The ITRC Risk Assessment Resources Team, formed in 2003, provided state and federal agencies and other interested parties with resources to aid the risk assessment and risk management process. Information regarding risk assessment and risk management has become increasingly vital as the environmental community works to clean up sites better and more efficiently. Risk assessment helps state and federal agencies and private industry clean up sites to safe levels for the intended current and future use. This promotes greater confidence in the conclusions reached at a site and the amount of clean-up / remediation required.
The team began with a mission to provide information to the regulated community, the regulators, and the stakeholders that would aid in better decision making when implementing the risk assessment/management processes. The first step of that mission was completed in December 2005 when the team published their first document entitled Examination of Risk-Based Screening Values and Approaches of Selected States (RISK-1). This document provides information on the different methods used by regulatory agencies to develop and apply screening values for evaluating contaminated media. The document highlights the need for transparency of methodologies to develop screening values and their application at contaminated sites.
The second product, the Electronic Risk Resource Sheet, was developed when the team realized there was a growing need among the environmental community for quick access to a range of information as it relates to risk assessment. The team was not aware of a single location where a regulator, stakeholder, or regulated party could go and have access to a variety of internet-based resources relating to risk assessment. In January 2015 ITRC published a new Risk Assessment web-based guidance document: Decision Making at Contaminated Sites: Issues and Options in Human Health Risk Assessment (RISK-3) that includes links to internet resources for risk assessment.
The team had a constant goal to reach out to the environmental community. The team was involved in many different outreach forums and provided valuable information to the environmental community including the Society of Risk Analysis Annual Meetings, the Midwestern Risk Assessment Forum, and EPA’s Annual Science Forum.
The team completed two projects in the final phase of its mission: the Risk and Cleanup Project and the ARAMS Project. The Risk and Cleanup Project focused on the development of an ITRC Technical and Regulatory (Tech-Reg) Guidance Document that builds upon the Examination of Risk-Based Screening Values and Approaches of Selected States document through the presentation of the similarities and differences among states using both hypothetical case studies and actual case studies. The states will be able to use the Tech-Reg Document as a tool to develop and/or enhance the approaches that estimate an accurate representation of the risk present to human health and the environment. Environmental consultants and other interested parties will be able to use the final Tech-Reg document as a tool to demonstrate what other regulatory agencies are doing in the realm of developing clean-up levels at sites. The team published the Use of Risk Assessment in Management of Contaminated Sites (RISK-2) overview document in August 2008.
In collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the team worked on the ARAMS (Adaptive Risk Assessment Modeling System) Project. ARAMS is a computer-based, modeling- and database-driven analysis system for estimating human and ecological health impacts and risks associated with potential contaminants of concern. ARAMS is based on a widely accepted risk paradigm that integrates exposure and effects assessments to characterize risk. The project focused on the review of the ARAMS tool and the development of a Technology and Transfer Workshop that was held in October 2008.