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NC Department of Health and Human Services
State Laboratory of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Environmental Sciences

Mission Statement

The mission of the ESB is to provide accurate, timely and cost effective environmental analytical laboratory services to local health departments and supported programs.

About ESB

The Environmental Sciences Branch (ESB) provides consultation and laboratory support for environmental and health related programs in the Department of Health and Human Services. The ESB offers comprehensive analysis of drinking water to local health departments and authorized health care providers. The ESB is also responsible for accrediting/certifying milk and drinking water laboratories. The Environmental Sciences Branch is organized into five units:

Environmental Inorganic Chemistry
The Environmental Inorganic Chemistry Unit analyzes a variety of samples such as water, wastes and soils. Water samples from both public and private water systems are examined for chemical and/or physical parameters.

Environmental Microbiology
The Environmental Microbiology Unit performs bacteriological analyses on water samples from both public and private water systems. Samples are examined for the presence of the coliform group of bacteria, which are indicators of fecal contamination. Water is not examined for pathogenic bacteria, as the prospect of isolating them from water is very remote.

Environmental Organic Chemistry
The Environmental Organic Chemistry Unit analyzes various sample matrices, such as water and soil for a variety of organic chemicals. Eligible submitters include health departments and certain governmental agencies. In general, all water samples should be taken in 2 liter wide mouth jars, 40mL glass bottles, or one gallon glass bottles supplied by the Laboratory.

The Environmental Radiochemistry Unit analyzes environmental samples submitted by public water systems, local health departments, and the Divisions of Environmental Health, Solid Waste Management, and Radiation Protection. Natural and manmade radiation levels in air, water, milk, food and other media, are currently monitored.

Laboratory Certification
The Laboratory Certification area evaluates all laboratories that analyze water from public water supplies which are subject to regulation under the North Carolina Drinking Water Act (G.S.130A-311). Laboratories and analysts that test milk under the Grade A Milk Ordinance are also evaluated.Certification is granted to qualified laboratories and personnel which meet State requirements. In addition, Laboratory Certification provides consultation and guidance to laboratories involved in milk and water testing and offers training through seminars and workshops.

To contact the Environmental Sciences branch of the N.C. State Laboratories, call (919) 733-7308.

Environmental Sciences Information