David Magney Environmental Consulting

Ecological Risk Assessments

Ecological Risk Evaluations and Assessments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Ecological Risk Assessment as, "Ecological risk assessment is a process for systematically evaluating how likely it is that adverse ecological effects may occur as a result of exposure to one or more stressors" (EPA ERA Training Site).

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is the federal law (enacted in 1980) that authorizes the EPA to require Ecological Risk Assessments.   CERCLA is commonly known as Superfund.   CERCLA also requires a risk assessment to sensitive human receptors, which is very similar to how an Ecological Risk Assessment is conducted.

The EPA is the primary agency that requires Ecological Risk Assessments to be performed on remediation projects for sites that are highly contaminated with toxins, such as chromium, lead, radioactive substances, and many other contaminants, before a specific clean-up or development approach or use is authorized.

An Ecological Risk Assessment evaluates the potential impact of human actions that may upset the ecology of a locality or a region that may create a risk of ecological collapse for a habitat.

The clean-up laws (including CERCLA) require an Ecological Risk Assessment be performed, particurlay when endangered species may be affected, when there are sensitive receptors that could be affected.   Sensitive receptors are classes of people and/or wildlfie that are more sensitive to environmental changes or pollutants than the wider population.   Therefore, sensitive receptors require particular consideration when permitting agencies consider proposed actions to clean up a contaminated site.

Mr. Magney has conducted an Ecological Risk Assessment for the former Tally aerospace site in Newbury Park, California to prepare the site for redevelopment.   The Tally site, adjacent to U.S. 101, was contaminated with numerous toxic heavy metals, which had to be cleaned up before the site could be used again.   Magney's ecological and human risk assessments helped win approval of a remediation plan developed by EMCON Associates.

To conduct an Ecological Risk Assessment that meets CERCLA standards requires expertise in biology, botany, chemistry, ecology, and statistics, in addition to other specialized fields.

David Magney Environmental Consulting has broad expertise in all areas required to conduct Ecological Risk Assessments.

An overview of the CERCLA/Superfund law can be found at this EPA CERCLA webpage.

This page last updated 6 February 2007
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