Ecological Risk Assessment
As part of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) studies, existing conditions are evaluated with regard to the potential for risk to human health and aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Ecological risk assessment is part of this process and follows prescribed EPA protocols for data usage, concentrations of chemicals of concern, toxicity reference values or criteria, and calculations of hazard quotients (the ratio of environmental concentrations to a toxicity reference value). Risk assessments are used to identify potential remediation strategies for clean-up necessary to reduce risk.
Environmental Impact Statements and Assessments
Potential effects of projects are often assessed with environmental impact studies. These studies assess the potential impacts to all aspects of the environment, such as aquatic life, wildlife, plants, water quality, sediment input, and air quality, as well as impacts to people. The impact on people is measured through an assessment of socio-economic changes, road construction, and powerline placement—to name a few. Depending on the project size or predicted effects, full environmental impact statement studies or more concise environmental assessments are conducted.