Evi Emmenegger: Blowing the Whistle on Biosafety

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Eveline (Evi) Emmenegger, a microbiologist, managed the highest biosafety level containment laboratory at USGS’ Seattle-based Western Fisheries Research Center, working there for more than 28 years with excellent job performance ratings until recently. She had filed a Scientific Integrity complaint concerning the failure to address problems that led to a six-month period where that lab had been releasing pathogen-contaminated wastewater into the wetland adjoining one of Seattle’s most popular parks around Lake Washington, among other, related issues.

The continuous down-playing and exclusion of those who are raising these issues just exacerbates the problems. We end up unnecessarily harming the environment, our staff, and the animals under our care. – Evi Emmenegger

After USGS had dismissed her Scientific Integrity complaint but conceded that “science produced at WFRC may have been adversely affected,” the same supervisor cited in that complaint began a process that led to a proposed removal in January 2020, based on alleged lapses in a research paper prepared for peer-reviewed publication. For more than a year, USGS took no further action, leaving Ms. Emmenegger on suspension, until the agency finalized its removal decision last month in March 2021.


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