Functional exercises bolster regional laboratory networks

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WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 1, 2008 -- EPA's Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) has made measurable progress in increasing drinking water laboratory preparedness with the successful completion of 11-week long, functional exercises among laboratories in each EPA Region to test multi-laboratory responses to water contamination incidents. Over 60 laboratories from 42 States participated.

The Drinking Water Laboratory Response Preparedness Project tested the protocols and procedures outlined in each of the Regional Laboratory Response Plans (RLRP), as well as key laboratory support tools such as the EPA Laboratory Compendium and the Water Contaminant Information Tool. The functional exercises demonstrated that the RLRPs developed by EPA are a practical, implementable, and effective approach for coordinating a multi-laboratory response to a drinking water contamination incident.

The RLRPs not only refined laboratory coordination and capabilities in the EPA Regions, but also set the stage for development of the nationally consistent WLA program. The WLA will provide the Water Sector with an integrated nationwide network of laboratories with analytical capabilities and capacity to effectively respond to water supply contamination incidents.

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