Tufts University New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory

North Grafton, MA

The New England Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (NERBL) is dedicated to the study of existing and emerging infectious diseases, toxin-mediated diseases and medical countermeasures important to biodefense. The building has biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) suites and animal biosafety level-3 (ABSL-3) suites, including aerobiology and insectary laboratories. This building is equipped with a tissue digester, cage wash area and liquid waste treatment system.

Cornerstone was hired by Tufts to address the following issues:

  • No airflow reversals from any BSL3 or ABSL3 laboratory.
  • Compliance with stringent NIH Design Requirements Manual.
  • Oversized steam boilers did not operate well on low load.
  • Chilled water system presented an installation issue.

Cornerstone used compliance operation experience to focus on meeting the BMBL guidelines and NIH DRM from design phase through final programming of control systems.

  • No Airflow Reversal: Cornerstone was involved early in the design phase, offering expertise on the specifications, sequences of operation, and equipment selection.
  • NIH DRM Compliance: By understanding NIH requirements, Cornerstone used its vast experience to exceed compliance requirements.
  • Low-Load Boilers: Cornerstone facilitated a solution for the steam production issue that ran the smaller process boilers when low-load conditions were needed for turndown capacity.
  • Chilled Water System: Cornerstone discovered a piping installation issue between the primary pumps and chillers before the pipe had been filled, allowing a correction to be implemented prior to negatively impacting the project schedule.

This facility has been successfully operating with compliance since 2010. Tufts continued to hire Cornerstone for Annual Performance Verifications after project completion. As a result, the building has a reputation for surpassing the performance of other Regional Biocontainment Facilities.