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Laboratory Capacity Needs Assessment of Drinking Water Utilities: A Global Perspective

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Abstract:Fully-functioning analytical laboratories capable of producing quality data are essential components of well-run drinking water utilities. In Europe and the US, drinking water laboratory performance is closely monitored and regulated; this is not always the case in the less industrialized nations. Beginning with the US efforts to help Central America rebuild after the 2001 Hurricane Mitch, our team evaluated drinking water laboratories in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras on their capacity and performance. On-site visits showed a lack of a functioning Quality Assurance Program, inadequate sampling/sample handling procedures, use of questionable methodologies, lack of proper equipment and the need for training of both managers and technicians. To address these problems, a series of training courses, designed and implemented in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization, were conducted for health ministry officials and drinking water utility laboratory personnel from these three countries. Needed equipment was purchased and follow-up audits and performance evaluation samples were used to monitor progress. In India, our team has recently completed an evaluation of drinking water laboratories in two cities, with similar findings. The overall goal of these efforts is to prepare laboratories for accreditation and encourage national programs to institute such accreditation broadly. EPA is also working with the World Health Organization to further replicate such drinking water laboratory capacity through a global water quality partnership initiative launched by the WHO at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. EPA's laboratory program in India will serve as one component of this initiative. This work has been funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It has been subjected to Agency review and approved for publication.
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Citation:Rodgers, M. R., S. Adrian, and T. Macdonald. Laboratory Capacity Needs Assessment of Drinking Water Utilities: A Global Perspective. Presented at American Water Resources Association Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, November 1-4, 2004.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Microbial Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 11/01/2004
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Bullet Item Laboratory Capacity Needs Assessment of Drinking Water Utilities: A Global Perspective
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Evaluation of Monitoring Methods for Helicobacter Pylori in Potable Waters.
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