
 State public health and environmental laboratories
 First responders
 Law enforcement
These multi-regional FSEs allow participants to prac-
tice procedures to support incidents  including  initial
response,  communication and coordination, sampling
and analysis strategies, actual sample analyses and data
In addition, EPA provides training to support utility and
laboratory preparedness on an ongoing basis (e.g., Lab-
oratory Chain of Custody and Evidence Preservation).
   For additional information on the Water
   Laboratory Alliance, please contact
   WLA@epa.gov or see http://cfpub.epa.
   gov/saf ewater/watersecu rity/wla .cf m.
 Water Contamination Information
  Tool (WCIT)
  WCIT (http://www.epa.gov/wcit)  is a pass-
  word-protected online database with infor-
  mation on 93 CBR contaminants of concern
  that may pose serious threats if introduced
  into drinking water and wastewater systems.
  WCIT provides drinking water-specific data
  compiled in a single location that can be ac-
  cessed and used by the Water Sector to plan
  for and respond to drinking water contami-
  nation incidents.

 Sampling Guidance for Unknown
  Contaminants in Drinking Water
  The EPASampling Guidance document (http:
  //cf pub, epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/
  wla.cfm) provides utilities with  comprehen-
  sive guidance that integrates sample collec-
  tion, preservation, and transport procedures
  to  support multiple analytical  approaches
  for the detection  and identification of po-
  tential contaminants in drinking water.

 Large Volume Sample
  Concentration for Select Biological
  Agent and Toxin Analyses
  The WLA currently relies on CDC's Labora-
  tory Response Network (LRN)  for concen-
  tration and  analysis of select agents and
  toxins from  large volumes (10-100  liters)
  of drinking water using an LRN ultrafiltra-
  tion protocol, which requires  transport of
  large-volume  samples from the utility to
  the laboratory.  EPA and CDC are devel-
  oping Quality Control (QC) criteria for the
  ultrafiltration portion of this LRN  protocol.
  These criteria will enhance capacity for se-
  lect agent and toxin analyses in water and
  help ensure the Water Sector's ability to re-
  spond to  potential drinking water contami-
  nation events.
  In addition, EPA's National Homeland Secu-
  rity Research Center (NHSRC) and CDC are
  evaluating a  field-portable ultrafiltration
  device to  assist utilities in on-site sample
  concentration, which will  permit  transport
  of small volume retentates (1  liter or less)
  for laboratory analyses.
               Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-09-007 | October 2009 | www.epa.gov/safewater