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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Superfund Risk Assessment: Human Health: Planning and Scoping

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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. Documents and links related to planning and scoping are presented on this webpage.


  1. Role of the Baseline Risk Assessment in Superfund Remedy Selection April 22, 1991
    This memo describes the process and purpose of the baseline risk assessment (the latter steps) in terms of remedy selection.
  2. (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.
  3. Presenters' Manual for: Superfund Risk and Assessment and How You Can Help (PDF) (77 pp, 1 mb,  About PDF) EPA developed the 40-minute videotape "Superfund Risk Assessment and How You Can Help" to help explain in plain terms the Superfund human health risk assessment process and how communities can be involved.
  4. Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund, Volume I - Human Health Evaluation Manual
    Part A: Baseline Risk Assessment (1989)
    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
    Part B: Development of Risk-based Preliminary Remediation Goals (1991)
    Part C: Risk Evaluation of Remedial Alternatives (1991)
    Part D: Standardized Planning, Reporting and Review of Superfund Risk Assessments (2001)
    Part E: Supplemental Guidance for Dermal Risk Assessment (2004)
    Part F: Supplemental Guidance for Inhalation Risk Assessment (2009)
  5. EPA Superfund's "Process for Conducting Probabilistic Risk Assessment, RAGS Volume III, Part A" December 2001, EPA 540-R-02-002
  6. Soil Screening Guidance July 1996, December 2002
    The Soil Screening Guidance (SSG) presents a framework for developing risk-based, soil screening levels (SSLs) for protection of human health.
  7. 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.
  8. Analytical Methods
    The following EPA Forum on Environmental Measurements link provides information on the collection and analysis of environmental samples.
  9. Data Quality Objectives
    Sampling and analysis activities undertaken during the RI should provide adequate data to evaluate all appropriate exposure pathways. Therefore, risk assessors should be involved in the development of the data quality objectives for sampling and analysis and in selecting the types of sampling and analyses that will be done. The DQOs should address the qualitative and quantitative nature of the sampling data in terms of relative quality and intent for use, to ensure that the data collected will be appropriate for the intended objectives. DQOs are discussed under Section 2.2 of RAGS Part D (PDF) (4 pp, 21K,  About PDF).
  10. Data Useability in Risk Assessment
    Data quality is an important component of the risk assessment and the evaluation of data quality should be documented. RAGS Part D includes Data Useability Worksheets (ZIP 7KB) to address this need. In addition, Section 3.1.1 of Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund (RAGS) Part D (PDF) (30pp, 59KB,  About PDF) discusses standard tables, worksheets, and supporting information. Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment: Quick Reference Fact Sheet (1990)
    Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part A) (1992)
    Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part B) (1992)
  11. Calculating the Concentration Term (PDF) (10 pp, 1,354K,  About PDF)
  12. Calculating Upper Confidence Limits for Exposure Point Concentrations at Hazardous Waste Sites (PDF) (32 pp, 950K,  About PDF)
  13. Technical Support Center for Monitoring and Site Characterization to provide access to ProUCL Version 3.0
  14. Guidance for Comparing Background and Chemical Concentration in Soil for CERCLA 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Land Use in the CERCLA Remedy Selection Process
    OSWER Directive No. 9355.7-04. This directive presents additional information for considering land use in making remedy selection decisions under CERCLA at NPL sites.
  17. Response Actions at Sites with Contamination Inside Buildings (August 1993) (PDF) (6pp, 104K,  About PDF)
    Addresses the use of the CERCLA authority to conduct response actions within buildings that are contaminated. Includes a flow-chart that designates the sequence of steps to take when addressing indoor contamination scenarios. Headquarters consultation requirements are defined. OSWER 9360.3-12
  18. 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.
  19. Identifying Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs) 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.
  20. The following link contains information on addressing asbestos at Superfund sites
  21. Headquarters Consultation for Dioxin Sites (PDF) (2 pp, 31K,  About PDF) OSWER Directive 9200.4-19, December 13, 1996
    This document requests that CERCLA regional offices consult with EPA Headquarters on sites where remediation goals are to be developed for dioxin in soil.
  22. 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.
  23. EPA FAQ's about the Update to the ATSDR Policy Guideline for Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Residential Soil (PDF) (6 pp, 39K,  About PDF)
  24. For lead risk assessment documents, please visit this webpage.
  25. EPA Radiation Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund sites

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