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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Elements of the RAGS Part D Approach

The Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund (RAGS) Part D approach consists of three basic elements: Use of Planning Tools, Continuous Involvement of EPA Risk Assessors, and Information Transfer to a Superfund Risk Data Repository. Brief descriptions of the three components follow:

Use of Planning Tools
The Planning Tools developed by the EPA RAGS Part D Workgroup and refined through regional review include a Technical Approach for Risk Assessment or TARA, Planning Tables, and Instructions for the Planning Tables.

  • The Technical Approach for Risk Assessment (TARA) is a road map for incorporating continuous involvement of the EPA risk assessor throughout the CERCLA remedial process for a particular site. Risk-related activities, beginning with scoping and problem formulation, extending through collection and analysis of risk-related data, and supporting risk management decision making and remedial design/remedial action issues are addressed. A planning worksheet that can be used to summarize the TARA for a particular site can be found in Appendix C.

  • The Planning Tables have been developed to more clearly and consistently document important parameters, data, calculations, and conclusions from all stages of human health risk assessment development. Electronic templates for the Planning Tables have been developed in Lotus® and Excel® for ease of use by risk assessors. For site-specific risk assessments, the Planning Tables, related Worksheets, and Supporting Information should first be prepared as Interim Deliverables for EPA risk assessor review, and should later be included in the Draft and Final Baseline Risk Assessment Reports. The Planning Tables, both a blank set and a fully completed example set, may be found in Appendix A. Additional example scenarios and selected Planning Tables are provided in Appendix D. Use of the Planning Tables will help standardize the reporting of human health risk assessments and improve communication with stakeholders.

  • Instructions for the Planning Tables have been prepared corresponding to each row and column on each Planning Table. Definitions of each field are supplied in the Glossary and example data or selections for individual data fields are provided. The Instructions should be used to complete and/or review Planning Tables for each site-specific human health risk assessment, where appropriate. The Instructions may be found in Appendix B.

Continuous Involvement of EPA Risk Assessors
The EPA risk assessor is a critical participant in the CERCLA remedial process for any site, from scoping through completion and periodic review of the remedial action. EPA risk assessors support reasonable and consistent risk analysis and risk-based decision making. Early and continuous involvement by the EPA risk assessors should include scoping, workplan review, and customization of the TARA for each site to identify all risk-related requirements. The EPA risk assessors should review Interim Deliverables and identify corrections needed prior to preparation of the Draft and Final Baseline Risk Assessment Reports. Participation of the EPA risk assessors in all other phases of the CERCLA remedial process will help ensure human health risk issues are appropriately incorporated in the remedy selection and implementation processes.

Information Transfer to a Superfund Risk Data Repository
Summary-level site-specific risk information will be stored in a Superfund Risk Data Repository to provide information access and evaluation capabilities to all EPA staff.

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