Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

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Visiting EMSL

EMSL is located in the City of Richland, which is found at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers in southeastern Washington. Sitting on the "desert" side of Washington, Richland enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Together with the nearby cities of Pasco and Kennewick, it is often referred to as part of the "Tri-Cities", where the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima Rivers meet before heading to the Pacific Ocean. As part of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), EMSL is located on the north Richland campus, most of which is just a short walk away from the Columbia River. View a map of the PNNL Main Campus.

Below is some information that may be helpful as you plan your visit to EMSL. See our FAQs page for answers to other frequently asked questions about becoming an EMSL user.

Directions to EMSL

From the Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) in Pasco, WA: Exit south from the airport parking area until you reach Interstate 182, then travel west toward Richland. Take the George Washington Way exit (Exit 5B). Continue north on George Washington Way for several miles, then turn left onto Battelle Boulevard, and right on Innovation Blvd. EMSL is the large brick building located on the left at the end of Innovation Blvd.

From other nearby airports: Directions from Seattle, Washington, Directions from Spokane, Washington, and Directions from Portland, Oregon.


The PNNL campus is 2-3 miles from stores and most restaurants, so you’ll want to think about some form of transportation while you're here. The following transportation options, depending on your length of stay, are available.

Taxi services – There are limited taxis and advance reservations are strongly recommended, whether in town or at the airport.

  • RAD Cab (509-585-2944)
  • Tri-City Taxi (509-547-7777)

Rental car

  • Budget Car Rental (509-547-6802)
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car (509-547-3310)
  • Avis Car Rental (509-547-3210)
  • Hertz Car Rental (509-547-0111)
  • National/Alamo Car Rental (509-545-9266)

Bus transit system

  • Ben Franklin Transit provides service from EMSL throughout the Tri-Cities, West Richland, Benton City, and Prosser during the work week, with additional options for Night and Sunday Service. For alternate times and route information, call (509) 735-5100, or look at detailed Routes & Maps. Monthly transit passes are also available through PNNL for $25 and can be purchased with a check (US only) or cash (exact amount) when you arrive. Please let the User Support Office know if you’re interested in this option, and we’ll provide more details.


The Guest House at PNNL is located across the street from EMSL, on the corner of Battelle Boulevard and Innovation Blvd. The facility has 82 rooms, in a variety of styles, which are available to university faculty, students, and others doing business or research with PNNL. All rooms are equipped with full network computer access, individual temperature controls, private baths, and telephones. Rooms with fax machines, cooking facilities, microwaves, and refrigerators are also available. Rates range from $24 a night for students staying more than 30 days and sharing a multi-room suite to $100 a night for one-bedroom apartments.

Note that the Guest House and EMSL are located approximately 2-3 miles from the nearest stores and restaurants. Because taxi service and public transportation options are limited and because food sources within easy walking distance are limited, users are encouraged to bring a bike or rent a car.



All EMSL visitors, regardless of nationality, will need to have PNNL badges to go past the EMSL Lobby. PNNL issues two types of badges for non-staff, and you should work with your host or the User Support Office to determine which type is appropriate. The badging process for foreign nationals requires a lot of details, and the request for citizens of some countries must be submitted as much as 6-8 weeks prior to the start of the visit. The User Support Office can advise you of the specific documentation required to process your badge.  

All individuals must show photo identification when picking up their badges and are required to wear their badges at all times while in PNNL buildings, except general access areas. For complete details about Badging requirements, including new identification requirements under the REAL ID Act of 2005, see Badging & ID Requirements.

Interns and Alternate Sponsored Fellows

Badges for interns or Alternate Sponsored Fellows will be arranged as part of orientation through PNNL's Human Resources Organization or the STEM Education and Work-Based Learning office.

Hours, Keys, and Proximity Access

Access to the EMSL building before 7:30 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. is controlled with a "proximity card reader" system. Depending on your research needs, access to EMSL can be obtained for a variety of hour ranges.  Access to laboratories is based on the specific research goals for each visit and may use either a key or proximity access reader. Your User Coordinator will work with your project host to determine the necessary range of access suited to your research.

