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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies

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 Office (FFRRO)

Underground Storage Tanks

Resource and Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA)

Superfund (OSRTI)

After a Federal Facility site is listed on the NPL, a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) is performed at the site. The remedial investigation serves as the mechanism for collecting data to:

  • characterize site conditions;
  • determine the nature of the waste;
  • assess risk to human health and the environment; and
  • conduct treatability testing to evaluate the potential performance and cost of the treatment technologies that are being considered.

The FS is the mechanism for the development, screening, and detailed evaluation of alternative remedial actions.

The RI and FS are conducted concurrently - data collected in the RI influence the development of remedial alternatives in the FS, which in turn affect the data needs and scope of treatability studies and additional field investigations. This phased approach encourages the continual scoping of the site characterization effort, which minimizes the collection of unnecessary data and maximizes data quality.



  1. Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund, Volume I
    Part A (1989)
    Part B (1991)
    Part C (1991)
    Part D (1998)
    Part E (2004)
    Part F (2009)
    Supplement to Part A: Community Involvement in Superfund Risk Assessments (1999)
    The purpose of this guidance document is to provide the site team--risk assessor, remedial project manager (RPM), and community involvement coordinator--with information to improve community involvement in the Superfund risk assessment process.
  2. Standard Default Exposure Factors; Supplemental Guidance to Human Health Evaluation Manual. 1991. 17 pp. (EPA) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. OSWER-9285.6-03. Washington, DC. [Available from Superfund Docket]
  3. Ecological Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Process for Designing and Conducting Ecological Risk Assessments - Interim Final June 1997, EPA 540-R-97-006
    This document provides guidance on how to design and conduct consistent and technically defensible ecological risk assessments for the Superfund program.
  4. Understanding Superfund Risk Assessment. 1992. 7 pp. (EPA) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. PB9296-3372, OSWER-9285-7-06FS. Fact Sheet. [Available from NTIS, Superfund Docket]
  5. CERCLA Baseline Risk Assessment: Reference Manual. 1995. Approx. 120 pp. (DOE) U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Policy & Assistance, RCRA/CERCLA Division (EH-413). Washington, D.C. [Available from Center for Environmental Management Information]
  6. Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society. 1996. 249 pp. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press. Paul C. Stern and Harvey V. Fineberg, editors. [Available from National Academy Press]
  7. Proposed Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment
    These Proposed Guidelines are EPA's first Agency- wide ecological risk assessment guidelines. They are broad in scope, describing general principles and providing numerous examples to show how ecological risk assessment can be applied to a wide range of systems, stressors, and biological/spatial/temporal scales.

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