Town Branch Laboratory

The Town Branch Laboratory, a state-certified Wastewater Laboratory, operates as a department within the city’s Division of Water Quality.

The laboratory performs analyses on samples from Town Branch and West Hickman wastewater treatment plants, samples from the Industrial Pretreatment program, IDDE samples, stormwater and watershed programs, and samples brought in from other outside sources.

About the lab

The laboratory, which started with a part-time staff of one, has grown to its current level of six full-time employees.

A satellite lab is located in the West Hickman Treatment Plant. That lab, under the supervision and quality control of the Town Branch lab, performs operationally critical, time-sensitive analyses for the West Hickman Treatment Plant and is also a state-certified wastewater laboratory.

The Town Branch laboratory performs protozoa and filamentous organism identifications to assist operators in process control. In addition, the lab provides assistance to the city's Dry-Weather Screening and the Watershed Focused Monitoring groups. The Town Branch laboratory has performed general lab analyses training for technicians of other laboratories. The lab's supervisor lectures on environmental science, water quality and ecotoxicology topics at the University of Kentucky.

The Town Branch laboratory maintains up-to-date water quality testing technologies and state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. Detection limits continue to get lower and procedures are constantly being upgraded. Normal operating hours for the laboratory are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. A lab technician is present 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Laboratory Statistics Samples Analyzed: On average: 18,000 samples per year. Samples From: Town Branch WWTP, West Hickman WWTP, Industrial Pretreatment, Stormwater, Watershed Focused Monitoring, IDDE SAMPLES, Landfill Ponds, and additional samples brought in from other outside sources. Analyses: On average: 60,000 individual analysis per year. QA/QC Samples Analyzed: On average: 25% of all samples.

Unknown Samples: On occasions, the laboratory receives and analyzes samples from industrial pretreatment sources or samples brought in from other outside sources. These samples are considered “unknown samples” for which duplicate sub-samples are processed and analyzed. All QA/QC requirements apply to the unknown samples. At the present, the laboratory does not perform contract analyses.

Analyses Conducted: Temperature, pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, Dissolved Oxygen, Conductivity, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (and carbonaceous BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand, Solids Testing (Total, Dissolved, Total Suspended, Total Volatile, Volatile Suspended, and Settleable Solids), Total Residual Chlorine, Chloride, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Total Phosphorus, Ortho-Phosphate, Detergents, Fluoride, and Volatile Acids.

Laboratory Instrumentation and Equipment: Temperature and pH Digital Meters, Autocat 9000 Amperometric Titrator, Ion-selective Electrode Meters, HQd Meters with LBOD probes, Dissolved Oxygen (LDO) Meters, HACH DR6000 Spectrophotometers, Metrohm Robotic Alkalinity/Hardness Titrator, Digital Burets, Digital Analytical Balances, Drying Ovens, Muffle Furnaces, Hot Plates, Water Bath Incubators, Dry-air Incubators, Heating Blocks, and Autoclaves. Microbiological Analyses: Total Coliforms, Fecal Coliforms, E. coli, Filamentous Bacteria (counting and identification), and Protozoa (counting and identification).

Microscopy: Stereoscopic Dissecting Scopes, Nikon Optiphot Phase Contrast Compound Microscope, Fisher Micromaster Phase Contrast Compound Microscope with integrated digital camera, Zeiss AxioScope with phase contrast and USB Camera.

Data System: Modern computers are located throughout the laboratory, and are linked to the laboratory’s WIMS database, and the LFUCG’s mainframe. A centrally located printer is connected to all laboratory computers. Login access and all electronic data generated by the laboratory are password protected.

Number of Staff: 6 (One Supervisor and Five Technicians)

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For laboratory inquiries contact: David J. Price, Ph.D. at (859) 425-2415