United States
Environmental Protection
                            Water Laboratory Alliance
                                                     Response  Plan
   The Environmental Protection
   Agency's (EPA) Water Laboratory
   Alliance (WLA) provides the
   Water Sector with an integrated
   nationwide network of laboratories.
   In support of the WLA, EPA is
   sponsoring an effort to improve
   water laboratory preparedness at
   the regional, state, and local levels.
   A key component of this effort, the
   Wafer Laboratory Alliance Response
   Plan (WLA-RP), is designed to assist
   WLA member laboratories with
   improving laboratory preparedness
   for response to natural, intentional,
   or unintentional water contamination
   incidents.  EPA developed the plan
   in partnership with the EPA Regional
   Laboratories, the Federal Bureau of
   Investigation (FBI), state laboratories,
   first responders, and major drinking
   water utilities. This plan serves as the
   foundation of the Water Laboratory
   Alliance program.
What is the Overall Goal of the
Water Laboratory Alliance
Response Plan?
The goal of the WLA-RP is to assist WLA mem-
ber laboratories  with improving preparedness
for response  to actual or suspected water con-
tamination incidents. 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 util-
ity, state, or federal laboratory can provide. The
WLA-RP provides laboratories with a structure
for a systematic, coordinated response to a wa-
ter contamination incident that can be used in

What are the Benefits to the
Water Sector?

• The WLA-RP provides  an  immediate
  mechanism to coordinate local, state, and
  federal laboratory efforts to meet analytical
  needs that may result from actual or sus-
  pected water contamination incidents. Using
  the WLA-RP procedures will allow laborato-
  ries to respond more quickly and efficiently
  to an incident.  The WLA-RP also provides
  a tool for meeting potentially overwhelming
  analytical  demands during the  remediation
  phase of an event.

• The WLA-RP includes procedures tested
  and refined through  Full-Scale exercises.
  The Full-Scale Exercises increase the level of
  preparedness of laboratories to respond to
  water contamination  events  by identifying
  improvements needed for the WLA-RP and
  laboratory procedures.  The exercises also
  help strengthen relationships between labo-
  ratories which will be critical for a successful

• The WLA-RP also serves as the foun-
  dation for the development of the WLA by
  addressing relevant issues such as sample
  brokerage, analytical method selection, and
  secure data transfer.
             Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-10-004 | January 2010 | www.epa.gov/safewater

                                Water Laboratory Alliance
conjunction with existing Incident Command System (ICS) structures and procedures. The WLA-RP
also provides specific directions to meet the analytical needs of an event; including sample brokerage
and tracking, communication, coordination of analyses,  and analyte-specific methods. In addition, the
WLA-RP is scalable, i.e. it can also be applied to responses that only involve a single laboratory.

What is the Status of WLA-RP Development and Testing?

Phase 1 - Development of the draft WLA-RP [Complete]. Regional Laboratory Response
Plans (RLRPs) were developed for each of the 10 EPARegions and Hawaii in 2008. The national WLA-
RP was then developed to include similar elements and best practices from the 11 RLRPs; as well as
lessons learned from functional exercises conducted in each EPA Region in 2008 to test the RLRPs.

Phase 2 - Revision of the WLA-RP based on  partner comments [Complete].
EPA has solicited comments on the WLA-RP from its partners (state, water utilities, water sector or-
ganizations), including the laboratories that participated in the development and testing of the RLRPs.
These comments have been evaluated and used to improve the WLA-RP.

Phase 3 - Full-Scale Exercises (FSEs) [Ongoing].  FSEs are being conducted to enhance
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     Full-Scale Exercise-September 2009.
   .,      „,     ___  .   ,  ,      . .          ErA conducted the first mum-Regional
incidents.  These FSEs include participants     F$E -n Regions -, Qnd 2 (Northeastern US)
from EPA Regions, the Centers for Disease     in September 2009.  This exercise was
Control and Prevention  (CDC), the FBI,     planned and conducted in conjunction with
state public health and state environmental     CDC to assess the effectiveness of response
laboratories, drinking water utilities, law en-     to a  combined chemical and biological
forcement, and federal, state, and local first     warfare agent attack. This exercise tested
responders. These multi-Regional exercises     the WLA-RP and EPA Environmental
allow participants to practice procedures re-     l^T Laborat°ry Network (ERLN) and
                                           CDC Laboratory Response Network LRN
lated to providing support to an environmen-                               ,          , '
                                           emergency response procedures through
tal and public health incident that includes     fhe andyses of actua| environmental and
actual sample analyses, communication, co-     clinical samples.
ordination, and data reporting.

Phase 4 Revision of the WLA-RP based on lessons learned from the FSEs [On-
going]. EPA will use the lessons learned from the FSEs and the progress made toward effective col-
laborative laboratory response to improve the WLA-RP.
CONTACT US:  For more information on the Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan, please
                 contact Latisha Mapp, EPA Office of Water (Mapp.Latisha@epa.gov)
                 or your EPA regional laboratory contact
                 (http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/wla.cf m#contact).
           Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-10-004 | January 2010 | www.epa.gov/safewater