Meeting Limited Resource Demands through Public and Private Lab Collaboration

Government Public Health and Private Environmental Laboratory Partnerships
Oral Presentation

Presented by M. Flournoy
Prepared by D. Friedman1, L. Mapp2, S. Wright3
1 - David Friedman Consulting LLC, 10817 Rippon Lodge Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22032, United States
2 - U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Office of Water, Washington, D.C, 20460, United States
3 - Association of Public Health Laboratories, 8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 700, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910, United States


Contact Information: [email protected]; 703-389-3821


ABSTRACT

Here in the United States we often find ourselves facing environmental crises for which adequate governmental resources are insufficient to deal with the problems. Such crises include catastrophic weather events, industrial disasters resulting in contamination of major river systems and other water bodies, and terrorist incidents. How to mobilize an effective response in such situations has been and continues to be a problem for government and the private sector. Today we will look at one aspect of the problem – monitoring. Monitoring the air, water, and soil is critical to identifying and quantifying the danger to human and environmental health and to addressing the immediate danger and then remediating the problem.
While the United States is fortunate in that it has an extensive network of public and private environmental testing laboratories who have the capability to respond to emergencies, over the past decade these resources have dwindled while the need for monitoring in response to disasters has increased. The issue is how to coordinate and bring the various resources to bear when a problem presents itself. This presentation will review what has been done to date to establish a framework for such a mobilization (i.e., the EPA’s Environmental Laboratory Response Network (ELRN) and the Water Laboratory Alliance); what has kept them from working as well as hoped when disasters have occurred; and recommendations for how to improve its capabilities and utilization.