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Kerr Lab Dedicates New Wing

The U.S. EPAs Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center located in Ada, Oklahoma will officially open and dedicate a new East Wing addition Tuesday.

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The U.S. EPA’s Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center located in Ada, Oklahoma will officially open and dedicate a new “East Wing” addition Tuesday.

Dr. George Gray, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development from Washington, D.C. will be in attendance and speaking at the building dedication.

In 1961, amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1956 directed the federal government to establish field laboratories in various parts of the United States as research facilities to combat increasing national water pollution problems. One of these field laboratories was established in Ada. It was named for Robert S. Kerr, a long-time U.S. senator from Oklahoma. Completed in 1966, the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center provided 50,000 square feet of laboratory and office space.

An addition to the facility in 1993 provided another 20,000 square feet for the library, computer support services, and a conference center. In 1970, the Kerr Center became one of fifteen research laboratories administered by the newly created U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its Office of Research and Development (ORD).

ORD was realigned in 1995 and EPA’s 15 research laboratories were consolidated into three national laboratories and two centers. From 1995 until 1997 the division’s mission was to conduct research to support EPA efforts to protect and remediate the subsurface environment. In 1997, the mission was expanded to include research on ecosystem restoration.

In 2002, the division’s name was changed to the Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Division (GWERD) to reflect the change in its mission and is now part of the EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory.

The new “East Wing” is the first EPA carbon-neutral laboratory and the first to reduce its environmental footprint. This means the center reduces energy use whenever possible and implements carbon offsets to mitigate any remaining greenhouse gas emissions caused by using energy. The result is net zero emissions.

The wing will not only provide additional office space but will also allow for the conversion of existing space into expanded state of the art research laboratories. This new laboratory space is critical in order to meet the environmental research needs of the future and the laboratory’s mission to develop strategies and technologies to protect and restore ground water, surface water, and ecosystems impacted by human-made and natural events.
Source: Ada Evening News