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Technical Support Project

State Participation in the Technical Support Program (EPA Forums)

Objective: To improve communication and coordination between the states and EPA concerning the remediation of hazardous waste sites.

Background: EPA's Technical Support Project (TSP) was established in 1987 to provide technical assistance to Regional remedial project managers, corrective action staff, and on-scene coordinators. Three technical forumsCthe Engineering Forum, Federal Facilities Forum, and Ground Water Forum were formed under the TSP and are made up of technical staff from each of EPA's ten Regional offices. Forum members include scientists, engineers, and other technical professionals with knowledge and experience in waste site remediation.

Forum activities facilitate the exchange of technical, up-to-date information among Regional offices and promote communication between the Regions and EPA laboratories. In 1998, the forums invited representatives of state environmental agencies to participate in forum activities. State participation is expected to enhance information exchange and provide a new avenue for communication between EPA and the state agencies. EPA has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Ground Water Association which will reimburse all state travel expenses and will provide technical training.

Participation: State involvement in the TSP forums will include both "core group" and auxiliary advisors. The core group will be made up of representatives of states in each of EPA's ten regions. Core group advisors may choose to participate in any of the three Forums, but must agree to participate for at least 2 years.

The first core group was selected based on recommendations from Regional Forum members. Succeeding advisors can be recommended from Forum members, state agencies, or the ORD Laboratories. EPA will attempt to enlist a representative from a different state in the Region represented by the outgoing advisor.

Auxiliary participants will be invited to attend the Forums' semi-annual meetings through a cooperative agreement with the National Ground Water Association. The purpose of inviting auxiliary participants to these meetings is to familiarize more states with Forum activities and further enhance information exchange. Auxiliary participants are not committed to participate in other Forum activities.

Departing core group and auxiliary participants are welcome to continue participation in Forum activities. If they wish, their names will be maintained on Forum mailing lists to be notified of Forum activities.

State Role:

  • State participants will function as advisors, similar to the role of EPA Headquarters and research laboratory advisors. All advisors can participate in Forum activities (e.g., workgroups, review committees, debates, and discussions) and participate in consensus-building polls. Advisors cannot serve as co-chairs or vote in co-chair elections or on issues concerning EPA policy.
  • State participants will provide their state's perspective on Forum discussions concerning technologies and processes of site characterization and remediation. When possible, they will provide regional perspectives as well on issues that may similarly affect neighboring states due to common environmental settings.
  • State participants are spokespersons for the technical staff in their state. In this role, they should communicate with other state peers concerning the issues discussed by EPA or other issues initiated by the state. The state participants are encouraged to contact state technical personnel in other states within their region for input on issues.
  • Core group advisors will participate in the forums= monthly conference calls and semi-annual meetings. Yearly total resource commitment is contingent on the individual; however, three to four weeks (including two one week meetings) is normal. Participation requirements for the states will be the same as those set for regional members in the forum by-laws.

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