Decision Making at Contaminated Sites: Issues and Options in Human Health Risk Assessment (RISK-3)

Regulatory agencies responsible for site cleanups develop regulations, guidance and policies that define the use of risk assessment in the decision-making process for these sites. These agencies often define default approaches, scenarios and parameters as a starting point for developing risk assessments and risk-based screening values. Project managers and decision makers, however, must rely on professional judgment when the default assumptions must be modified to account for site-specific conditions. While abundant resources are available for risk assessment, there are fewer resources to guide difficult technical decisions when the default assumptions do not apply.

This guidance document is a resource for project managers and decision makers to help evaluate alternatives to risk assessment default approaches, scenarios and parameters. Community members and other stakeholders also may find this document helpful in understanding and using risk assessment information. It is different from existing ITRC Risk Assessment guidance and other state and federal resources because it identifies commonly encountered issues and discusses potential options for site-specific alternatives in risk assessment. The document addresses risk assessment issues related to planning, data evaluation, toxicity, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. It also addresses risk management and risk communication as they relate to risk assessment. In addition, the document includes links to resources and tools that provide even more detailed information on the specific issues and potential options.

The first public offering of the Internet-based Training for the RISK-3 document will be held on March 10, 2015.