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Environmental Laboratory Section
The Environmental Laboratory Section operates a full-service environmental lab that tests and assesses water, air, soil, hazardous materials, and biological samples. Water quality and biological monitoring of surface waters is an important section function.
Quality environmental testing services are provided to a variety of customers in a cost-effective manner. This includes water quality testing for Delaware citizens at no charge.
The Lab is a full service environmental laboratory for the State of Delaware. Its purpose is to be a politically neutral, cost-effective, market-driven organization that provides the highest value and highest quality environmental testing, monitoring, assessment, and information services to benefit both citizens and the natural environment. To this end, the Lab operates in a flexible, innovative, manner that is responsive to the needs and expectations of individuals and of government programs (Federal and State).
The Environmental Lab originated in 1953 and has evolved from a small, one-room, operations in the basement of the Jesse Cooper Building to a laboratory that today covers more than 36,000 square feet in the Richardson & Robbins Building carrying a workload of 20,000 tests per year valued at an estimated $6 million annually.
Over all DNREC's Environmental Laboratory encompasses 32 professionals in the fields of chemistry and biology who process workloads of approximately 70,000 tests / a year that are valued at approximately $30 million. The tests involve general organic and inorganic chemistry (nutrients and basic parameters), metals and toxics, advanced organic chemistry (PCBs, etc.), bacteriology, biology, and DNA.
Additionally, the Environmental Labratory Section has a supporting structure made up of people with experience in management and supervision, quality control / quality assurance, accounting, data operations and statistics, reporting, clerical functions, field services, warehousing materials and supplies, and glassware management.
The Laboratory operates under various laws and regulations at both the Federal and State level, these laws governing how business is conducted throughout the Lab. Laboratory services focus primarily on programs that assure that the State is responsive and compliant with Federal and State laws and regulations.
Principal users/programs of laboratory services are the Division of Water, Watershed Assessment Section (WAS); the Division of Air Quality; and the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances' Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS); and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).
These organizations manage programs that respond to the requirements established under Federal and State laws, including the Hazardous Site Cleanup Act (HSCA, Superfund) - Brownfields, etc.; Clean Water Act – monitoring /assessment, Section 305(b) and 303 (d) reporting, TMDL (total maximum daily load) work, water quality regulations; Food Safety – fish and shellfish contamination, and the Clean Air Act - testing of volatile or semivolatile substances.
Laboratory Administrator: Sergio Huerta, M.D.