Voluntary Remediation Program Risk Assessment Guidance

The Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) Risk Assessment Guidance offers information that will help interested parties conduct risk assessments required as a component of their participation in the VRP.

The regulatory basis for performing risk assessments under the Virginia VRP is found in the Voluntary Remediation Regulations section 9 VAC 20-160-70(A)(1)(a). The risk assessment is included in the site characterization report and should include an evaluation of the risks to human health and the environment posed by the release. If the risk assessment shows that a remedial action is necessary, a proposed set of remediation levels as described in 9 VAC 20-160-90 should also be included. If the remedial action includes engineering and/or institutional controls, a thorough discussion of said controls and their expected efficacy should be provided.

Risk assessments under the VRP generally follow the methodology described in Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund (RAGS) and can be tailored to site specific conditions. The risk assessment process consists of four major steps. These steps are data collection and evaluation, exposure assessment, toxicity assessment, and risk characterization. Once these four steps of risk assessment are completed risk management decisions regarding how risk will be mitigated to acceptable ranges are made. This guidance does not discuss risk management options. The 4 major steps of risk assessment, as applied to the VRP, are described in the guidance.

Special note to the participants of VRP: As a practical matter, VRP participants and their consultants typically know their sites better than VRP and Risk Assessment staff.  Often times, Site Characterization Reports and Risk Assessments present site facts and data but often times fall short of conclusionary content that is helpful in reviewing submittals. Please provide sufficient rational and conclusionary content to help VRP and Risk Assessment Staff reach consensus.  Additionally, Risk Management techniques and approaches are acceptable for mitigating risk as VRP sites. Please provide sufficient discussion of all risk management approaches to be implemented at VRP sites and how they mitigate risk identified using this guidance. 

How to Use this Guidance

This guidance is a web-based document that should be used along with Downloadable Virginia Unified Risk Assessment Model (VURAM) and its User’s Guide. Please be sure to go through the User’s Guide to obtain instructions on how to install and use the model. 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.

What Happened to the VRP Tables?

Contents of the previously used VRP Tables have been incorporated into VURAM and have therefore been removed from DEQ’s website.

Periodic Updates

Please note that VURAM and the guidance include screening levels and toxicity values which are updated periodically by EPA. VRP staff will make every attempt to update the information in VURAM and the guidance to incorporate new toxicity information and new guidance from EPA. DEQ is currently compiling a mailing list to notify our users by email when VURAM/guidance is updated. The email notifications will be provided as a convenience to our participants. However, please note that it is the participant's responsibility to ensure that the most current version of VURAM is used in VRP risk assessments regardless of whether the VRP guidance has been updated and regardless of whether they have received notification. If you would like to be included on the mailing list please contact DEQ.VURAM and User’s Guide can be downloaded from DEQ website.

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


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