Ensuring the Best from Our Work

Best Practices for Managing Environmental Laboratories
Oral Presentation

Prepared by L. Phelps
US EPA, 109 TW Alexander Drive (E343-04), RTP, NC, 27709, United States

Contact Information: phelps.lara@epa.gov; 919-541-5544


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (i.e., EPA’s or the Agency’s) Office of Research and Development performs cutting edge research for all media areas – air, water, waste, and soil. The landscape of science is constantly evolving. Today, pollutants are being measured at previously unseen levels of detection. Novel, innovative technology is being unveiled at a rapid pace and evaluated for relevance in measurement and monitoring priority areas. Emerging environmental issues and contaminants of concern are being investigated to answer the immediate questions of uncertainty with regards to public health and exposure. The development or application of an innovative approach; improvement in problem solving capacity; and formation of successful alliances with stakeholders are strategic means for advancing our knowledge to the rapidly changing surroundings. This must be done without any sacrifice to the quality of the data which must be known, documented, and provided to our clients in a timely manner. Our scientists have been successful leveraging resources and advancing research.

For example, the National Risk Management Research Laboratory’s Air and Energy Management Division (AEMD) performs advanced methods development, provides solution-oriented mitigation of air pollutants, develops robust decision-making models and tools, and assesses environmental implications for air pollutant sources and energy systems to provide the Agency with a basis of knowledge for informed decisions on agency-issued guidance, standards, and regulations. AEMD accomplishes their mission through diverse stakeholder partnerships from industry to government to everyday citizens. Researchers are intimately engaged with communities and citizen scientists to use low-cost, novel sensors to determine where an environmental issue might exist, and further monitoring be required. Further, agricultural sources contribute to over 80% of the U.S. ammonia and other nitrogen connections, which impact human health and air quality attainment. Scientists developed the Global Change Assessment Model with state-level resolution (GCAM-USA) which is being used in one application to evaluate the net energy environmental impacts of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). In addition, there are thousands of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in the environment and we are aggressively researching and developing sampling techniques and mitigation solutions to determine sources of this emerging area of concern. This presentation will focus on some of the environmental challenges EPA is tackling, solutions we are developing, best management practices we are instilling to ensure data quality and timeliness, plus more.