Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN)
Chemical Focus Area
One of the capabilities of the Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is to analyzing Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs). There are ten CWA laboratories across the country, including three mobile labs, which are capable of receiving, storing, and analyzing Chemical Warfare Agent samples in a safe, accurate, and timely manner. With this expertise, the ERLN is able to provide environmental laboratory testing capability and capacity to meet EPA's responsibilities for surveillance of, response to, and recovery from incidents involving CWAs. These laboratories participate in performance exercises and multi-laboratory studies.
The ERLN unveiled Phase 1 in spring 2008 with three CWA laboratories: EPA Region 1 Laboratory, EPA Region 3 Laboratory, and the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. These laboratories have completed EPA gap analysis studies and made required infrastructure improvements necessary to operate. Four additional laboratories, Regions 6, 9, and 10 and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Bureau Laboratories, are projected to be online in 2010.
Mobile Labs (PHILIS Units)
The ERLN augments CWA response with three Portable High Throughput Integrated Laboratory Identification Systems (PHILIS). These PHILIS units provide real-time, onsite data to response personnel for the timely and cost-effective mitigation of CWA contaminated sites. The mobile laboratories also provide analysis of toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) in the event of a natural disaster or accidental release, using state of the art gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) techniques.
There is a fully operational PHILIS unit in Kentucky and New Jersey. A third PHILIS unit is awaiting permanent facilities and is scheduled to be transferred to Colorado in late 2009.