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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Environmental Services Branch Laboratory

The Environmental Services Branch (ESB) Laboratory, under the direction of the Branch Chief, provides scientific and laboratory Photo of US EPA Environmental Services Branch ( ESB)  Laboratory in Houston, TXanalytical support to Region 6 programs. It provides quality assured analytical support using state-of-the-art techniques and methodology for organic, inorganic, and biological analyses.

The Environmental Services Branch (ESB) Laboratory is accredited by the Exit EPANational Environmental Accreditation Program to perform analysis of contaminants in air, drinking water, non-potable water, solid and chemical materials.

The Branch also performs technical audits of environmental monitoring laboratories and public water supply laboratories. Responsibility for overseeing accreditation of Region 6 state authorities under the Exit EPA National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) and the Region 6 representative to the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) rests with the Branch.

Management of the Regional Contract Laboratory Program ( CLP ), including sample scheduling, sample routing, data verification, data validation and data usability, are responsibilities of this branch. Technical expertise is provided to the Region, as well as other Federal, State, Tribal and Local entities. Technical assistance, regarding analytical methods, is coordinated for the region through the Branch. Expert witness support is provided for both civil and criminal enforcement cases.

The Branch is comprised of two sections and a support group-The Laboratory Analysis Section , the Laboratory Support and External Laboratory Oversight Section and the Management Support Group.

The Management Support Group

The Management Support Group is under the direct supervision of the Branch Chief. The Management Support Group tracks laboratory budgets and activities,supports computer and Local Area Network (LAN) operations and software training, and monitors facility management. Health and Safety oversight and facility environmental compliance are part of the group's responsibility.

The Laboratory Quality Assurance Coordinator and the building Facility Manager are members of this group. The Laboratory Quality Assurance Coordinator is responsible for the quality systems of the laboratory, including development of standard operating procedures, and the laboratory quality management plan.

The Laboratory Analysis Section

The Laboratory Analysis Section, under the direction of the Deputy Branch Chief is comprised of two teams, the Organic Analysis Team and the Inorganic Analysis Team.

Organic Analysis Team

Picture of chemist preforming volitatile organic chemical analysis.The Organic Analysis Team is responsible for the analysis of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, PCBs, and herbicides on a variety of matrices in support of Regional program needs. It provides technical assistance regarding organic chemical analysis and methodology.

Administration of the Regional Laboratory Information Management System (RLIMS) and laboratory analysis report automation is a responsibility of this team.

Inorganic Analysis Team
 Photo of chemist performing inorganic analysis using ICP

The Inorganic Analysis Team provides analyses for inorganic compounds and trace metals in environmental media. Technical oversight and validation is performed of wet chemistry data provided by the Exit EPATexas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) laboratory. Technical expertise and analysis is provided to programs for monitoring activities as well as for civil and criminal enforcement.

The Laboratory Support and External Oversight Section

The Laboratory Support and External Oversight Section , under the direction of the Associate Branch Chief, is comprised of the Photo of the Mobile Laboratory Laboratory Support Team and the External Laboratory Oversight Group. Associate Branch Chief duties also include representing Region 6 in the Exit EPANational Environmental Accreditation Program (NELAP) and oversight of the Regions NELAPactivities.The Mobile Laboratory operations and support are also part of the section's responsibilities.


External Laboratory Oversight Group

The External Laboratory Oversight Group, under the direct supervision of the Associate Branch Chief, performs technical oversight of the Regional Environmental Services Assistance Team (ESAT) and the Regional Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) contracts. The group oversees contractor data validation and validation activities, as well as performing CLP sample scheduling and determining contractor generated data usability for client programs.

The Regional ESAT Project Officer and the Regional CLP Technical Project Officer are members of this group. The Laboratory Technical Assistance Coordinator is also a member of this group. The group serves as the Region 6 focal point for all requests for technical assistance regarding EPA analytical Methods.Photo of Enforcement officer performing field inspection.

Other Region 6 organizational functions are co-located at the Laboratory: (1) a compliance enforcement team (Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division); (2) an air monitoring coordinator (Multi-media Permitting & Planning Division);and (3) on scene coordinators (Superfund Division).

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