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Environ Monit Assess. 1994 Apr;30(2):113-38. doi: 10.1007/BF00545618.

Characterizing soils for hazardous waste site assessments.

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Environmental Science and Technology Group, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, 83415-2213, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.


This paper provides a review and justification of the minimum data needed to characterize soils for hazardous waste site assessments and to comply with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Scientists and managers within the regulatory agency and the liable party need to know what are the important soil characteristics needed to make decisions about risk assessment, what areas need remediation and what remediation options are available. If all parties involved in characterizing a hazardous waste site can agree on the required soils data set prior to starting a site investigation, data can be collected in a more efficient and less costly manner. Having the proper data will aid in reaching decisions on how to address concerns at, and close-out, hazardous waste sites.This paper was prepared to address two specific concerns related to soil characterization for CERCLA remedial response. The first concern is the applicability of traditional soil classification methods to CERCLA soil characterization. The second is the identification of soil characterization data type required for CERCLA risk assessment and analysis of remedial alternatives. These concerns are related, in that the Data Quality Objective (DQO) process addresses both. The DQO process was developed in part to assist CERCLA decision-makers in identifying the data types, data quality, and data quantity required to support decisions that must be made during the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) process. Data Quality Objectives for Remedial Response Activities: Development Process (US EPA, 1987a) is a guidebook on developing DQOs. This process as it relates to CERCLA soil characterization is discussed in the Data Quality Objective Section of this paper.


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