Jump to main content.

MARSSIM
EPA and MultiAgency Cleanup Tools:  

Frequent General Questions

MARSSIM
MARSSIM
General questions commonly asked about MARSSIM fall into four topical areas.
Other Questions

Questions

What is MARSSIM?

Top of page

How does MARSSIM affect me?

Top of page

How does MARSSIM fit into existing programs?

Top of page

How does MARSSIM work?

Top of page

Answers

What is MARSSIM?

The Multi-Agency Radiation Surveys and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM) provides detailed guidance for planning, implementing, and evaluating environmental and facility radiological surveys conducted to demonstrate compliance with a dose- or risk-based regulation. MARSSIM focuses on the demonstration of compliance during the final status survey following scoping, characterization, and any necessary remedial actions.

Which federal agencies developed MARSSIM?

The Departments of Defense and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were the primary developers. Many individuals and other organizations also contributed to its development.

More Info

Top of page

How was MARSSIM developed?

MARSSIM was developed collaboratively over a four-year period, by a multi-agency workgroup. Members of the workgroup represented the four federal agencies that have primary responsibility for controlling radioactive materials.

During MARSSIM's development, the workgroup sought comment from federal and state agencies and the public. Their goals were to involve the widest possible range of shareholders and to ensure receipt of all relevant information. In addition, the manual underwent extensive scientific and peer review.

More Info

Top of page

How can I contact workgroup members?

See Contacting the Workgroup.

Top of page

How can I obtain a copy?

You can download a free electronic copy or purchase a hard copy. For instructions, see Obtain a Copy of MARSSIM.

Top of page

How does MARSSIM affect me?

Who uses MARSSIM?

MARSSIM users include federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. MARSSIM users also include states, site owners, contractors, and the public.

Top of page

Am I required to use MARSSIM?

MARSSIM is guidance, not a requirement. However, it is a multi-agency consensus document, and each of the developing federal agencies endorse its use. Most state regulatory programs have also adopted MARSSIM.

Top of page

Is there flexibility in applying MARSSIM guidance?

MARSSIM's developers purposely built in flexibility by relying on a performance-based approach, systematic planning, and the Data Quality Objectives process. As a result, users can develop a tailored survey process rather than rigidly adhering to a single prescriptive method.

Top of page

Is MARSSIM cost-effective?

Results-to-date indicate that the MARSSIM process requires fewer measurements than other methods, thus saving time and money. Other methods may over- or underestimate the necessary number of measurements or may not account for decision errors.

Top of page

Is MARSSIM easy-to-use?

MARSSIM is efficient, practical, and easy to implement in the field.

Top of page

What other benefits does MARSSIM offer?

The MARSSIM process is technically defensible over a broad range of situations. Its performance-based approach generally involves more planning and less re-work than other methods.

Top of page

How does MARSSIM fit into existing programs?

Does MARSSIM work with existing regulatory cleanup programs?

MARSSIM is flexible enough to use with many existing statutory programs, such as CERCLA, RCRA, FUSRAP, BRAC, and State programs. Its comprehensive guidance addresses all phases of the surface soil survey process for demonstrating compliance with dose- or risk-based requirements: planning, conducting, evaluating, and documenting.

EPA, NRC, DOD, DOE, and most state regulatory programs have adopted MARSSIM and accept its use in their regulatory program. However, you may need to consult with your program office, regulator, or agency representative about applying MARSSIM to specific situations.

More Info

Top of page

What do I do about conflicts between MARSSIM and existing guidance documents?

MARSSIM itself is guidance. In some cases, it supercedes existing guidance. Talk to your regulator or program office.

Top of page

How does MARSSIM work?

What is the MARSSIM process?

MARSSIM provides a statistical method for obtaining survey data and comparing them, on a pass-fail basis, to a release criterion or DCGL (Derived Concentration Guidline Level).

More Info

Top of page

Why does MARSSIM use statistics?

MARSSIM provides a process for collecting, organizing, and interpreting data and for making decisions about populations of data from samples. Statistics are useful for inferring population characteristics from a set of samples. Statistics also facilitate decision-making in conditions of uncertainty.

Top of page

What statistical tests does MARSSIM use?

MARSSIM recommends nonparametric statistical tests, such as the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test and Sign Test, to evaluate environmental data. However, it describes a wide variety of statistical tests designed for specific situations. When the underlying assumptions for these tests can be verified, they may be preferable to MARSSIM's generic tests .

Top of page

What is the relationship between exposure pathway models and MARSSIM?

You use exposure pathway models to obtain site-specific release criteria, such as the DCGL. This is outside the scope of MARSSIM.

Top of page

Can I use MARSSIM for other types of site surveys?

Yes. You can use MARSSIM to demonstrate compliance with dose- or risk-based requirements for scoping, characterization, and remedial action surveys.

Top of page

What guidance does MARSSIM provide on specific phases and aspects of site surveys?

Specific guidance in MARSSIM:

Top of page

Data Quality Objectives Process

MARSSIM describes how to plan systematically and how to make planning decisions during the seven steps of the DQO process.

More Info

Top of page

Historical Site Assessments

Chapter 3, Historical Site Assessment, provides guidance for obtaining site information and prior survey data (operations records) for input to the final status survey.

More Info

Top of page

Survey Planning and Design

Chapter 5, Survey Planning and Design, identifies items needed for planning.

More Info

Top of page

Field Survey Methods and Instrumentation

MARSSIM provides guidance on sampling, direct measurements and scanning in Chapter 6, Field Measurement Methods and Instrumentation. It provides a descriptive instrumentation list in Appendix H, Description of Field Survey and Laboratory Analysis Equipment.

More Info

Top of page

Interpretation of Survey Results

MARSSIM provides guidance on Data Quality Assessment, data interpretation and statistical tests in Chapter 8, Interpretation of Survey Results.

More Info

Top of page

QA/QC

MARSSIM provides guidance on developing Quality Assurance Project Plans and performance-based Quality Control requirements in Chapter 9, Quality Assurance and Quality Control.

More Info

Top of page

 


Local Navigation

Radiation Home

Jump to main content.