LRN – EPA Collaboration through Biological Incident Remediation Exercises

Government Public Health and Private Environmental Laboratory Partnerships
Oral Presentation

Prepared by

Contact Information:; 919-541-7600


In 2011 and 2017 the U.S. EPA led multi-agency, field-scale operational exercises aimed at improving biological incident response and remediation capabilities. A single-building, indoor environment anthrax incident and an anthrax incident in an underground transportation system (subway) were exercised during 2011 and 2017, respectively. During both exercises the test venue was intentionally contaminated with spores of Bacillus globigii, a non-pathogenic surrogate for Bacillus anthracis, to simulate a biological terror incident. Remediation phase response activities, including characterization sampling, decontamination, clearance sampling, sample shipment, sample analysis, personnel decontamination line operations, and waste management were conducted in a manner consistent with an actual response. Numerous LRN-associated state public health labs participated in the exercises by receiving samples, analyzing samples according to LRN protocol, and reported results. The LRN-generated data were vital for evaluation of sampling and decontamination approaches; equally as valuable are the relationships formed amongst state and federal stakeholders ahead of a real incident.