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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Human Health: Planning and Scoping

View resources related to this topic from other Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment Programs:
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Chemical Accident Prevention

Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse

Underground Storage Tanks

Resource and Conservation Recovery Act


Risk assessments can be more efficiently completed if planning and scoping of the information and data needed to complete the assessment is considered before the field investigations and site characterization work are completed. Although this is sometimes an iterative process (with some collected data revealing the need for more information), planning and scoping before data collection generally reduce both time and cost for the site.


  1. Approach for Addressing Dioxin in Soil and CERCLA and RCRA Sites (PDF) (6 pp, 43K, About PDF) OSWER Directive 9200.4-26, April 13, 1998
    The purpose of this document is to recommend preliminary remediation goals (PRGs), or starting points for cleaning up dioxin in soil.
  2. For lead risk assessment documents, please visit this webpage
  3. Current Drinking Water Standards
    List of regulated contaminants with links for more details.
  4. Establishment of Cleanup Levels for CERCLA Sites with Radioactive Contamination (PDF) (20 pp, 1.12MB, About PDF) August 22, 1997
    This memorandum presents clarifying guidance for establishing protective cleanup levels for radioactive contamination at Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) sites.
  5. Evaluation of Facilities Currently or Previously Licensed NRC Sites under CERCLA, (Interim Final) (PDF) (9 pp, 1MB, About PDF) February 17, 2000 (listed under OSWER Radiation Guidance)
  6. Analytical Methods
    The following EPA Forum on Environmental Measurements link provides information on the collection and analysis of environmental samples.
  7. Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part A) April 1992
    Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment, Part A, is designed to provide data users with a nationally consistent basis for making decisions about the minimum quality and quantity of environmental analytical data that are sufficient to support Superfund risk assessment decisions, regardless of which parties conduct the investigation. Part B of this guidance addresses radioanalytical issues.
  8. Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part B) May 1992
    This document is the second part of the two-part Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment. Part B provides supplemental guidance to Part A on planning and assessing radioanalytical data needs for the baseline human health risk assessment conducted as part of the remedial investigation process at sites containing radioactive substances. Part B is not a stand alone document and at all times should be used in conjunction with Part A.
  9. Guidance for Data Usability in Risk Assessment: Quick Reference Fact Sheet (PDF) (8 pp, 350K, About PDF) September 1990
    Bibliography of entries from categories of EPA documents.
  10. Calculating the Concentration Term (PDF) (10 pp, 1,354K)
  11. Guidelines for Characterizing Background Chemicals in Soil at Superfund Sites (PDF) (89 pp, 1.3MB, About PDF) September 2002
    This document provides guidance to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regions concerning how the Agency intends to exercise its discretion in implementing one aspect of the CERCLA remedy selection process. The guidance is designed to implement national policy on these issues.
  12. National Recommended Ambient Water Quality Criteria (PDF) (36 pp, 404K, About PDF)
    The criteria in this document (for 158 pollutants) provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act to protect human health and aquatic life.
  13. Superfund’s "Soil Screening Guidance", 1996, and 2002;
    URL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/health/conmedia/soil/introtbd.htm
    1. Calculator for site-specific chemical soil screening levels
      URL: http://rais.ornl.gov/calc_start.shtml
  14. Policy on Evaluating Health Risks to Children
    EPA policy to consider the risks to infants and children consistently and explicitly as a part of risk assessments generated during decision making process, including the setting of standards to protect public health and the environment.
  15. Radiation Preliminary Remedial Goals for Superfund February 7, 2002
