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Environmental Response Laboratory Network Membership and Benefits

Participation in the Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is based on a laboratory's ability to meet the ERLN's core requirements. There are many benefits to ERLN membership including recognition, information sharing and technical support.

Membership

Participation in the Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is based on a laboratory's ability to meet the ERLN's core requirements. Each laboratory must establish, maintain, and demonstrate:

  • A quality system consistent with ISO 17025, the NELAC Institute Exit, or Drinking Water Certification (as applicable);
  • If a laboratory doesn't have any accreditation or certification and submits a quality management checklist to document a quality system, EPA may audit the laboratory to verify the information the laboratory has submitted.
  • Documented policies and procedures;
  • Sample management systems;
  • Facilities for sample handling and secure storage;
  • Data management and exchange procedures; and
  • Analytical capabilities and capacities for chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants.

Member laboratories will:

  • Supply analytical services for biological, chemical, and/or radiological contaminants in samples collected in support of environmental responses;
  • Adhere to the methods and technical requirements specified in the incident-specific task order when testing ERLN samples and reporting results;
  • Report positive or suspect test results, to authorized ERLN personnel only, within the timeframe specified for the project;
  • Have all necessary measurement and testing equipment required to perform the applicable test as specified in the methods referenced in the project-specific task order, prior to receipt of samples; and
  • Meet requirements outlined in an incident-specific task order.

Reimbursement

Interagency Agreements transfer funds between federal agencies for agreed upon work. A Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) will be the primary mechanism for funding private and public laboratories.

A BOA is a written instrument of understanding between EPA and a laboratory. It contains terms and clauses applying to all future orders, a description of services to be provided, and methods for pricing, issuing, and delivering future orders. The BOA can only be used for compensating laboratories for laboratory analytical services.

If a public laboratory is not capable of entering into a BOA with EPA, or if a laboratory provides other services to support a response or is asked to build on specific ERLN capabilities, other appropriate reimbursement mechanisms will be evaluated, as needed.

A BOA is required for commercial laboratories; recommended for non-federal laboratories; federal partners can also access a laboratory via a BOA.

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Laboratory Responsibilities

After becoming an ERLN member, laboratories MUST:

  • Create and maintain a laboratory capabilities profile in the Compendium of Environmental Testing Laboratories (CETL);
  • Supply analytical services for biological, chemical, and/or radiological contaminants in samples collected in support of environmental responses;
  • Adhere to the methods and technical requirements specified in the incident-specific task order when testing ERLN samples and reporting results;
  • Report positive or suspect test results, to authorized ERLN personnel only, within the timeframe specified for the project;
  • Have all necessary measurement and testing equipment required to perform the applicable test as specified in the methods referenced in the project-specific task order, prior to receipt of samples; and
  • Be subject to on-site audits (as required).

All ERLN requirements can be found in the ERLN Laboratory Requirements Document in the WebEDR.

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Benefits of the ERLN

ERLN provides:

  • Instant access to over 140 public and private sector laboratories with a broad spectrum of analytical capabilities;
  • An organized and consistent approach to obtaining laboratory analytical services;
  • Reliable analytical data of known quality;
  • A streamlined paperless process to assess data from one or multiple laboratories; and
  • Reduced project cost and improve data delivery and management.

Recognition as a Homeland Security Asset

The ERLN is a laboratory network established to help the country respond to environmental emergencies while providing public confidence that contaminants will be identified and cleanup activities ensue. As a member of the ERLN, your laboratory will be pivotal in improving our national security.

Improved Communications with Peer Laboratories to Help Address Emerging Analytical, Laboratory Security, or Laboratory Operation Challenges

The ERLN facilitates interaction between member laboratories across the nation to increase learning opportunities and coordination by providing a uniform framework for sample management, analysis, and data delivery.

One example of this is the ERLN Collaborative Workspace where ERLN can share information on a regular basis outside of scheduled exercises and training sessions.

EPA and ICLN Support

As part of the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) Exit, ERLN coordinates with the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies with a homeland security laboratory component, providing a broad spectrum of expertise and resources.

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Member Services

ERLN is pleased to provide the following services for members:

Member Collaboration Workspace

Using the Collaborative Workspace, ERLN members can network and share new methods, discuss new technologies, and take advantage of lessons learned. The Collaborative Workspace is currently used by Office of Emergency Management (OEM) workgroups to share ERLN, Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA), and homeland security program information and documentation.

Laboratory Compendium

As an ERLN member, your laboratory will be part of the Laboratory Compendium, a national online database of laboratories capable of emergency response analysis. Emergency responders across the country will be able to identify ERLN members in the Laboratory Compendium to support the needs of specific emergency response efforts.

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