Voluntary Remediation Program Risk Assessment Guidance

Glossary

CARCINOGEN -- a chemical classification for the purpose of risk assessment as an agent that is known or suspected to cause cancer in humans, including but not limited to a known or likely human carcinogen or a probable or possible human carcinogen under an EPA weight-of-evidence classification system. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

CHRONIC DAILY INTAKE -- exposure expressed as mass of a substance contacted per unit body weight per unit time, averaged over a long period of time (as a Superfund program guideline, seven years to a lifetime). [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 6]

CONTAMINANT -- any man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical or biological integrity of soils, sediments, air and surface water or groundwater including, but not limited to, such alterations caused by any hazardous substance (as defined in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 USC § 9601(14)), hazardous waste (as defined in 9 VAC 20-60-10), solid waste (as defined in 9 VAC 20-80-10), petroleum (as defined in Articles 9 (§ 62.1-44.34:8 et seq.) and 11 (§ 62.1-44.34:14 et seq.)) of the Virginia State Water Control Law, or natural gas. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

CRITERION CONTINUOUS CONCENTRATION -- an estimate of the highest concentration of a material in surface water to which an aquatic community can be exposed indefinitely without resulting in an unacceptable effect. [Source: Federal Register, December 10, 1998 (Volume 63), Pages 68353-68364]

DATA COLLECTION AND EVALUATION -- during the data collection and evaluation step of a risk assessment, site data relevant to human and ecological health evaluation are gathered and analyzed. In addition, potential chemicals of concern are identified. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 1.1.2, Exhibit 1-2]

DERMAL ABSORPTION FACTOR -- a chemical-specific value that accounts for the desorption of a chemical from the soil matrix and absorption of the chemical across the skin. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Exhibit 6-15]

DERMAL PERMEABILITY CONSTANT -- a flux value, normalized for concentration, that represents the rate at which a chemical penetrates the skin. [Source: Dermal Exposure Assessment: Principles and Applications. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Health and Environmental Assessment. EPA/600/8-91/011B, Page G-6]

DETECTION LIMIT -- the lowest amount that can be distinguished from the normal 'noise' of an analytical instrument or methods. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 5]

ENGINEERING CONTROLS -- remedial actions directed toward containing or controlling the migration of contaminants through the environment. These include, but are not limited to, stormwater conveyance systems, pump and treat systems, slurry walls, liner systems, caps, leachate collection systems and groundwater recovery systems. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT -- the goals of the exposure evaluation step of a risk assessment are to analyze contaminant releases; to identify exposed populations; to identify potential exposure pathways; and to estimate exposure concentrations and contaminant intakes for each pathway. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 1.1.2, Exhibit 1-2]

EXPOSURE PATHWAY -- the course a chemical or physical agent takes from a source to an exposed organism. An exposure pathway describes a unique mechanism by which an individual or population is exposed to chemicals or physical agents at or originating from a site. Each exposure pathway includes a source or release from a source, an exposure point, and an exposure route. If the exposure point differs from the source, a transport/exposure medium (e.g., air) or media (in case of intermedia transfer) also is included. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 6]

EXPOSURE POINT -- A location of potential contact between an organism and a chemical or physical agent. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 6]

EXPOSURE POINT CONCENTRATION -- an estimate of the of the arithmetic average concentration for a contaminant based on a set of site sampling results. [Source: Supplemental Guidance to RAGS: Calculating the Concentration Term]

HAZARD INDEX -- the sum of more than one hazard quotient for multiple contaminants or multiple exposure pathways or both. The HI is calculated separately for chronic, subchronic, and shorter duration exposures. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

HAZARD QUOTIENT -- the ratio of a single contaminant exposure level over a specified time period to a reference dose for that contaminant derived from a similar period. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL -- a legal or contractual restriction on property use that remains effective after remediation is completed and is used to meet remediation levels. The term may include, but is not limited to, deed and water use restrictions. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

INSTRUMENT DETECTION LIMIT -- the lowest amount of a substance that can be detected by an instrument without correction for the effects of sample matrix, handling and preparation. [Source: Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part A). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Publication 9285.7-09A, Glossary.]

