Ecological Risk Assessments
ELM has extensive experience and in-depth expertise in ecological risk assessment. Emphasis is placed on (1) understanding the potential exposure pathways, (2) the dominant role of natural attenuation, (3) quantifying risks to ecologically-relevant species rather than the most sensitive species, (4) presenting the magnitude of the risks to certain community components in relation to the components not apparently at risk and (5) presenting the results in the context of the overall habitat and watershed. This approach is utilized by ELM to minimize the potential for agency selection of a remedial action that will likely cause more harm from the action than toxicological harm to the community from the chemicals of concern. Remedial action objectives are often defined by a balancing of baseline risk assessment factors and the risks/impacts from physically disturbing habitats to remove or segregate chemical residuals.
ELM has conducted numerous assessments of sites located along streams, rivers and floodplains where ground water/surface water interaction, wetlands and sediment quality are the predominate issues in the analysis. Sediment stability, transport and chemical sequestration analyses are typically used in varying levels of detail to provide multiple lines of evidence to support a balanced risk management strategy. In addition, ELM has successfully conducted ecological risk assessments in support of site-specific permit limits, recognizing the limited potential for harm from most effluent outfalls.
- Screening Level Risk Assessment (qualitative)
- Baseline Ecological Risk Assessments (quantitative elements)
- Alternative Impact Analysis
- Environmental Impact Studies