William X. Wall Experiment Station (WES)

This office houses MassDEP's Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences and the Air Assessment Branch

The Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences (DELS) is housed in the Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station in Lawrence. This division includes the state environmental reference laboratory for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Air Assessment Branch which is in charge of air monitoring for the state is also located in the Wall Experiment Station.

Location, Hours and Contact Information

Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
37 Shattuck Street
Lawrence, MA  01843-1398

8:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences
Telephone: 978-682-5237 and Fax Number: 978-688-0352
Employee Directory

Air Assessment Branch
Telephone: 978-975-1138 and Fax Number: 978-688-0352
Employee Directory

By car
Take US Route 93 North to Exit 45 (River Road).
Turn left at the top of the ramp and proceed 2 miles.
Bear left at the fork in the road (Newton Street).
Do not go under the railroad trestle in front of you at this fork!
Proceed to the end of the road and turn right onto Shattuck Street.
The Station is the first building on the left.

By Train / Taxi
Take the MBTA Haverhill Commuter Rail to Lawrence/McGovern Station.
A schedule is available from www.mbta.com.
By taxi, exit the parking lot by turning left (west -- toward the clock tower) onto Merrimack Street. Proceed to the third set of traffic lights at the end of Merrimack Street, at Halloween Headquarters.
Turn left (south) onto South Broadway.
Take the first right turn (west) onto Shattuck Street, opposite Dunkin' Donuts.
The Station is the second building on the right.

By Bus
The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) operates bus routes that approach the Station; all lead to the Buckley Transportation Center in downtown Lawrence. A map is available from www.mvrta.com.

  • Route 37 (Beacon Street)   
    Get off in front of the Station immediately after turning onto Shattuck Street.
  • Route 32 (Andover)
    Get off at the intersection of Shattuck Street and South Broadway. The Station is the second building on the right on Shattuck Street.
  • Route 39A (Colonial Heights/North Andover Mall)
    Get off at the corner of Parker and Salem Streets, at the St. Patrick school. Walk southwest on Salem Street for 0.2 mile, on the bridge over the railroad tracks, to South Broadway and turn right. Walk northwest on South Broadway for 0.1 mile and turn left (southwest) onto Shattuck Street. The Station is the second building on the right.

History of the Wall Experiment Station

The Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station (WES), formerly the Lawrence Experiment Station (LES), was founded in 1887 by the Massachusetts State Board of Health to conduct research leading to the development of practical methods for treating sewage, industrial wastes, and public drinking water supplies. The investigations conducted at the Station laid the foundation for modern methods of wastewater treatment and drinking water purification (1-3).

The Station is internationally recognized as one of the first laboratories in the world dedicated to environmental research. In 1975, the Station was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Please view the pictorial history of the Station.

The current 22,000-square foot WES facility, built in 1952 along the Merrimack River in the heart of Lawrence at 37 Shattuck Street, houses over 40 scientists, engineers, and support personnel in two organizational units of MassDEP -- i.e., the Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences (DELS) within the Bureau of Policy and Planning, and the Air Assessment Branch (AAB) within the Bureau of Air and Waste.

Air Assessment Branch at WES

Air Assessment Branch
Sean M. Dunn, Deputy Division Director

The AAB is part of the MassDEP Bureau of Air & Waste, Division of Air & Climate Programs. With 21 air quality monitoring stations across Massachusetts, AAB monitors air quality throughout the state to verify compliance with federal air quality standards, assesses the effectiveness of air pollution control strategies, and provides near-real time air quality information to Massachusetts citizens, including ozone/smog alerts.

Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences (including Laboratory Certification)

Oscar C. Pancorbo, Ph.D.
Division and Station Director

The Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences (DELS), housed in the Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station in Lawrence, includes the state environmental reference laboratory for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Station is also designated as the state principal drinking water laboratory as required for primacy under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Massachusetts and other states with federally delegated authority under the Act are required to establish and maintain a state principal laboratory.

The Division's primary mission is to provide technical and laboratory support to all DEP programs. DELS scientists and engineers analyze water, wastewater, air, soil, hazardous wastes, fish, and other samples for all important environmental contaminants in support of DEP's resource protection, waste prevention, and waste site cleanup programs. Environmental monitoring data generated by the Division are used across all DEP programs to:

  1. Make operational and programmatic decisions
  2. Directly support major criminal and civil enforcement actions
  3. Support investigations which result in the identification of pollution sources which then become the subject of enforcement
  4. Measure the success and environmental impact of protection efforts

The Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences is divided into four laboratories (Microbiology, Inorganic Chemistry, Extractable Organics, and GC/MS Organics) and three program offices (Quality Assurance, Laboratory Certification, and Environmental Monitoring/Special Studies). The approximately 10,000 laboratory analyses performed by DELS annually are largely associated with enforcement cases and special environmental monitoring studies managed by DEP regional and program staff. DELS's laboratory and other technical support play a critical role in the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes by the Environmental Strike Force, in water quality assessments associated with the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative, and in investigations and cleanup of hazardous waste sites and landfills.

DELS is also heavily involved in the development and validation of new analytical methods that better characterize the environment,and are more protective of the environment and public health. For example, the Massachusetts Volatile Petroleum Hydrocarbon (VPH) and Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbon (EPH) Methods were developed by DELS and are now utilized by Massachusetts and numerous other states and Canadian provinces to more accurately assess petroleum contaminated water and soil.

It should be noted that, in Massachusetts, the bulk of environmental samples are collected and analyzed by contractors working for those who are regulated by DEP. Unlike state laboratories in many other states, DELS does not usually analyze routine compliance monitoring samples from public water supplies and other facilities. Instead, the Division certifies commercial and municipal laboratories to perform the routine compliance analyses, and focuses its own analytical capabilities on enforcement and other critical samples often neglected in other states. The DEP Laboratory Certification Program for commercial and municipal environmental laboratories is part of DELS and is the largest program among the New England states. Over 160 laboratories in Massachusetts and neighboring states are certified by DELS for chemical and/or microbiological analyses of potable and/or non-potable water. Through the Laboratory Certification Program, educational outreach, and other activities, DELS plays an important role in ensuring that contractors collecting and analyzing environmental samples are producing high-quality monitoring data. DELS staff also contribute to peer-reviewed journals.

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