Evaluation of the Supporting Infrastructure Provided for EPA In-House Research Activities

CED-80-50: Published: Feb 4, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1980.

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Information was provided on the adequacy of support provided by the Environmental Protection Agency for in-house research conducted by its Office of Research and Development. The specific issues examined were: (1) whether EPA procurement policies, procedures, and practices are flexible enough to allow timely acquisition of supplies, parts, scientific equipment, and services; (2) whether shops are available and properly staffed for repairing and calibrating instruments and for fabricating, when needed, unique experimental apparatus not readily available off the shelf; (3) whether adequate facilities are available for storage of supplies, parts, and equipment used in support of in-house research; and (4) whether in-house researchers are provided adequate laboratory technician support to complete research tasks without significant delays. The information presented was obtained primarily through detailed reviews at the four largest in-house research laboratories at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and through limited evaluations at four other laboratories at these locations.

Overall, the laboratories were found to be adequately supported in terms of supplies, parts, equipment, shop and laboratory technician services, and storage facilities and EPA procurement policies, procedures, and practices were found to be flexible and working adequately. Reinterpretation of a 1965 law requiring information that several supply sources refused to provide may present a threat to continued performance of service contracts. The laboratories reviewed appeared well supported with shop facilities and services; these are supplemented by ready access to such services as milling, grinding, and glassblowing from nearby commerical vendors. Although storage areas are not in all cases conveniently located, the laboratories reviewed generally have adequate storage facilities. Technician support services appeared adequate for scientists to complete in-house research tasks without significant delays. Substantial increases in research funds and tasks in recent years, coupled with stringent personnel ceilings, have forced the laboratories to obtain additional technical support through contracts with commercial firms and through cooperative agreements with local universities.

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