The types of laboratories operated by federal agencies include: research and development, clinical (associated with medical or dental practices), forensic testing, wet labs, biology labs, histology labs, hematology labs, dry labs, necropsy labs, water analysis labs, waste characterization labs, and environmental testing, and quality assurance labs for chemical or other manufacturing plants.
All laboratories must comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations in order to ensure the safety of employees, the community, and to avoid costly penalties and remediation. Typically, a federal laboratory has the following environmental issues associated with the operation and maintenance of its’ facilities: waste management (solid waste, hazardous waste, and medical waste), underground and aboveground storage tanks, air emissions, and wastewater discharge issues.
Past EPA inspections have found federal labs:
- pouring used chemicals into sinks and drains connected to public sewage systems
- improperly identifying, storing, handling, and disposing of chemicals and wastes,
- improperly operating their on-site power generators and boilers in ways that violate air pollution requirements, including permits
- without adequate spill prevention and emergency response plans, and
- without adequate wastewater treatment processes.
For detailed regulatory information on the large variety of environmental regulations which typically apply at Federal Laboratories see Home » Assistance » Facility Regulatory Tour » Laboratories.
For regulatory compliance assistance with your federal laboratory activities, EPA is conducting free, 2-day lab workshops for the federal community. The workshops will focus on federal facility lab requirements under various environmental statutes, regulations and Executive Orders, as well as environmental management systems and pollution prevention strategies. Click here if you would like to find out more about the workshops or wish to register for one.