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Environment Canada, environmental protection - Atlantic regional laboratory.

The Environmental Protection Regional Laboratory at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, NS, is a major federal government laboratory engaged in environmental measurements and related R&D activities. The laboratory carries out chemical, toxicological, and microbiological analyses and provides support to regional pollution control and abatement programmes. The laboratory also provides support to other federal government departments such as Fisheries and Oceans, to the Atlantic Provinces, and to the private sector. Areas of investigation include water pollution, air pollution, toxic chemicals, environmental emergencies, ocean dumping, hazardous wastes, pesticides, and marine environmental quality. The laboratory has been designated as Environmental Canada's lead laboratory with regard to marine environmental measurements.

The laboratory consists of four sections: organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, aquatic toxicology and microbiology. The chemistry sections have the capability to measure a wide variety of organic and inorganic parameters such as PCBS, PAHs, pesticides, heavy metals, ammonia, cyanide, solids, and BOD. It can measure these parameters in a variety of environmental matrices such as water, tissue, and sediments.

The aquatic toxicology section is the only toxicity laboratory in the region that offers a full-spectrum of toxicity tests. The section conducts toxicity testing to measure the lethal effects of industrial and municipal wastewaters, chemicals and contaminated sediments on a wide variety of freshwater and marine fish, invertebrates, and bacteria. In addition to lethal tests, sublethal tests such as those examining effects on organism growth, reproduction, and bioavailability/ bioaccumulation of contaminants from water and sediments can be conducted.

The microbiology section conducts shellfish growing area surveys for bacterial pollution to determine which areas should be approved for shellfish harvesting as well as several bacterial confirmation tests.

The laboratory is a multidisciplinary group, consisting of environmental scientists, technicians and support staff, and is well equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Contract scientists are frequently brought in for specific projects, and to encourage linkages between government and private laboratories, the facilities are occasionally made available to private consultants.

In addition to its normal activities, the laboratory conducts special studies to assess the extent of particular environmental problems and to determine appropriate abatement procedures. For example, the laboratory was recently involved in the investigation into the east coast toxic shellfish incident. Another example of this type of work is the involvement in the multiyear, multi-million dollar Sydney Tar Pond cleanup (design and implementation of the QA/QC programme and data interpretation).

Research and development for new and improved methods is an important aspect of the laboratory's operations. When analyses are contracted out to private laboratories, the laboratory provides QA/QC assistance and advice. When investigations into pollution incidents or spills result in prosecutions under CEPA, the Fisheries Act, or under the various provincial pollution control acts, the lab provides analytical support as well as expert witnesses.

For further information contact, Dr. H.S. Samant, FCIC, Chief, Laboratory Division, Environmental Control Branch, Environmental Protection, 15th Floor, 45 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6, 902-426-6237 or 426-6133.
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Regional Laboratory
Author:Samant, H.S.
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:488
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