About EPA

About Region 10’s Manchester Environmental Laboratory

What We Do

The Manchester Environmental Laboratory is a 70,000 square foot facility equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and staffed with national and regional experts in environmental methods of analysis.

Our staff provide a full range of chemical and microbiological testing of air, water, soil, sediment, tissue and hazardous waste for ambient and compliance monitoring as well as criminal and civil enforcement activities.  They routinely address some of the most difficult regional analytical challenges, such as supporting trace-level detection limits, conducting analysis of contaminants in difficult or unique matrices, and developing methods for new or emerging contaminants. 

Organization

Barry V. Pepich, PhD, Director

Dr. Pepich earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Washington in 1986.  He has 20 years of laboratory and program management experience that includes 12 years at EPA’s Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water Laboratory in Cincinnati, and was selected as the Director for EPA’s Region 10 Laboratory in 2008.  Dr. Pepich has co-authored over 60 publications, which include 18 EPA methods for the analysis of emerging contaminants in drinking water, and has been an invited speaker at a number of national conferences, including the National Environmental Monitoring Conference, Water Quality Technology Conference, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the National Association of Scientific Materials Managers.  He has also served on expert panels for EPA in the area of analytical method development for emerging contaminants in drinking water.

The lab includes:

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Inorganic Services

What We Do: The Region 10 Laboratory’s Inorganic Services team offers a wide range of analytical services and routinely address some of the most difficult analytical challenges in the Region. New nethods include:

  • Multi-Incremental Sampling Capability – The ability to composite samples using the multi-incremental sampling technique was mobilized by the Inorganic Service Area in 2009. This technique sampling is a structured protocol that reduces data variability and increases sample representativeness. In addition, levels of statistical confidence and decision uncertainty that would require a large number of discrete analyses can often be obtained with a few incremental samples.
  • Methyl Mercury - We are developing the capability for methyl mercury analyses for waters, soils, sediments, and tissues. Mercury’s conversion by bacteria to methyl mercury, which is highly toxic and can be concentrated (bioaccumulated) in individual organisms, is of great concern in our Region. Methyl mercury can also biomagnify up the food chain, and reach high concentrations in top predators.
  • Arsenic Speciation - The Region 10 Laboratory is in the process of having its arsenic speciation analysis procedure for marine-type tissues finalized as US EPA Solid Waste Method. Different arsenic ions that are commonly found in the environment have markedly different human health risks. This method allows for the determination of the exposure contribution for various species of arsenic present in fish and shellfish.

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Organic Services

What We Do: The Region 10 Laboratory’s Organic Service team has the capability to support a full range of organic analyses in a wide range of matrices. Our experts in organic analytical chemistry are particularly well-suited to handle difficult method development projects, and understand the fate, degradation and weathering of these compounds in our regional environment.  New methods include:

  • Multi-Incremental Sampling Capability – The ability to composite samples using the multi-incremental sampling technique was mobilized by the Organic Service Area in 2009. This technique sampling is a structured protocol that reduces data variability and increases sample representativeness. In addition, levels of statistical confidence and decision uncertainty that would require a large number of discrete analyses can often be obtained with a few incremental samples.
  • Vacuum Distillation Capability for Volatile Organic Analysis – We recently developed the capability to use vacuum distillation technology with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to analyze for volatile organic compounds per EPA Method 8261A. This method has been used to determine the concentrations of volatile organic compounds, and some low-boiling semi-volatile organic compounds, in a variety of liquid, solid, and oily waste matrices, as well as animal tissues.
  • Liquid Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer Triple Quad (LC/MS-MS) Use for Emerging Pollutants – An LC/MS-MS system is being applied to expand our capabilities for the analysis of organic pollutants and emerging contaminants, including explosives, pesticides (e.g., carbamates, pyrethroids, and organophosphorus), and endocrine disrupting compounds that include personal care products.
  • Explosives in Marine Fish and Invertebrate Tissues – Methods are being developed for the extraction, cleanup and analysis of explosive-type compounds (nitroaromatics, nitramines and nitrate esters) in fish and invertebrate tissues. These methods utilize solid phase extraction followed by high performance liquid chromatography. They will assist in the evaluation of potential human health impact associated with consuming seafood near some of the military sites in Puget Sound.

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Microbiological Services

What We Do: The Region 10 Laboratory has capability to analyze a wide range of microbiological contaminants in water and wastewater matrices. Techniques used include standard culture-based methods, phase contrast microscopy-based methods, immunofluorescence-based methods, and novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods.  New methods include:

  • Microbial Source Tracking - Region 10 partnered with EPA's Office of Research and Development to transfer and apply new research methods to address complex Regional needs. Microbial Source Tracking (MST) is a new type of “forensic” technique that uses PCR and is capable of differentiating between human and ruminant fecal contamination. This method has been used to address beach and shellfish closure issues as well as Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) issues in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Bioassay Technique - Under the Regional Research Partnership Program, our staff are currently transferring a new bioassay method from EPA's Office of Research and Development to identify water sources that contain biologically active levels of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). This test uses a freshwater organism (the adult Fat Head Minnow) as an indicator of estrogenic activity (feminization), and employs quantitative-PCR. This method will be tested at a small number of sites in 2010 and 2011.

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