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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Risk-Based Decision-Making and Underground Storage Tanks

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Chemical Accident Prevention

Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse

Underground Storage Tanks

Resource and Conservation Recovery Act


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OUST Web Site

OUST Publications

OUST Regulations and Standards

Regional OUST Information

Risk-based decision-making is a process during which decisions are made about sites contaminated by releases from underground storage tanks according to the actual risk each site poses to human health and the environment. U.S. EPA's Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) developed a comprehensive policy that explains the use of risk-based approaches at underground storage tank sites.

The U.S. EPA, Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) is working with its regional offices and with State and Local underground storage tank (UST) programs to encourage the use of risk-based decision-making (RBDM) in their corrective action programs.

RBDM Developmental History

RBDM Implementation Support

Frequently Asked Questions about Risk-Based Decision Making

Documents | EPA Links


  1. Use Of Risk-Based Decision-Making In UST Corrective Action Programs OSWER Directive 9610.17. March 1, 1995
    The primary purpose of this policy statement is to encourage the use of risk-based decision-making as an integral part of the corrective action process at sites where leaking underground storage tank (UST) systems have released petroleum products into the environment and thus created risks to human health and the environment. In addition, this policy statement provides guidelines to help UST implementing agencies develop and use risk-based decision-making in a manner consistent with the Federal law and regulations applicable to UST corrective action.
  2. Standard Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action Applied at Petroleum Release Sites E1739-95e1, September 10, 1995
    This is an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) guide to risk-based corrective action (RBCA), which is a consistent decision-making process for the assessment and response to a petroleum release, based on the protection of human health and the environment. The decision process described in this guide integrates risk and exposure assessment practices, as suggested by the U.S. EPA, with site assessment activities and remedial measure selection to ensure that the chosen action is protective of human health and the environment.
  3. Risk-Based Decision-Making Performance Assessment Study Bulletin #1 (PDF) ( 6 pp, 65K, About PDF) March 1999
    This bulletin describes the Risk-Based Decision-Making (RBDM) Performance Assessment Study, provides an overview of potential performance criteria that may be useful for states evaluating RBDM-based Leaking Underground Storage Tank corrective action programs, and details preliminary study findings.
  4. Risk-Based Decision-Making Performance Assessment Study Bulletin #2 (PDF) ( 11 pp, 249K, About PDF) March 2000
    This bulletin describes EPA's and ASTM's efforts to assist state and territorial environmental regulatory agencies with the evaluation their RBDM corrective action programs performance for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. The effort reviewed five individual state programs which have augmented their existing programs with RBDM and evaluated the impact RBDM has made on overall program performance. Bulletin # 2 presents the results of the study, evaluates the findings and provides general recommendations for other state and territorial agencies interested in tracking the performance of their RBDM programs.
    Two-page flyer describing Bulletin #2 (PDF) ( 2 pp, 2.22MB, About PDF)
    Memo from Sammy Ng about Bulletin #2 (PDF) ( 2 pp, 9K, About PDF)
  5. RBCA Fate and Transport Models: Compendium and Selection Guidance (PDF) ( 104 pp, 1.01MB, About PDF) November 1998
    This guidance document provides a compendium of readily available and commonly used models for RBCA applications and includes useful comparison tables, matrices and flowcharts that may aid the user in the selection of models by pathway. The document was funded wholly by US EPA-OUST under an assistance agreement to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and received extensive review from States, U.S. EPA and the National Partnership in RBCA Implementation (PIRI).
  6. Expedited Site Assessment Tools for Underground Storage Tank Sites: A Guide for Regulators EPA 510-B-97-001, March 1997
    The expedited site assessment (ESA) process is a framework for rapidly characterizing UST site conditions for corrective action decisions. This concept has been described with other names including: accelerated site characterization, rapid site characterization, and expedited site investigation.
  7. Interim Final National Corrective Action Policy For USTs In Indian Country OSWER Directive 9610.9A October 26, 1995
    This guidance document is designed to provide direction to Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program regional office personnel for the initiation and coordination of federal-lead corrective actions in Indian Country in response to petroleum releases from UST systems. The guidance discusses how to determine if LUST Trust Fund money may be used and what documentation is necessary for undertaking federal-lead corrective action in Indian Country. The guidance also establishes a policy for cost recovery for cleanups conducted in Indian Country using LUST Trust Fund money.

EPA Links

  1. Superfund Risk Assessment Superfund's risk assessment web page contains useful information and technical tools for performing and understanding risk assessment.
  2. National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) ORD's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) serves as the national resource center for the overall process of human health and ecological risk assessments; the integration of hazard, dose-response, and exposure data and models to produce risk characterizations. The NCEA site provides guidance and support to risk assessors including data bases, risk assessment guidelines, expert tools, expert consultation and program support and risk assessment training.
  3. The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) IRIS is a database of human health effects that may result from exposure to various substances found in the environment.
  4. Current Drinking Water Standards--National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations
    EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Tables containing current Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs).
  5. The Exposure Factors Handbook (Final, Volumes I,II,III - 1989)
    The Exposure Factors Handbook provides a summary of the available statistical data on various factors used in assessing human exposure. This Handbook is addressed to exposure assessors inside the Agency as well as outside, who need to obtain data on standard factors needed to calculate human exposure to toxic chemicals.

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