INTAKE -- a measure of exposure expressed as the mass of a substance in contact with the exchange boundary per unit body weight per unit time (e.g., mg chemical/kg body weight-day). Also termed the normalized exposure rate equivalent to administered dose. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 6]

LIMIT OF QUANTITATION -- the lowest concentration of a chemical that can be accurately and reproducibly quantitated. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Types and Definitions of Detection Limits and Quantitation Limits]

MAXIMUM CONTAMINANT LEVEL -- the maximum permissible level of a contaminant in water which is delivered to any user of a public water system. [Source: 40 CFR Part 141.2]

MEDIA -- refers to both environmental media (e.g., soil) and biota (e.g., fish). [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Endnotes for Chapter 4]

METHOD DETECTION LIMIT -- the detection limit that takes into account the reagents, sample matrix, and preparation steps applied to a sample in specific analytical methods. [Source: Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part A). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Publication 9285.7-09A, Glossary.]

NON-CARCINOGEN -- a term, for the purposes of risk assessment, which defines a chemical agent for which there is either inadequate toxicologic data or is not likely to be a carcinogen based on an EPA weight-of-evidence classification system. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

NON-DETECT -- chemicals that are not detected in a sample above a certain limit, usually the quantitation limit for the chemical in the sample. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Definitions for Chapter 5]

PARTICIPANT -- a person who has received confirmation of eligibility in the Voluntary Remediation Program and has remitted payment of the program registration fee. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

QUALITY ASSURANCE -- an integrated system of planning, quality control, assessment, improvement and reporting. [Source: Quality Assurance Guidance for Conducting Brownfields Site Assessments, EPA 540-R-98-038, Page 1]

QUALITY CONTROL -- a system of technical activities that measure and control quality so that data meet users' needs. [Source: Quality Assurance Guidance for Conducting Brownfields Site Assessments, EPA 540-R-98-038, Page 1]

RECEPTOR -- the exposed individual relative to the exposure pathway considered. [Source: USEPA Superfund Risk Assessment Glossary]

REFERENCE CONCENTRATION -- an estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a continuous inhalation exposure to the human population (including sensitive subgroups) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime. It can be derived from a NOAEL, LOAEL, or benchmark concentration, with uncertainty factors generally applied to reflect limitations of the data used. Generally used in EPA's noncancer health assessments. [Source: USEPA Glossary of IRIS Terms]

REFERENCE DOSE-- an estimate of a daily exposure level for the human population, including sensitive subpopulations, that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

RELEASE -- any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping or disposing of any contaminant into the environment. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

REMEDIAL ACTION -- action consistent with a permanent remedy taken instead of, or in addition to, removal actions in the event of a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance into the environment, to prevent or minimize the release of hazardous substances so that they do not migrate to cause substantial danger to present or future public health or welfare or the environment. [Source: CERCLA section 9601(24)]

REMEDIATION LEVEL -- the concentration of a contaminant and applicable controls, that are protective of human health and the environment. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

REMOVAL -- cleanup or removal of hazardous substances that have been released or that pose a threat of release into the environment; actions necessary in an effort to monitor, assess and evaluate the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance into the environment; disposal of removed material; or any other action needed to prevent, minimize or mitigate damage to the public health or welfare or to the environment that may result from a release or threatened release. [Source: CERCLA Section 9601(23)]

RESTRICTED USE -- any use other than residential. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

RISK -- the probability that a contaminant will cause an adverse effect in exposed humans or to the environment. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

RISK ASSESSMENT -- the process used to determine the risk posed by contaminants released into the environment. Elements include identification of the contaminants present in the environmental media, assessment of exposure and exposure pathways, assessment of the toxicity of the contaminants present at the site, characterization of human health risks, and characterization of the impacts or risks to the environment. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

RISK CHARACTERIZATION -- cancer risks and non-cancer hazard quotients are estimated during the risk characterization step of a risk assessment. In addition, uncertainty is evaluated and risk information is summarized. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 1.1.2, Exhibit 1-2]

SAMPLE QUANTITATION LIMIT -- a quantitation limit that accounts for sample characteristics, sample preparation and analytical adjustments, such as dilution. [Source: Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment (Part A). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Publication 9285.7-09A, Glossary.]

