About EPA

About Region 4’s Science and Ecosystem Support Division (SESD)

What We Do

Located in Athens, Georgia, the Science and Ecosystem Support Division (SESD), through its scientific and technical support services, provides a solid foundation for decision-making by a wide variety of environmental programs and initiatives. SESD, with its state-of-the-art laboratory facility and its multidisciplinary staff of chemists, biologists, engineers, and other scientists and professionals, serves as the primary provider of scientific and technical expertise and environmental data for the EPA’s Region 4 offices.

Research Projects Managed by SESD

Reports Produced by SESD


Michael V. Peyton, Director

Antonio Quinones, Deputy Director

SESD includes:

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Analytical Support Branch

What We Do:

The Analytical Support Branch (ASB) maintains accreditation for all environmental media and analyzes over 4,000 samples each year in support of a variety of regional programs including Superfund, water, RCRA, and air.

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Ecological Assessment Branch

What We Do:

The Ecological Assessment Branch (EAB) combines a wide range of biological and engineering sciences to provide a multidisciplinary approach to ecosystem assessment and management. Our services include:

  • Surface water quality studies which include nutrient loading, algae toxicity and eutrophication,
  • Benthic macroinvertebrate and sediment quality characterization in inland, estuarine, and marine systems,
  • Aquatic toxicity testing and bioaccumulation studies,
  • Wetlands characterization including functional assessments, jurisdictional delineations, and soils biogeochemistry, and
  • Oxygen dynamics (sediment oxygen demand, re-aeration, and community oxygen metabolism) and wasteload allocation studies.

Our combined efforts provide EPA and federal, state, and local partners with information needed to:

  • make policy and regulatory decisions,
  • develop biological and water quality criteria,
  • evaluate laboratory performance,
  • validate water quality models,
  • train other scientists and the public, and
  • assess ecosystem health functions.

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Enforcement and Investigations Branch

What We Do:   

The Enforcement and Investigations Branch (EIB) conducts environmental field studies pertaining to all media including air, water, wastewater, groundwater, soil, and waste. The investigative teams develop study, logistic, and safety plans for a project site. Our services include:

  • Site characterization and criminal investigations, including Superfund, RCRA, water and air studies,
  • Technical assistance and training,
  • Review of environmental study plans and investigative reports,
  • Overviews of state and private consulting environmental activities, and
  • Air technical system audits, air performance audits, quality assurance reviews, and data validation.

The EIB is a results-oriented organization and is a leader in the field of environmental investigations. The EIB is experienced in conducting many types of environmental investigations and is called upon both nationally and internationally for its expertise.

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Management and Technical Services Branch

What We Do:   

The Management and Technical Services Branch is comprised of a multi-disciplined, customer-focused staff that provides quality service to SESD in a variety of support functions.

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