United States
                   Environmental Protection
                   Agency
                 Water  Laboratory Alliance

   Purpose
   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
   launched the Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) in
   2009. Since then, the WLA has grown to include
   an extensive nationwide network of laboratories.
   The WLA is comprised of laboratories with the
   expertise to analyze water samples for chemical,
   biological or radiochemical contaminants. These
   laboratories have the capability and capacity
   to analyze samples in response to natural,
   intentional or unintentional contamination
   incidents. The WLA is an integral  part of EPAs
   Environmental Response Laboratory Network
   (ERLN) and focuses solely on water.
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Key WLA Resources & Projects

Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan
(WLA-RP)
The WLA-RP establishes a comprehensive, national
response approach to water contamination incidents
requiring analytical services. The WLA-RP includes
considerations for preparedness, response, remediation and
recovery. Specifically, the WLA-RP addresses incidents that,
due to their suspected cause or size, may require additional
analytical support than a single laboratory can provide.
The WLA-RP provides laboratories and utilities with best
practices for a systematic, coordinated response to a water
contamination incident. The best practices contained in the
WLA-RP can be used in conjunction with existing Incident
Command System (ICS) structures. In addition, key principles
of the WLA-RP can be applied to responses that only involve
a single laboratory. The WLA-RP can be accessed at http://
www2.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/water-laboratory-
alliance-response-plan.

Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale
Exercises (AP-FSEs)
EPA's WLA Team conducts emergency response AP-FSEs on
an ongoing basis to enhance laboratory, utility and response
partner preparedness. Since 2009, EPA has coordinated
numerous multi-regional AP-FSEs, as well as smaller-scale
utility-led AP-FSEs. These exercises enable participants
to practice a coordinated analytical response to a major
environmental and public health incident.
             Benefits
             Membership in the WLA affords a number of
             opportunities for laboratories to highlight their
             capabilities among peers and stakeholders.
             Additionally, WLA Members have priority
             access to free preparedness opportunities
             including:
              Participation in emergency response
              exercises requiring analytical support.
              WLA Training Center courses.
              Water security-related tools and resources.
             These opportunities enable WLA Members to
             improve preparedness in a number of ways,
             such as:
              Enhancing incident response.
              Increasing the ability to respond to customer
              needs.
              Improving communications with laboratories
              and other response stakeholders to  help
              address emerging analytical, laboratory
              security or laboratory operation challenges.
              Providing access to validated methods for
              unregulated contaminants of interest to the
              Water Sector.
             More information is available at http://
             www2.epa.gov/emergency-response/
             environmental-response-laboratory-
             network-membership-and-benefits

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                                          Water Laboratory Alliance
AP-FSEs have involved a wide spectrum of participants
including:
 EPA regional, state environmental and public health,
  municipal, utility and commercial laboratories.
 Emergency response personnel.
 Partnering federal, state and municipal agencies.
The goal of these AP-FSEs is to establish a learning
environment in which participants:
 Gain experience with response best practices from the
  WLA-RP
 Improve both internal and external communications.
 Interact with others to address a mock water
  contamination incident.
These AP-FSEs allow the coordinating organization
to take on a leadership role in the mock response. The
coordinating EPA region or utility:
 Identifies and coordinates analytical support.
 Works with local public health departments and
  reporting authorities (e.g., department of environmental
  quality, state drinking water authority).
 Practices the use of key EPA tools and resources.
 Establishes relationships and a framework that could be
  used during a real incident.

WLA Training Center
The WLA Training Center was developed to familiarize
WLA Member laboratories, utilities and Water Sector
stakeholders with Water Sector best practices. Courses
cover topics such as emergency response, analytical
methods, sample handling and data reporting. The WLA
Training Center helps ensure that these groups can take
advantage  of WLA benefits, and operate effectively
during a response. The curriculum utilizes enhanced
computer-based training, including webcasts and online
modules when in-person training is not an option. Many
courses are self-guided and can be accessed at any time
via the Training Center website at http://www2.epa.gov/
waterlabnetwork/water-laboratory-alliance-training-
center.

Decontamination Strategy
EPA's Water Sector Security Mission is to provide national
leadership in developing and promoting security programs
that enhance the Sector's ability to prevent, detect, respond
to and recover from all hazards. EPA's Decontamination
Strategy responds to Homeland Security Presidential
Directive (HSPD)-10 which charges EPA with developing
strategies, guidelines and plans for decontamination.
   EPA has worked with stakeholders to develop
   a suite of products to support decontamination
   efforts, including:
    Containment and Disposal of Large
    Amounts of Contaminated Water: A
    Support Guide for Water Utilities
    Contains information on containment,
    treatment, disposal, storage and transportation
    of contaminated water, including decision-
    making flowcharts that can be used in the field
    during a response; the guide addresses nearly
    70 contaminants of concern to the Water
    Sector.
    Decontamination Website
    Provides easy access to decontamination
    documents  benefiting the Water Sector.
Visit the decontamination website for the most current
information on Water Sector decontamination at http://
www2.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/learn-about-
decontamination-drinking-water-and-wastewater-
utilities.

Water Contaminant Information Tool
(WCIT)
WCIT is a secure online database with comprehensive
information about chemical, biological and radiochemical
contaminants of concern for the Water Sector. This tool
compiles drinking water- and wastewater-specific data
in a one-stop, easy-to-use tool. WCIT includes more than
200 analytical methods associated with more than 800
contaminants. Register for WCIT at http://www2.epa.
gov/waterdata/water-contaminant-information-tool-
registration.

Home Base for Environmental Laboratories
EPA awarded a cooperative agreement to the Association
of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) to develop a Home
Base for environmental laboratories. This Home Base is
an avenue for disseminating educational programs and
tools. Additionally, it is a platform for laboratories, and
state and federal agencies to exchange information. As a
result, environmental laboratories have a voice in crafting
priorities for the WLA and are kept abreast of water
security issues.
                   For additional information on the WLA, including membership,
                      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-15-030 | November 2015

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