The ASTM Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA) Program
Charles J. Newell and John A. Connor
The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) has recently issued Emergency Standard ES 38-94 "Risk-Based Corrective Action Applied at Petroleum Release Sites." This standard, developed by EPA, state regulators, industry representatives and other stakeholders, represents a streamlined approach for assessment and response to subsurface contamination associated with hydrocarbon releases. RBCA integrates EPA risk assessment practices with traditional site investigation and remedy selection activities in order to determine cost-effective measures for protection of human health and environmental resources.
Under this integrated approach, petroleum release sites are characterized in terms of sources, transport mechanisms, and receptors. Remedial measures are then applied as needed to prevent human or environmental exposure to harmful levels of site constituents. Such risk-based corrective action can be achieved by addressing any step in the exposure process: i) removing or treating the source, ii) interrupting contaminant transport mechanisms, or iii) controlling activities at the point of exposure.
The EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks is actively promoting the RBCA program, and currently 35 state governments are planning to adopt and implement risk-based processes based on the ASTM framework. Many states are using a comprehensive training/implementation program developed by ASTM to teach regulators how to develop and customize RBCA programs for their states. Training programs are also being developed for industry representatives and environmental consultants.
AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California