The Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory (EHSL) is a section of the Department of Environmental Health in the College of Public Health. EHSL was established to conduct research in the fields of environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry and environmental toxicology. EHSL is utilized by faculty and graduate students working on their Master of Science in Environmental Health (MSEH) and PhD in Environmental Health. Additionally, undergraduates work in the lab on special research projects.
The lab is also utilized for contract work involving water, wastewater and certain sediment analyses. We have carried out work for government agencies including Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Tennessee Department of Transport (TDOT), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and cities in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Private companies and homeowners also employ our services.
EHSL occupies the entire bottom floor of Hutcheson Hall (over 4600 square feet).
EHSL has the ability to perform numerous water, wastewater and sediment analyses following standard methodologies, including those outlined by EPA and Standard Methods for the Analysis of Water and Wastewater.
*See EHSL Analyses and Price List for water tests that can be performed for the general public.
Water, wastewater and sediment samples are often measured for their non-chemical qualities. Some of the analyses performed in the lab include alkalinity, hardness, acidity, color and solids. The lab contains many instruments necessary for these, including analytical balances, pH meters, fluorometer, centrifuges, conductivity meters and ovens.
Water, wastewater and sediment samples can be processed and analyzed for various cations. These include the more common elements tested in domestic water such as iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and lead. Many other metals are also measured. Instruments in our lab used for these tests include:
Inorganic Nonmetallic Constituents
Water and wastewater samples can be processed and analyzed for numerous anions and nutrients. These include nitrates/nitrites, phosphates, sulfates, chlorides, fluoride and bromide. The main instruments used for determining the concentrations of these inorganics include:
Aggregate Organic Constituents
Water and wastewater samples can be tested for aggregate amounts of organic matter in the environment. The more common analyses include biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and total organic carbon (TOC). Instruments in our lab used for these analyses include:
Individual Organic Compounds
Water and sediment samples can be processed and analyzed for specific organic compounds. These include volatile organic carbons (VOC), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), phenols, pesticides and herbicides. Instruments we use for these determinations include:
Water and sediment samples can be processed and analyzed for various bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Some of the instruments for these assays include:
Labs occupy entire Ground Floor