United States
                 Environmental Protection
              Water Laboratory  Alliance
                            Response  Plan
  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA)
  Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) provides the
  Water Sector with an integrated nationwide
  network of laboratories.  WLA Members have the
  capabilities and capacity to analyze water samples
  in the event of natural, intentional or unintentional
  water contamination incidents involving chemical,
  biological or radiochemical contaminants. The
  Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan (WLA-
  RP) is a key component of the WLA. The WLA-
  RP provides a comprehensive, national approach
  to coordinating emergency response to water
  contamination incidents that require analytical
  support. This plan includes Water Sector best
  practices that help sustain preparedness of
  laboratories, utilities, emergency managers and
  other Water Sector stakeholders involved in water
  contamination incidents.
What is the Overall Goal of the

The goal of the WLA-RP is to improve Water Sector
preparedness for responding to water contamination
incidents that require analytical support. Finalized in 2010,
the WLA-RP is the result of best practices and lessons
learned from 11 Regional Laboratory Response Plans.
These plans were tested and refined through functional
exercises, by each of the ten EPA regions and Hawaii.
The WLA-RP provides the Water Sector with a structure for
a systematic, coordinated response to water contamination
incidents. This approach can be used in conjunction with
existing Incident Command System structures and procedures.
The WLA-RP also provides best practices to meet analytical
needs of an incident, including:
 Sample brokerage and tracking.
 Coordination of analyses.
 Recommendations for minimum QA and QC.
 Analyte-specific methods.
 Data review and reporting.
The WLA-RP can be accessed at http://www2.epa.
What are the Benefits to
the Water Sector?
 The WLA-RP provides best practices for
  coordination of local, state and federal
  laboratory efforts to meet analytical
  needs. Using WLA-RP procedures helps
  stakeholders to respond more quickly
  and efficiently to an incident.
 The WLA-RP includes procedures that
  have been tested and refined through
  Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale
  Exercises (AP-FSEs). These exercises
  increase Water Sector preparedness
  to respond to water contamination
  incidents by providing the opportunity
  to practice WLA-RP and internal
  procedures and identifying areas of
  improvement. The AP-FSEs also help
  strengthen relationships between Water
  Sector stakeholders; a critical factor for
  successful emergency response.
 The WLA-RP also serves as the
  foundation of the WLA by addressing
  relevant issues such as coordination
  of communication, analytical method
  selection, and secure data transfer.

                            Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan
The WLA-RP was developed to provide flexibility regardless of the scale of the response. It
be used to coordinate laboratory response for multi-regional incidents requiring support from
laboratories. It can also be used for responses involving a single laboratory.
                            TI many
 How are WLA-RP  Best Practices Implemented?
 EPA is committed to helping sustain Water Sector preparedness by implementing WLA-RP best practices
 through AP-FSEs, tabletop exercises, and online WLA Training Center opportunities. For additional
 information, visit the WLA Training Center at http://www2.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/water-
 Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale
 In order to increase use of WLA-RP best practices
 and enhance communication in the Water Sector, EPA
 conducts AP-FSEs in multi-regional and utility-led
 formats. Multi-regional exercises require coordination in
 response to mock, large-scale incidents, requiring dozens
 of laboratories and are generally led by EPA regions.
 These AP-FSEs allow participants to practice supporting a
 combined environmental and public health incident.
 Utility-led AP-FSEs provide the opportunity for utilities
 to play the key coordination role. These smaller-scale
 exercises ensure that utilities are knowledgeable about
 WLA procedures, tools and resources available to support
 water contamination incidents. As all emergency responses
 begin locally, utility-led exercises are vitally important to
 practice a more localized chain of command.
 AP-FSEs involve actual sample analyses, communication,
 coordination and data reporting. Exercises have several
 major objectives including:
   Providing a venue for participants to utilize WLA-RP
   best practices.
   Using the WLA-RP concurrent with Incident Command
   System practices and procedures.
   Practicing communication and coordination with other
   stakeholders that may be involved with a response.
AP-FSE Participating
  State public health and environmental
  Drinking water and wastewater utilities.
  EPA regions.
  State and local health departments.
  State primacy agencies.
  Civil Support Teams.
  Local, state and federal first
  Law enforcement.
  Integrated Consortium of Laboratory
  Networks including EPA's
  Environmental Response Laboratory
  Network (ERLN)/WLA, the Centers
  for Disease Control and Prevention's
  Laboratory Response Network
  (LRN), and the U.S. Food and Drug
  Administration and U.S. Department
  of Agriculture's Food Emergency

                                                        Response Network (FERN).
 Tabletop Exercises
 EPA conducts tabletop exercises that are designed to increase the participants' knowledge of the WLA-
 RP and Water Security tools and resources. During these discussion-based exercises, participants address
 situations and questions related to a water contamination scenario, drawing from their real-life experiences
 and knowledge. Participants learn about the roles and responsibilities of utilities, laboratories and other
 stakeholders during a response to a water contamination incident. These exercises also help participants
 build relationships with potential response partners that are key to successful emergency response.

 WLA-RP Training Module
 The training module provides an overview of the WLA-RP in an interactive, scenario-based training.
 Participants learn about the best practices included in the WLA-RP. The training module can be accessed at
 For additional information on the WLA-RP, contact the WLA Helpline at 703-461-2400 or
      WLA@epa.gov, or visit the WLA homepage at http://www2.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork.
                      Office of Water (4608-T) | EPA 817-F-15-029 | November 2015