American University of Beirut
Environment Program

The Core Environmental Laboratory (CEL)

The CEL facility, built up to specifications of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) consists of; two extraction units (30 m2) fully equipped for organic and inorganic extraction as per EPA methods. The analytical laboratory (60 m2) is dust free and equipped with 2 gas chromatography/mass spectrometer instruments (GC/MS) for the analysis of volatile and semi volatile organic compounds, one gas chromatography/Electron capture detector (GC/ECD) for the analysis of pesticides, polychl orinated biphenyls and herbicides, one high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) for the analysis of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and other applications, one Inductively Coupled Plasma/ Mass spectrometer (ICP/MS) dedicated to the analysis of the trace elements in environmental matrices, and one UV/Visible spectrometer for the analysis of other environmental pollutants when applicable.

The CEL is a component of the Environment program at AUB, managed by the Research & Extension Program (REP) office, headed by VP G. Najjar, and Dr. Nadim Cortas , Coordinator of the USAID Environment program & Chairman of the Interfaculty Committee for th e Graduate program in Environmental Science. The CEL will be supported by the staff of both offices.

The CEL staff consists of a laboratory supervisor, four scientists and a maintenance engineer. The supervisor is a senior chemist with fourteen years experience in the field of environmental and analytical laboratory work in the USA. Her experience inclu des operation of all the equipment in the CEL for analysis of samples in accordance with EPA methods. The four scientists have completed training in USA and Europe for the operation of all equipment. The maintenance engineer will supervise a maintenanc e unit and be available full time to maintain the instrumentation.

The laboratory is designed and equipped to analyze major pollutants such as volatile, semi volatile, pesticides, trace metals, and physical tests (pH, turbidity, total organic carbon, particulate etc.) in different matrices; water, soil and sampling media for indoor air quality. It is fully operational to analyze 220 samples each month since October 1997. The laboratory will support , with other satellite laboratories, and a Geographic Information System (GIS) facility, the University Interfaculty Graduat e Program in Environmental Science as well as faculty research. A workshop will take place to introduce the facility capabilities to the government and public sectors locally and regionally to which you will be invited.

In 1999, another gas chromatography unit equipped with a Flame Ionization detector and a Nitrogen Phosphorus detector (GC/FID-NPD) for the analysis of indoor air quality of different pollutants such as hydrocarbons, amines, amino acids, etc. will be added . The capacity of the extraction laboratory will be enhanced by the addition of an automated system for water/soil extraction, a Gel Permeation Chromatography unit for the separation and quantitation of pollutants. This will increase the capacity of the l aboratory 3 fold without affecting the integrity of the results. The laboratory will seek accreditation by the USEPA, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the national Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NIST NVLAP), and the Ame rican Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

As far as we know, this will be the first private laboratory of this magnitude in the Eastern Mediterranean Arab region.

Created by the Digital Documentation Center at AUB in collaboration with Al Mashriq of Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway.

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