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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Using GIS Tools to Analyze, Compute, and Predict Pollution, Session II - GIS Tools for Hazardous Site Tracking
Sponsored by: NIEHS Superfund Research Program
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Presentation Overview:

During the first presentation, presenters from the Columbia University Superfund Research Program will discuss the Program's "NPL Superfund Footprint: Site, Population, and Environmental Characteristics" Mapper, funded by NIEHS. The Mapper permits academic researchers, government regulators, and community stakeholders to visualize critical data about the area and inhabitants near Superfund sites to better assess the vulnerability of affected populations and prioritize cleanups. The ATSDR Geographic Research, Analysis and Services Program (GRASP) polygon shape files define the boundaries for most of the sites; the remaining sites are designated by EPA CERCLIS point data indicating the site centroid. The Mapper includes over 32 socio-demographic variables including race, education, linguistic isolation, and women of childbearing age. Using U.S. Census Grids population data, these characteristics are aggregated to provide a more accurate profile of populations living within 1 and 4 mile "buffers" surrounding more than 1700 NPL sites across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. School locations with student enrollment are mapped. Environmental data such as Brownfields, fault lines, and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data indicate additional potential health risks for residents. As the Columbia SRP Research Translation Core considers updates and enhancements to the Mapper, we invite feedback from those who would like to use the Mapper to better understand, assess, and remediate environmental health issues near Superfund Sites.

In response to the presence of radioactive and hazardous contaminants, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) was put on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) National Priority List (NPL) in 1998. The Federal Facility Agreement between DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Tennessee that was implemented in 1992 for the ORR requires that all environmental sampling data and State environmental permit data be contained in a single database called the Oak Ridge Environmental Information System (OREIS). Since then, OREIS has been the ORR database for storing and retrieving historical and environmental characterization data used for risk assessments to support source remediation decisions under watershed Interim Records of Decision (RODs). In preparation of the first watershed final ROD on the ORR and with over 14 million data records in the database, recent enhancements have been made to OREIS that have transformed it from a data storage and retrieval tool to a dynamic Geographic Information System (GIS) interface designed to facilitate the user's ability to visualize, obtain, and manage post-remediation data in order to document permit compliance and remediation effectiveness, and to make risk-based groundwater and ecological decisions in future watershed final RODs. In the second presentation DOE subcontractor, Peter Salpas of Salpas Consulting will discuss these most recent changes and give an overview of OREIS.

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