SCREENING -- for the purposes of this guidance, 'screening' refers to the process of identifying areas, contaminants and conditions at a particular site that do not require further attention. Generally, at sites where contaminant concentrations fall below screening levels, no further action or study is warranted. [Source: Soil Screening Guidance: User's Guide, EPA/540/R-96/018, Page 1]

SITE -- any property or portion thereof, as agreed to and defined by the participant and the department, which contains or may contain contaminants being addressed under this program. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-90]

SITE CHARACTERIZATION -- the major components of site characterization are: collection and analysis of field data to determine the characteristics of the site and development of a baseline risk assessment to identify potential human health and environmental effects. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (PartA). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 1.1.2]

SLOPE FACTOR -- an upper bound, approximating a 95% confidence limit, on the increased cancer risk from a lifetime exposure to an agent. This estimate, usually expressed in units of proportion (of a population) affected per mg/kg/day, is generally reserved for use in the low-dose region of the dose-response relationship, that is, for exposures corresponding to risks less than 1 in 100. [Source: USEPA Glossary of IRIS Terms]

TARGET HAZARD QUOTIENT -- a value that is combined with exposure and toxicity information to calculate a risk-based concentration for non-carcinogenic contaminants. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part B, Development of Risk-Based Preliminary Remediation Goals). Interim. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/R-92/003, Page viii (definition of Target Risk)]

TIER I SCREENING -- in Tier I screening, contaminant concentrations from the site for all media of concern are compared to those from background samples collected from nearby areas that have not been affected by the substances of concern. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-90(C)(2)(a)]

TIER II SCREENING -- in Tier II screening, contaminant concentrations from the site for all media of concern are compared to medium-specific values obtained from published sources such as the USEPA Region III Risk-Based Concentration Tables, the USEPA Soil Screening Guidance, federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) or action levels established by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-90(C)(2)(b)]

TIER III SCREENING -- in Tier III screening, site-specific analysis weighs current and potential exposure scenarios for the population(s) of concern and characteristics of the affected media. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations,9 VAC 20-160-90(C)(2)(c)]

TOXICITY -- the degree to which a chemical substance elicits a deleterious or adverse effect upon the biological system of an organism exposed to the substance over a designated time period. [Source: USEPA Glossary of IRIS Terms]

TOXICITY ASSESSMENT -- qualitative and quantitative toxicity information are collected and appropriate toxicity values are determined during the toxicity evaluation step of a risk assessment. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 1.1.2, Exhibit 1-2]

UNCERTAINTY ANALYSIS -- an evaluation of how: 1) definition of the physical setting; 2) model applicability and assumptions; 3) transport, fate and exposure parameter values; and 4) magnification of potential error through the steps of the risk assessment contribute to uncertainty in the results. [Source: Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Volume I -- Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A). Interim Final. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. EPA/540/1-89/002, Section 8.4.1]

UNIT RISK -- the upper-bound excess lifetime cancer risk estimated to result from continuous exposure to an agent at a concentration of 1 µg/L in water, or 1 µg/m3 in air. [Source: USEPA Glossary of IRIS Terms]

UNRESTRICTED USE -- the designation of acceptable future use for a site at which the remediation levels, based on either background or standard residential exposure factors, have been attained throughout the site in all media. [Source: Virginia Voluntary Remediation Regulations, 9 VAC 20-160-10]

WATER QUALITY CRITERIA -- descriptions of the quality of water that will support a given designated use. They reflect available scientific information on the maximum acceptable concentration levels of specific chemicals in water that will protect aquatic life or human health. [Source: Water Quality Criteria and Standards Plan -- Priorities for the Future, EPA 822-R-98-003, Page 5]

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


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