Risk Assessment - Virginia Unified Risk Assessment Model

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DEQ strives to provide the regulated community with risk assessment tools for several regulatory programs. These tools help with overall efficiency of review of risk assessments. However, maintenance and update of several different tools has been challenging due to staff and funding limitations. In order to improve the efficiency of information maintenance and transfer, Virginia DEQ has developed a Microsoft Access based mathematical model for risk assessment called Virginia Unified Risk Assessment Model (VURAM). This model is developed and maintained by Virginia DEQ, and is the recommended tool for conducting a quantitative risk assessment at RCRA CA, RCRA permitting, Solid Waste, VRP/Brownfield facilities. VURAM may be used as a reference, and if desired for CERCLA/Federal Facilities.

The risk assessment information in the VURAM User’s Guide provides a quick overview of core principles of risk assessment. Neither VURAM nor its User’s Guide is meant to be used as sole reference for risk assessment guidance or risk assessment protocol. VURAM and its User’s Guide do not replace, revise, or supersede Federal or State regulatory, risk assessment, and/ or program-specific requirements or guidance. Please refer to Regulatory program specific risk assessment pages (RCRA CA RA, RCRA Permitting RA, Solid Waste RA, VRP RA) for more details. Use of VURAM is effective of October 6, 2016.We no longer accept risk assessment reports conducted using different or outdated risk assessment  tools.

Download and save VURAM User’s Guide.

Download and save VURAM.

To track changes made in VURAM, refer the Change Log.

Webinar Training for VURAM.

Refer to the VURAM User’s Guide for instruction on how to install and use VURAM. The latest version of VURAM supersedes all previous versions. Therefore the participant must ensure that the most current version of VURAM is used for risk assessment.

The VURAM database includes chemical-specific parameters including toxicity values as well as exposure defaults for various land use, receptor, and environmental media. These inputs are provided and updated periodically by EPA Region 3 RSL table User’s Guide and Calculator. DEQ Risk Assessment staff will make every attempt to update the information in VURAM and the User’s Guide and to incorporate the most recent data from EPA RSL website.

Include all the results of screening level and quantitative risk assessment as well as VURAM report (output) in entirely. Incomplete submissions will result in delay of risk assessment based decision-making. Several MSExcel based tables provided in previous DEQ risk assessment guidance (e.g, VRP and RCRA RA tables) have been replaced and superseded by VURAM (as indicated on program-specific risk assessment webpages), therefore use of these outdated tables is not acceptable and will result in DEQ requesting a revised submission using VURAM. VURAM replaces and supersedes the risk assessment module of REAMS software. REAMS software must not be used for quantitative risk assessment. VURAM does not include fate-and-transport based modeling for soil-to-groundwater transfer, for which the facility may choose to use the SESOIL module of REAMS. Please contact DEQ for more details on fate-and-transport modeling.

VURAM-Important features and Limitations:

1. Inhalation evaluation from soil and groundwater does NOT reflect VI. Soil-inhalation pathway reflects exposure to chemicals via dust and volatilization from soil. Groundwater-inhalation pathway reflects exposure to chemicals via volatilization of chemicals during household use such as washing and showering.

2. VURAM does not include fate-and-transport models such as SESOIL, Foster and Chrostowski (2003), etc. Based on site-specific needs, the user may use these models outside of VURAM and enter the output from these models as VURAM input.

3. Quantitative risk assessment via vapor intrusion (VI) pathway may be considered only after screening level VI evaluation using multiple lines of evidence is conducted. Screening tables for VI are found for-

VURAM quantitatively evaluates VI pathway via the ‘Air’ tab. Only one set of air concentration can be entered in Air tab for quantitative risk assessment. DEQ recommends that the most conservative (health protective) air concentration be used for this purpose. Please see VURAM User’s Guide for more details. VI investigation relies on site-specific; multiple lines of evidence approach therefore please contact DEQ risk assessor and project manager for site-specific needs. 

4. VURAM report displays results of hazard/risk calculation up to two decimal digits to allow for more transparency and informed management decision making. 

5. VURAM does not allow the user to save, import, or export data files. Only one regulatory program and only one study area can be selected at a time. Once the model is run, the output must be saved and/or printed before next run is started. 

For VURAM Risk Assessment questions contact DEQ Risk Assessors.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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