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The Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is fully equipped for routine and specialized chemical and environmental analyses, including instrumentation ideal for low-level trace element detection. The laboratory provides quality data and flexibility, including rapid turnaround time, in support of research activities at the EERC and for outside clients.

“We are often compared to a commercial laboratory because of the types of analyses that we do and the instrumentation that we have,” says Carolyn Nyberg, Manager of the ARL. “There are similarities, and the ARL is very committed to producing high-quality data, but I strongly feel that we offer our clients so much more than just quality data.”

“Our analytical routine commonly starts with one-on-one conversations with clients to determine the best approach for sample analysis, and we also provide postanalysis interpretation of results when needed,” Nyberg adds. “We can often modify our schedules to accommodate ‘rush’ samples, and with proper planning, we are available to work flexible hours to support pilot-scale activities that run continuously and on weekends.”

The EERC has extensive experience in the analysis of many sample types, including the following:
  • Fossil fuels
  • Solid biofuels
  • Combustion by-products
  • Soil and sediments
  • Natural waters
  • Wastewater
  • Biological tissues (plant material, fish tissue)
“A number of years ago, the EERC was heavily involved in several water projects, primarily to determine the fate and transport of various chemicals in groundwater,” says Nyberg. “Water testing is again at the forefront of our work, but now it's in support of oil and gas and carbon capture and storage projects.”

For example, groundwater and surface water analyses are being performed to better characterize the water in the vicinity of an oil field. The Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, led by the EERC, is monitoring and studying the injection of over a million tons of CO2 per project into an oil field as part of its mission to assess the viability of carbon capture and storage underground.

The water analyses are performed preinjection and also during injection operations as part of the project’s monitoring, verification, and accounting program to ensure that the CO2 remains stored underground in the target injection zone. The EERC is working closely with the oil and gas industry to support commercial client’s needs for regulatory approvals on drill cuttings for beneficial reuse in North Dakota.

Laboratory procedures and analytical methods used at the ARL adhere to nationally and internationally recognized or approved standards and methods put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ASTM International, Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, and other organizations. The ARL has several measures in place to ensure that data are of the highest quality:
  • The laboratory management system is guided by ISO 17025, which includes a written quality manual that defines every aspect of laboratory operation from document control to customer service to equipment operations to quality assurance of analytical data.
  • Detailed standard operating procedures are in place for the analytical methods routinely performed in the laboratory.
  • EPA guidelines are followed in order to ensure the precision and accuracy of test results.

The EERC has twelve unique laboratories to support research and technology development. Nyberg says that the EERC’s labs collaborate often, both to share equipment and expertise for the benefit of the client.

For more information on how the ARL can help you, visit the ARL online, or contact Carolyn Nyberg by phone at (701) 777-5057 or by e-mail at or contact Bethany Kurz by phone at (701) 777-5050 or by e-mail at