ASTM WK51760

    New Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action for Contaminated Sediment Sites

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    Developed by Subcommittee: E50.04 | Committee E50 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Scope

    1.1 Sediment-RBCA is based on protecting human health and the environment. This guide is for the management of contaminated sediment. Contaminated sediment sites vary greatly in terms of setting, usage, spatial and temporal complexity, and physical and chemical characteristics and, therefore, they also vary greatly in terms of the risk that they may pose to human health and the environment. The sediment-RBCA process recognizes this diversity by using a tiered approach for gathering and evaluating data to determine the need for additional evaluation or risk management tailored to site-specific conditions and risks. 1.2 This guide is intended to help direct and streamline the corrective action process and complement (but not supersede) jurisdiction-specific guidance and regulations. It can be used where jurisdiction-specific guidance is absent or insufficiently detailed; it can also assist to unify guidance when overlapping jurisdictions apply. It is compatible with a variety of programmatic guidelines for risk assessment and guidance from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Environment Canada, European, and U.S. states that share the underlying risk assessment approach. In all applications, regulatory agencies should be consulted, as appropriate. Sediment-RBCA is not intended to apply to current permitted releases or permit applications. 1.3 There are numerous TPDs related to the sediment-RBCA process. Common examples are defining DQOs, identifying relevant receptors, defining toxicity values for risk evaluation, determining target risk levels, specifying the appropriate statistics and sample sizes, determining exposure assumptions, determining when and how to account for cumulative risks and additive effects among chemical(s) of concern, addressing resource protection, along with remedial action constraints (RACs). It is not the intent of this guide to define appropriate TPDs. Users should be aware of jurisdiction-specific guidance and should seek approvals and/or technical policy input as applicable. 1.4 The general performance standard for this guide requires that: 1.4.1TPDs be identified early in the sediment-RBCA process and reevaluated throughout the process (at each tier), 1.4.2 Data and information compiled during the RBCA process, including historical data and new data collected during the site assessment, will be relevant to and of sufficient quantity and quality to answer the questions and support the decisions made at each tier of investigation, 1.4.3 Actions taken during the risk-based decision-making process will be protective of human health and the environment, consistent with current scientific principles and practices, and in accordance with jurisdiction-specific requirements (for example,regulations, policies, and guidance), and 1.4.4 Remedial actions implemented consistent with TPDs and the Sediment-RBCA process will not result in greater long-term risks than existed before taking actions. 1.5 There are basic elements common to all RBCA guides: 1.5.1 Site assessment; 1.5.2 Tiered evaluations of exposure, effects, and risk; 1.5.3 Risk-based decision making; 1.5.4 Remedial action; and 1.5.5 Monitoring. 1.6 This sediment-RBCA guide focuses on releases of chemicals from sediment and is intended to be a companion to Guides E1739, E2081, and E2205. Risks to human health from contaminated sites are discussed in Guides E1739 and E2081, while risks to ecological receptors are discussed in Guide E2205. 1.7 Both human health and ecological resource risks from contaminated sediment are addressed in this guide. Guidance on conducting human health and ecological risk assessments is available, including from various regulatory agencies, published literature, and scientific associations (see Appendix X1 to X7, Guide E2205). 1.8 For sites that warrant remedial action, guidance is provided on developing remedial Action Objectives (RAOs) (Appendix X7) that support a remedial action plan. 1.9 This guide is organized as follows: 1.9.1 Section 2 lists referenced ASTM documents; 1.9.2 Section 3 defines terminology used in this guide; 1.9.3 Section 4 describes the significance and use of this guide; 1.9.4Section 5 describes the tiered approach to the Sediment-RBCA process; 1.9.5Sections 6 and 7 present Sediment-RBCA procedures in a step-by-step process; and 1.9.6The reference section lists documents cited in this guide. 1.10This guide also includes the following appendices, which are provided as supplemental information: 1.10.1 Appendix X1: Considerations for Design and Execution of Weight of Evidence (WOE) Approaches in Sediment Risk Assessment; 1.10.2 Appendix X2: Use of Sediment Quality Guideline Values (SQGs) in Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessments (SLERAs); 1.10.3 Appendix X3: Derivation and Use of Site-specific Ecological Criteria (SSEC) in Ecological Risk Assessments; 1.10.4 Appendix X4: Uncertainty in Risk Evaluation; 1.10.5 Appendix X5: Application of Reference Area Data in Sediment Ecological Risk Assessment; 1.10.6 Appendix X6: Biological Test Methods, and 1.10.7 Appendix X7: Guidance for Developing RAOs.


    sediments; remediation; corrective action; RBCA; bio-availability


    The management of contaminated sediments is a national issue in both urban and rural water bodies. Contaminated sediment management is also emerging as an issue on the global front. Having a standard practice for sediment management would be a benefit for government, industry, and community stakeholders. Additionally, there is no clear and comprehensive standard that is easily referenced and universally accepted for use in both small and mega sediment sites. A credible and consistent peer reviewed and endorsed procedure will improve clarity and consistency in the process of sediment site managemen

    The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.

    Citing ASTM Standards
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    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    Tripp Fischer


    E50 (19-08)

    Ballot Item Approved as E3240-2020 and Pending Publication