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Participation Sought for New Subcommittee on Forensic Environmental Investigations
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 October 2005 Tech News

Participation Sought for New Subcommittee on Forensic Environmental Investigations

Participation is being sought for a new ASTM International subcommittee under the jurisdiction of Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management, and Corrective Action. The subcommittee, E50.06 on Forensic Environmental Investigations, will focus on the development of standards for processes and technologies applied to judicial, private and/or administrative procedures. Subcommittee E50.06 will encourage research and sponsor symposia, workshops and publications to facilitate the development of standards relating to forensic environmental investigations.

According to Stephen Hilfiker, president, Environmental Risk Management, Inc., the impetus behind the creation of Subcommittee E50.06 was a 1993 court case that established criteria for court-defensible data in a forensic environmental investigation. These criteria include determining whether the science involved in an investigation conforms to industry standards, whether data was collected in accordance with standard operating procedures, and whether the appropriate standard of care that is customarily performed by competent and credible professionals is exercised in the process of data collection.

“This subcommittee has been created to define what ‘industry standards,’ ‘standard operating procedures,’ and ‘standards of care’ are, so we can more fully defend and support our work,” says Hilfiker.

Task groups are being formed within the subcommittee in the areas of definitions/terminology, applicability/ purpose/need, references/literature and qualifications/education/experience. In addition to standards in those areas, the subcommittee intends to develop standards in the areas of historical/background research, forensic project management issues (including professional judgment, limitations, field data collection and reporting) and work on specific analytical procedures as they apply to specific forensic challenges.

“We are developing worldwide interest among forensic professionals, chemists and environmental consultants,” says Hilfiker. “We will seek participation from insurance companies, oil companies, property owners, attorneys and potentially responsible parties.” //

Technical information:
Stephen Hilfiker, Environmental Risk Management, Inc., Ft. Myers, Fla.
Phone: 888/368-6468

ASTM staff: Daniel Smith
Phone: 610/832-9727

Upcoming Meeting: Oct. 17, AEHS Conference, Amherst, Mass.

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