Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has developed an ecological screening evaluation process that emphasizes the development and testing of an ecological exposure and transport pathway site conceptual model. LANL developed this screening approach in partnership with personnel from the State of New Mexico regulatory authority (the New Mexico Environment Department or NMED).
A key part of the screening evaluation process is the completion of an innovative ecological scoping checklist. This checklist helps to (1) determine if complete pathways to ecological receptors exist; (2) determine how the impacted media should be aggregated spatially for screening, establishing the functional/operational boundaries of the assessment; and (3) gather information to develop the site conceptual model (SCM). The SCM includes contaminant sources, dominant transport pathways and exposure routes, and potential receptors. The scoping checklist consists of a series of questions and placeholders for field notes, which are intended to guide the risk assessor in developing the SCM, and provide the decision-makers with consistent information on receptors, potential transport pathways and potential exposure pathways. This paper summarizes the LANL/NMED scoping checklist and gives examples of its application at the LANL Environmental Restoration (ER) sites.