The Environmental Quality Institute

About Us

Our Mission

The Environmental Quality Institute (EQI) is a nonprofit environmental research laboratory dedicated to providing objective chemical and biological analyses to help communities, government agencies, and the private sector gain accurate understanding of complex environmental issues.

EQI from the pastOur History

EQI was founded in 1988 at UNC Asheville. For two decades, EQI researched lead, arsenic, mercury, and other environmental exposures to the public. Exposure risks we have assessed include lead in drinking water, food, homes, soil and vinyl products; arsenic in pressure-treated lumber, soil, and water; mercury in fish and hair; pesticides; and VOC's. UNC Asheville shuttered EQI at the end of 2009 due to state budget cuts. In October of 2010, we reopened in Asheville as a nonprofit environmental laboratory.

Our Current Projects

EQI’s current projects are focused on surface water quality. The Volunteer Water Information Network (VWIN) has been operated since 1990, and provides chemical monitoring at nearly 200 stream, river, and lake sites in North Carolina. The VWIN program is extremely cost effective because samples are taken by trained community volunteers and analysis is performed at our nonprofit lab. In 2010, EQI adopted the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE), which is a volunteer biological monitoring project. Sampling began in 2005 and is conducted at many VWIN sites, which provides additional information about the water quality in streams.

Getting Results

Our research assists communities in western North Carolina to gain access to millions of dollars in grant funding. Partner organizations use EQI's accurate and low-cost water quality monitoring to improve local water resources. Our internship program has also helped to develop and train the next generation of environmental researchers. It is our belief that if individuals, governmental agencies, and industry know about exposure to pollutants, they can then make informed choices about how to reduce exposure in a cost effective manner. We also believe that by monitoring the quality of our natural resources we can discover potential negative impacts while they are still reversible and find out how well existing resource protection programs are working.

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Environmental Quality Institute 104 Eastside Drive, Unit 302, Black Mountain, NC 28711 | (828) 333-0392 | EqiLab.org
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