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 training and exercise opportunities, information sharing and technical support.
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 (65 pp, 292K, about PDF), the NELAC Institute Exit, or Drinking Water Certification (as applicable);
- 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.
If a lab 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. This verification is intended to confirm the laboratory's quality system(s) and will not have any other consequences.
Member labs 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.
Interagency Agreements transfer funds between federal agencies for agreed upon work. A Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) (PDF) 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.
Training and Exercise Opportunities
Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) training and exercises allow your laboratory to network with professionals from other laboratories across the nation. Hands-on experience will increase your laboratory's capabilities and ensure that your laboratory personnel are familiar with ERLN procedures. ERLN offers opportunities to participate in method development studies.
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, the 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.
The Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is pleased to provide the following services for ERLN 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.
Training and Exercise Opportunities
ERLN training and exercises enable your laboratory to network with professionals from other laboratories across the nation. Hands-on experience will increase your laboratory’s capabilities and ensure that your laboratory personnel are familiar with ERLN procedures. The ERLN also offers opportunities to participate in method development studies.
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.