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NIEHS: EPA Central Utility Complex Overview

F. Mitchell Williams, P.E., NIEHS


The National Institutes of Health and the forerunner to the Environmental Protection Agency have developed a 509 acre site originally deeded in 1965 as the U.S. Public Health Service Research Park. A site Master Plan developed in 1970 provided for a National Environmental Health Sciences Center for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), an Air Pollution Control Office for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and centralized support facilities. The two agencies have generally followed the concepts of this original master plan with the NIEHS completing construction of its research facility and the first phase of the central support facilities in 1980 and adding a significant laboratory addition and associated utility plant expansion in 1996, and with the addition of the EPA Research and Administration facility and its National Computer Center and an expansion of the central utility plant completion occurring in 2002.

The NIEHS - EPA Campus central utility complex consists of a master electrical substation with primary switchhouse, a central utility plant providing the campus cooling needs through a site chilled water system and its heating needs through a site high temperature hot water system, a central incineration plant, a hazardous waste storage and handling facility, as well as the NIEHS' engineering support and central warehouse facility. The joint occupancy of the campus by the two separate agencies recently has involved the integration of expansions of these central support facilities, including:

  • increase of the master substation electrical capacity with the installation of dual 30/40/50 MVA transformers;
  • expansion of the campus chilled water system capacity to 19,000 tons of refrigeration;
  • expansion of the campus high temperature hot water (HTHW) system heating capacity to 200 MBH;
  • expansion of the centralized hazardous waste storage and handling facility;
  • installation of a new medical-pathological waste incinerator; and,
  • operation of these central support facilities through interagency agreements covering operation and maintenance of the central utility complex by the NIEHS, the allocation of franchised utility costs between the agencies, and use of the hazardous waste storage and handling and joint incineration facilities.


F. Mitchell Williams, P.E. has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and mechanics from Old Dominion University, and is registered as a professional engineer in the State of North Carolina. He has worked as a mechanical engineer and supervisory facilities management engineer with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health. He has 14 years of experience in the design and construction of biomedical research laboratory facilities and campus-type central utility systems, and as.

Mr. Williams is currently employed by the NIEHS as the Chief, Contracts Management Section, Facilities Engineering Branch. His section is responsible for contracting and administering facility services for the NIEHS including: physical security; operation and maintenance of its central utility plant; grounds maintenance; janitorial; and, maintenance and repair of facility-related equipment. He serves on the U.S. Public Health Services' (USPHS) Engineers Professional Advisory Committee charged with providing advice and consultation to the Chief Engineer, USPHS, and the Surgeon General on matters relating to the professional activities and personnel issues affecting PHS engineers and architects, and is in his third year as chair of the Mentoring Subcommittee.

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