    The purpose of this database is to provide a PRG calculation tool to assist risk assessors, remedial project managers, and others involved with risk assessment and decision-making at CERCLA sites in developing PRGs.
  16. Radiation Risk Assessment at CERCLA Sites, Q&A (PDF) (23 pp, 2.2MB, About PDF) December 1999
    The guidance provides answers to several common questions about radiation risk assessments at CERCLA sites.
    Part 1 (PDF) (23 pp, 2.2MB, About PDF)
    Part 2 (PDF) (5 pp, 800K, About PDF)
    Part 3 (PDF) (6 pp, 1MB, About PDF)
    Part 4 (PDF) (6 pp, 708K, About PDF)
  17. Radiation Risk Assessment Guidance (PDF) (37 pp, 1MB, About PDF)
    This chapter provides supplemental baseline risk assessment guidance for use at sites contaminated with radioactive substances that are included on the National Priorities List (NPL).
  18. (Revised) Policy on Performance of Risk Assessments During RI/FSs Conducted by PRPs (PDF) (3 pp, 44K, About PDF)
    As part of the recently announced administrative reforms to the Superfund program, the Administrator stated that EPA would reaffirm its commitment to "allow PRP's to conduct risk assessments under proper circumstances as part of the overall site study (RI/FS)." This memorandum announces EPA's revised policy on allowing PRP's to conduct the risk assessment portion of the RI/FS.
  19. Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund, Volume I, Part D (2001)
    This document provides guidance on standardized planning, reporting and review of Superfund Risk Assessments.
  20. Role of Background in the CERCLA Cleanup Program (PDF) (15 pp, 40K, About PDF) April 26, 2002
    This document clarifies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preferred approach for the consideration of background constituent concentrations of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants in certain steps of the remedy selection process, such as risk assessment and risk management, at Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or "Superfund") sites.
  21. The EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics has developed software in its Estimation Program Interface ("EPI") which provides physical and chemical properties on contaminants.
  22. Role of BTAGs in Ecological Assessment (PDF) (4 pp, 364K, About PDF) September 1991 Eco Update
    This EcoUpdate bulletin describes the responsibilities and activities of the Biological Technical Assistance Group: a group of scientists established to aid remedial project managers.
  23. Role of Screening Level Risk Assessment and Refining COCs (Chemicals or Contaminants of Concern) in Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (PDF) (8 pp, 650K, About PDF) 2001
    This EcoUpdate bulletin describes the process and purpose of the screening level ecological risk assessment, which is the first steps in a ecological risk assessment at a site, and how the list of COCs can be refined to include only those contaminants that may pose a risk.
  24. Soil Cleanup Criteria in 40 CFR Part 192 (PDF) (6 pp, 728 K, About PDF) Uranium Mine Tailings Radiation Control Act, OSWER Directive 9200.4-25, February 12, 1998
  25. Soil Screening Guidance July 1996
    The Soil Screening Guidance (SSG) presents a framework for developing risk-based, soil screening levels (SSLs) for protection of human health.
  26. Soil Screening Guidance for Radionuclides November 20, 2000 (date of the transmittal of *Standards, Advisories and Guidance for the Management of Radioactive Waste, July 1989, Chapter 5 of CERCLA Compliance with other Laws Manual: Part II)
  27. The Role of Natural Resource Trustees in the Superfund Process (PDF) (10 pp, 191K, About PDF) March 1992 Eco Update
    This EcoUpdate bulletin is intended to help project managers to work with Natural Resource Trustees, explaining the responsibilities and authorities of those trustees and those of the Remedial Project Managers and On-Scene Coordinators with respect to those trustees.
  28. Use of Uranium Drinking Water Standards under 40 CFR 141 and 40 CFR 192 as Remediation Goals for Groundwater at CERCLA Sites (PDF) (11 pp, 420K, About PDF) November 6, 2001
    Memo addressing the use of uranium standards when establishing remediation goals in groundwater in CERCLA (Superfund) sites that may be current or future sources of drinking water.
  29. Vapor Intrusion Guidance
    OSWER Draft Guidance for Evaluating the Vapor Intrusion to Indoor Air Pathway from Groundwater and Soils (Subsurface Vapor Intrusion Guidance). Provides current technical and policy recommendations on determining if the vapor intrusion pathway poses an unacceptable risk to human health at cleanup sites.

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