MARLAP

A consortium of eight federal agencies and three states, under the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recognized the need to develop national consistency in the processes involved in laboratory analysis of radioactive contaminants. EPA approached EMS in 1997 for assistance in researching, writing, editing, and administering the enormously complicated task. Over a period of eight years, EMS supported the interagency working group that created the Multi-Agency Radiological Laboratory Analytical Protocols Manual (MARLAP), a 1,500-page treatise published in late 2004 under the joint sponsorship of EPA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. EMS delivered 7,500 professional hours valued at more than $400,000, all below estimated costs without missing a single deadline.

MARLAP provides guidance for project planners, managers, and laboratory personnel to ensure that radiological laboratory data will meet a project's or a program's data requirements. The manual offers a framework for performance-based approach to achieving data requirements that is both scientifically rigorous and flexible enough to be applied to diverse projects and programs.

EMS located and provided nationally recognized experts in radiation chemistry and physics and laboratory operations who researched and wrote several chapters of the manual, and provided peer review of other sections written by the working group. EMS also supported regular meetings of the working group by ensuring that all changes to various drafts were reflected and produced and distributed working copies to members. EMS also provided graphical and editorial assistance to ensure that the style and composition throughout the three volumes remained consistent and accurate. During two rounds of formal peer review and public comment, EMS developed and maintained databases to track comments and responses–the "docket" required of all federal actions. EMS also produced the final "camera-ready" publication masters and CD-based chapter files.

EMS is continuing to support EPA and the working group by developing and producing training courses for planners and managers of radioanalytical projects based on the MARLAP concept. EPA's radiation and emergency response programs have continued to rely on EMS's administrative and technical expertise to develop new guidance on applying MARLAP concepts for first responders and commercial laboratories, and to establish a consortium of radioanalytical laboratories that can respond to nuclear emergency.