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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Superfund Risk Assessment: Ecological: Planning and Scoping

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This is the stage in the Ecological Risk Assessment process where it is determined what the extent of the problem is likely to be. The scope of US EPA risk assessments describes what is currently known about the environmental risk at a particular site that will (or can) be analyzed. The scope is defined according to who or what is at risk of adverse effects from identifiable sources and stressors through several routes of exposure over varied time frames.



  1. 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.
  2. Briefing the BTAG: Initial Description of Setting, History and Ecology of a Site (PDF) (11 pp, 289K, About PDF) Eco Update August 1992
    This EcoUpdate bulletin focuses on the first meeting between a Remedial Project Manager and the Biological Technical Assistance Group, during which there is an initial exchange of information and guidance.
  3. Cumulative Risk Assessment Program
    This guidance directs each office to take into account cumulative risk issues in scoping and planning major risk assessments and to consider a broader scope that integrates multiple sources, effects, pathways, stressors and populations for cumulative risk analyses in all cases for which relevant data are available.
  4. Developing a Scope of Work for Ecological Assessments (PDF) (13 pp, 100K, About PDF) Eco Update, May 1992
    This EcoUpdate bulletin helps Remedial Project Managers to plan and manage ecological assessments as part of the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility process.
  5. Ecological Assessment of Superfund Sites: An Overview (PDF) (8 pp, 67K, About PDF) Eco Update, December 1991
    This EcoUpdate bulletin describes the components of the ecological risk assessment process and how they fit into the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study process.
  6. Ecological Risk Assessment and Risk Management Principles for Superfund Sites, (Issuance of Final Guidance) (PDF) (9 pp, 1 mb, About PDF) October 7, 1999
    Guidance intended to help Superfund project managers to make ecological assessment decisions that are consistent across the United States and are transparent to the public.
  7. Ecological Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Process for Designing and Conducting Ecological Risk Assessments - Interim Final June 1997, EPA 540-R-97-006
    These proposed guidelines are EPA's first Agency-Wide Ecological Risk Assessment Guidelines. They are broad in scope, providing 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.
  8. ECO Update Bulletin Series
    EcoUpdates are a series of bulletins which provide information on various aspects of Ecological Risk Assessments, including toxicity testing, the role of the Biological Technical Assistance Group (BTAG), field studies, and screening level risk assessments.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Guidance for Data Usability in Risk Assessment: Quick Reference Fact Sheet September 1990
    Bibliography of entries from categories of EPA documents.
  12. Guidelines for Characterizing Background Chemicals in Soil at Superfund Sites (PDF) (89 pp, 1.27 mb,  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.
  13. Role of Background in the CERCLA Cleanup Program (PDF) (3 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.
  14. Supplemental Guidance to RAGS: Calculating the Concentration Term (PDF) (8pp, 67K,  About PDF) Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer
  15. Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment
    These Agency-wide guidelines are provided to improve the quality and consistency of EPA's ecological risk assessments. The Guidelines expand on and replace the 1992 report Framework for Ecological Risk Assessment.
  16. National Recommended Ambient Water Quality Criteria
    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.
  17. (Revised) Policy on Performance of Risk Assessments During RI/FSs Conducted by PRPs (PDF) (3 pp, 43K, 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.
  18. Ecological Soil Screening Level (Eco-SSL) Guidance and Documents
    EPA's Superfund program has just issued ecological soil screening levels (Eco-SSLs) for thirteen contaminants that are frequently found in soil at Superfund sites.
  19. Role of Screening Level Risk Assessment and Refining COCs (Chemicals or Contaminants of Concern) in Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (PDF) (4 pp, 364KB, 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.
  20. Role of Screening Level ERAs and Refining Contaminants of Concern in Baseline Ecological Risk Assessments. (PDF) (4 pp, 364KB,  About PDF)
    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.
  21. Role of the Ecological Risk Assessment in the Baseline Risk Assessment (PDF) (2 pp, 180K,  About PDF) OSWER Directive 9285.7-17, dated August 12, 1994
    Describes the process and purpose of baseline ecological risk assessments, which, if required, come after screening level risk assessments.
  22. Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment Protocol 1999
    This is a guidance document that describes the process used in conducting ecological risk assessments at Hazardous Waste Combustion Facilities.
  23. Selecting and Using Reference Information in Superfund ERAs 1994 (PDF) (6 pp, 2,4 MB,  About PDF)
  24. The Role of Natural Resource Trustees in the Superfund Process (PDF) (10 pp, 192K,  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.

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