If you are approved for proximity card access, simply place your picture badge in front of the proximity reader located beside the doorways. When the light turns green and the door lock clicks, you may enter the building or laboratory. If your badge does not work the reader system correctly, please contact the User Support Office at 509-371-6003.

Interns and Alternate Sponsored Fellows

Anyone who is not an EMSL employee and is working with EMSL resources must be listed as a participant on an active user project regardless of building office assignment or fellowship program. Proximity access and keys are issued only to those on active EMSL projects. This includes individuals who are considered PNNL employees in limited-term appointments, such as undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral internships and researchers who hold a PNNL Alternate Sponsored Fellowship (ASF).

In addition, individuals who are not PNNL employees must also have a User Agreement that has been executed by the appropriate institutional officer(s) at the user’s institution in order to access EMSL. A single NonProprietary User Agreement covers all researchers from that institution.

Bringing Items

There are restrictions on the types and quantities of chemicals and hazardous materials allowed in EMSL. Please do not send or bring any equipment, samples, or chemicals to EMSL without first coordinating with your host or the User Support Office, (509) 371-6003. They will make sure that EMSL and PNNL are following postal and shipping regulations, and that any new hazards are appropriately noted for the workspace. In addition, you will need to complete either the sample submission form or follow the special guidance for radiological samples using the Radiochemistry Annex (RadEMSL). Samples will not be accepted without advance approval. All equipment must be identified as Property of Others before entering the building.

Prohibited items: In addition to the items above, certain items or articles are prohibited on the PNNL site, Hanford Site, and other DOE sites and locations in town. For working in EMSL locations, these are

  • animals other than service animals
  • alcoholic beverages (whether with you or in your car)
  • dangerous weapons (including models or replications)
  • contraband (includes other items prohibited by law)
  • controlled substances and drug paraphernalia
  • explosives ammunition and incendiary devices


Parking at EMSL and other PNNL buildings is free of charge and does not require a permit.

Wireless Networking

As a visitor to EMSL, access to the PNNL wireless network (VisitorLan) is available to you in many of the buildings. To gain access, you must have a PC or other portable device with wireless capability. EMSL Users requiring network access to operate instruments or obtain and analyze data will be issued a PNNL Network ID. If your host did not arrange for PNNL network access and it is required for your visit, please contact the User Support Office.

Other Services


Food options on or near campus (within 1/2 mile) are very limited. If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, be sure to keep this in mind as you make your transportation plans.  

  • Dr. Bill's Bistro: 6:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Mon.- Fri. (inside EMSL, near the Lobby)
  • Venezia Ristorante: 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Mon.- Fri. and 3:30 - Closing Tues.-Sat. (3280 George Washington Way, Richland 509/371-8300)


First aid stations and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are located throughout the campus. Users seeking medical aid outside of their work hours can contact the following hospitals and clinics:

Kadlec Medical Center 888 Swift Boulevard, Richland (509) 946-4611

Trios Southridge Hospital 3810 Plaza Way, Kennewick (509) 221-7000

Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center 520 North Fourth, Pasco (509) 547-7704

Physicians Immediate Care Clinics 310 Torbett Street, Richland (509) 946-7646 and 550 Gage Boulevard, Richland (509) 628-1362


Showers and changing rooms are located in the following buildings:

  • EMSL - Southwest corner in Pod A or Northwest corner
  • PSL - Basement
  • ETB - First floor
  • 350 - Maintenance shop
  • 331 - First floor
  • Sigma 5 - First floor

An ATM machine is located in the EMSL lobby near Dr. Bill's Bistro.

Personal mail can be dropped at the collection box on the PNNL campus on Einstein Street just east of the picnic area. Full mail services are available at the Richland Post Office at 815 Jadwin Avenue. 

For information on sight-seeing and things to do, see Local Information on PNNL's visitor page.