This ECO Update builds on the standard approach to ERA (U.S. EPA 1997), by providing a framework for incorporating groundwater/surface-water (GW/SW) interactions into existing ERAs (see U.S. EPA 1997 and 2001a for an introduction to ecological risk assessment). The purpose of the ERA within the risk assessment process is to:
- Identify and characterize the current and potential threats to the environment from a hazardous substance release;
- Evaluate the ecological impacts of alternative remediation strategies; and
- Establish cleanup levels in the selected remedy that will protect those natural resources at risk (U.S. EPA 1994a).