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Environmental Lab

Supporting the King County Water and Land Resources Division by keeping watch over our waterways.

Protecting our waterways

Our mission at the King County Environmental Laboratory (KCEL) is to produce high-quality field and laboratory data. Many of our programs track long-term environmental health and water quality. Some of these projects started more than 40 years ago. These long-term datasets help our scientists to understand how our environment changes over time and to identify potential problems. Other projects we work on are shorter term. These are like snapshots of what is happening in our environment so we can understand and protect our natural resources better.

What we do

Every year we test thousands of water, sediment, and other types of environmental samples from all over King County and surrounding areas. The data we produce are used in environmental studies, to enforce environmental laws, and make resource management decisions.

Our data scientists use it to:

  • Track regional water quality
  • Design and operate wastewater treatment plants
  • Track wastewater treatment plant discharge permit compliance
  • Enforce industrial waste laws
  • Create plans and programs to protect and improve local water bodies
  • Track use of recycled products like Biosolids and treated wastewater
  • Protect public health
  • Take part in studies with other governmental and research organizations

We are recognized by the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) as an excellent laboratory because of our commitment to producing high-quality, accurate data.

The lab is made up of chemists, biologists, microbiologists, engineers, environmental specialists, and administrative and IT information technology professionals. We are located in Seattle, Washington.

Learn more about our accreditations and laboratory units.

Looking for information on a certain project? Please visit our Contact Us page for Lab Project Manager and Unit Supervisor listings.

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