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Contaminated Sediments Technical Advisory Group

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Remedial actions at large contaminated sediment sites can be challenging, so EPA established a two-tiered designation to ensure that Superfund site managers appropriately consider sediment management principles in risk management decisions.

These designations determine which sites are subject to review by the Contaminated Sediments Technical Advisory Group (CSTAG). CSTAG:

  • Helps remedial project managers and on-scene coordinators appropriately investigate and manage sites in accordance with risk management principles.
  • Encourages national consistency in sediment-site management by providing a forum for exchanging technical and policy information.
  • Provides a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating progress at a number of the largest or most complex sediment sites.

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Site Designations and CSTAG Applicability

Tier 1 includes all sites or areas where the proposed or selected sediment action will address more than 10,000 cubic yards or five acres of contaminated sediment. At these sites, the EPA regional office describes for EPA headquarters how it considered the 11 sediment management principles in its decisions.

Tier 2 status is limited to a small number of Tier 1 sites that are large, complex or controversial. CSTAG provides a review and advisory function for Tier 2 sites.

EPA typically identifies sites as Tier 2 during the National Priorities List listing process or later as additional information becomes available. The sites are then subject to CSTAG reviews until the record of decisionHelprecord of decisionA public document that explains the cleanup method that will be used at a Superfund site, based on EPA studies, public comments, and community concerns. or equivalent is signed.

Afterwards, CSTAG may review site progress during informal updates.

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Site Meetings

Early involvement is fundamental to CSTAG’s effectiveness. Therefore, a first meeting is typically held shortly after listing on the National Priorities List or a Tier 2 determination.

CSTAG site reviews are generally conducted in person so members can gather information to develop recommendations. During the initial meeting, CSTAG reviews site data and the application of sediment management principles. CSTAG will also meet with stakeholders and tour the site. 

Following the initial meeting, there are periodic updates until CSTAG holds a meeting — or a joint National Remedy Review Board and CSTAG meeting — before the proposed plan is drafted.

Following site meetings (but not following informational updates), CSTAG will provide the EPA regional office with written comments and recommendations regarding the application of EPA’s risk management principles for sediment site managers and the contaminated sediment remediation guidances. CSTAG recommendations and the regional response recommendations are available on the Large Sediments Sites page.

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Stakeholder Participation

Although CSTAG meetings are not public, key stakeholder groups with significant site involvement can give short presentations to CSTAG during the first site meeting. These stakeholder groups usually include the lead state agency, the lead potentially responsible party, the lead trustee, tribes, and recognized community groups. 

Stakeholder presentations or written comments should focus on how EPA is or should be addressing contaminated sediment management principles or guidance at the site.

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Coordination with the National Remedy Review Board

The proposed remedy for most large sites reviewed by the CSTAG is also reviewed by the National Remedy Review Board (NRRB). When preparing the site package for NRRB review, the remedial project manager should submit to the NRRB and CSTAG a draft memo documenting how risk management principles were considered during remedy selection. Any CSTAG comments on the memo will be incorporated in the NRRB recommendations.

CSTAG members will attend the NRRB meeting to offer advice on site issues related to risk management principles.

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CSTAG Operating Procedures

EPA established CSTAG under OSWER Directive 9285.6-08, Principles for Managing Contaminated Sediment Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites (Feb. 12, 2002) (PDF)(11 pp, 72 K).

Contaminated Sediments Technical Advisory Group Operating Procedures (2017) (PDF)(24 pp, 5.8 MB)

Guidelines for the OSRTI Review of Consideration Memos on Tier 1 Sediment Sites (PDF)(5 pp, 33 K)

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CSTAG is comprised of scientists, engineers and site managers with expertise in sediment site management and evaluation.

CSTAG members provide unbiased technical advice and objectively evaluate site-specific information from a scientific and technical perspective. 

CSTAG membership has changed over time. It currently includes one representative from each EPA regional office, two representatives from EPA’s Office of Research and Development, three representatives from EPA’s Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, and one representative from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Members participate in monthly conference calls and two to four meetings per year.

Office Contact Name Phone

Karl Gustavson (Chair) (

Marc Greenberg (

Matt Lambert (



Region 1 Kymberlee Keckler ( 617-918-1385
Region 2 Doug Tomchuck ( 212-637-3956
Region 3 Randy Sturgeon ( 215-814-3227
Region 4 Craig Zeller ( 404-562-8827
Region 5 Jim Saric ( 312-886-0992
Region 6 Gary Baumgarten ( 214-665-6749
Region 7 None currently assigned  
Region 8 Sara Sparks ( 406-782-7415
Region 9 Wayne Praskins ( 415-972-3181
Region 10 Allison Hiltner ( 206-553-2140

Barbara Bergen (

Lawrence Burkhard (


ACE ERDC Earl Hayter ( 864-656-5942

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