LEONARD MARINE: leonard-marine@uiowa.edu

Taking part in eight drills this year helped the Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT) section maintain the Hygienic Laboratory’s preparedness for radiological emergencies.

The RERT is part of Iowa’s Radiological Emergency Response program. This group provides field monitoring, technical consultation and initial accident assessment in coordination with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The team also works with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division to prepare for the unlikely event of an act of terrorism or an accident at one of the four nuclear power plants in or near Iowa. The role of the Hygienic Laboratory’s RERT is to evaluate the extent to which radioactive materials have been released from an incident.

Federal guidelines require emergency planning for areas within a 10-mile and a 50-mile radius of a nuclear power station. The laboratory also provides the following services:

  • Field surveillance and monitoring of radiation levels, including coordination of environmental sampling with state and federal agencies;
  • Dose assessment in support of IDPH programs;
  • Laboratory analysis and support of environmental sampling and radiological monitoring activities during an emergency and post emergency;
  • Maintenance and communication of data relating to radiation exposure and contamination; and
  • Technical expertise for local emergency response personnel for monitoring and decontamination of evacuees.


  • Participated in eight drills: five drills at Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, Iowa, and three at Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Station in Nebraska. (Drills are non-federally evaluated practice events, generally held quarterly.)

  • Participated in a rehearsal and evaluated emergency phase exercises for the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Station. (A rehearsal is considered a practice before a federally evaluated exercise.)

  • Rehearsed and evaluated emergency and ingestion pathways as part of a team exercise at Duane Arnold Energy Center.

  • Evaluated by FEMA Region 7 onsite at the Radiochemistry Laboratory.

  • Continued to implement the RadResponder Network. This network assists in rapidly recording, sharing and aggregating large quantities of data during a radiological emergency.

  • Hosted an EPA onsite training for Radiochemistry Laboratory emergency response.

Other Units in Environmental Health

The Office of the Director consists of 10 key functional units that enable the State Hygienic Laboratory to achieve its statutory charge set forth in the Iowa Administrative Code.

The primary mission of the Disease Control Division is to test human specimens, food and water for diseases of public health significance to protect the citizens of Iowa.

The Environmental Health Division monitors drinking water, wastewater, air, soil and food for contaminants of potential environmental and public health concern.

The Division of Administration and Finance is responsible for the management of the business practices, all Hygienic Laboratory facilities, and pre/post testing support.