Cleanup Glossary

Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirement (ARARs): Federal, State, and local regulations and standards determined to be legally applicable or relevant and appropriate to remedial actions at a CERCLA site.

Administrative Record (AR): The reports and historical documents used in selection of cleanup or environmental management alternatives.

B(a)P equivalent concentration: The B(a)P equivalent concentration represents single value calculated to estimate overall cancer risk from the combination of different potentially cancer-causing PAHs. This calculation uses United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Toxic Substances-approved methodology.

Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment (BHHRA): Estimate of potential harmful effects humans may experience as a result of exposure to chemicals.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Program: Program established by Congress, under which Department of Defense installations undergo closure, environmental cleanup, and property transfer to other federal agencies or communities for reuse.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC): A part of the California Environmental Protection Agency and California’s lead environmental regulatory agency. Its mission is to protect public health and the environment from toxic substances.

Cancer risk: The probability that an individual will develop cancer from direct exposure to chemicals classified as carcinogens. A carcinogen is a chemical that causes cancer.

Chemicals of Concern (COCs): Chemicals that have been identified as having the potential to pose a significant threat to human health and the environment.

Comparison criteria: These are concentrations of chemicals set by Federal and State agencies as a basis of comparison of data from specific sites to identify potential contamination.  In one Operating Unit, for example, soil data were compared with EPA residential regional screening levels (RSLs), California modified residential preliminary remediation goals (PRGs), lead screening values based on the DTSC Lead Spreadsheet, background concentrations of metals, and a screening level established by the Navy and agencies for PAHs (expressed as average benzo(a)pyrene (B[a]P)- equivalent concentrations).

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA): Also known as Superfund, this federal law regulates environmental investigation and cleanup of sites in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment.

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC): A department with the California Environmental Protection Agency charged with overseeing the investigation and cleanup of hazardous waste sites.  One of the regulatory agencies overseeing cleanup at Alameda Point.

Ecological Receptor: The human or ecological entity (namely animal life) that may be exposed to the potential site contaminants.  Same as Receptor below.

Ecological Risk Assessment: The evaluation of potential harmful effects to plants, animals, and habitat as a result of exposure to chemicals in the environment.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The Federal agency established to protect human health and the environment.

Exposure Pathway: The way that a chemical comes into contact with a living organism, such as eating fish.

Exposure Scenario: The exposure pathways associated with different receptor uses, such as residential.

Feasibility Study (FS): The second of two major studies (the Remedial Investigation is the first study) that must be completed before a decision can be made about how to clean up a site. The FS is a study to identify, screen, and compare remedial alternatives for a site.

Hazard Index (HI): The HI is the sum of all individual hazard quotients. For human health, it is a calculated value used to represent a potential noncancer health risk for more than one chemical or exposure pathway. An HI value of 1.0 or less is considered an acceptable exposure level.

Hazard Quotient (HQ): Ratio of exposure to toxicity of an individual chemical.

Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA): The estimate of potential harmful effects humans may experience as a result of exposure to chemicals.

Institutional Control (IC): Administrative and legal controls, established and administered to restrict use of property to limit human exposure to contaminated waste, soil, sediment, or groundwater, and protect the integrity of the remedy.

In-situ biological treatment/bioremediation: This technology includes in-place treatment of groundwater without above-ground pumping and relies on naturally-occurring microbes (microscopic “bugs”) that live in soil or groundwater to destroy the contaminants. The chemicals are injected into the subsurface that stimulate the activity of microbes and help them to grow and multiply. The microbes act on the contaminants and change them into water and harmless gases such as carbon dioxide.

In-Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO): This technology includes in-place treatment of groundwater without above-ground pumping. The chemicals called oxidants are injected/pumped directly into the contaminated groundwater. The oxidant mixes with contaminants and causes them to break down. When the process is complete, only water and other harmless chemicals are left behind.

Installation Restoration (IR): The IR Program is the Department of Defense’s comprehensive program to investigate and clean up environmental contamination at military facilities in full compliance with CERCLA.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. The MCLs are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and/or the State of California.

Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA): MNA is a technique used to monitor or test the progress of natural attenuation processes that can degrade contaminants in soil and groundwater. The natural attenuation processes may include biological degradation by naturally occurring microbes, sorption (sticking) to soil, or dilution due to mixing with clean water.

National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP): The NCP is the Federal government’s blueprint for responding to both oil spills and hazardous substance releases. The NCP contains the guidelines and procedures for implementing the CERCLA (Superfund) program.

Operable Unit: Group of one or more Installation Restoration Program sites that share common characteristics.  As a management tool to accelerate site investigation, cleanup, and reuse, the thirty-five CERCLA sites at Alameda Point are divided into ten operable units (OUs).

Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB): Any chemical substance that is limited to the biphenyl molecule that has been chlorinated to varying degrees. In the past, PCBs were often used in industry in electrical transformers because of their insulating properties.

Petroleum Program: A program to investigate and cleanup environmental contamination due to releases of petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Petroleum was excluded from the Superfund (CERCLA) law and is administered separately.  At Alameda Point, the Navy oversees and pays for the Petroleum Program.  The lead regulatory agency for the Petroleum Program at Alameda Point is the Water Board.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH): Specific class or group of semi volatile organic compounds whose molecules consist of multiple benzene rings. “Polycyclic” means multi-ringed.  Some are suspected as cancer-causing compounds. PAHs are commonly associated with noncombusted fuels and waste oil.

Preferred Remedial Alternative: The remedial alternative selected by the Navy, in conjunction with the regulatory agencies, based on the evaluation of remedial alternatives presented in the Feasibility Study (FS)..

Proposed Plan: A document that reviews the remedial alternatives presented in the FS, summarizes the proposed preferred remedial alternative, explains the reasons for recommending the alternative, and notifies the community of the proposed preferred alternative.

Reasonable Maximum Exposure (RME): A formula used in assessing health risks of a chemical.  It takes the potential duration of exposure and potential frequency of exposure to a chemical and comes up with an estimate by dividing daily intake by time of exposure.

Receptor: The human or ecological entity that may be exposed to the potential site contaminants.

Record of Decision (ROD): A decision document that identifies the remedial alternatives chosen for implementation at a CERCLA site; the ROD is based on information from the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study reports, the Proposed Plan, and on public comments and community concerns.

Remedial Investigation (RI): One of the two major studies that must be completed before a decision can be made about how to clean up a site. The RI is conducted to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site and the associated risk. (The feasibility study is a second study that is only conducted when the RI recommends development of cleanup options for a site.)

Remedial Action Objective (RAO): A statement containing a cleanup goal for the protection of one or more receptors from one or more chemicals in a specific medium (such as soil, groundwater, or air) at a site.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): Establishes the framework for treatment, storage, transportation, and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, such as an old drum of oil.

Risk driver: Chemical that exhibits a significant impact in the results of a risk estimate.

Risk Management: Evaluation and implementation of options or measures to reduce risk, including but not limited to such options as no action, monitoring, active treatment, or collecting additional data before making a decision.

Risk management range: The risk management range as derived from the NCP is used for making risk management decisions. The range is considered to represent an excess lifetime cancer risk to an individual between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 1,000,000 (10-4 and 10-6 ).

San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board): The California Water Quality Authority, which is part of the California Water Quality Control Board, within the California Environmental Protection Agency. Its mission is to preserve, enhance, and restore California’s water resources.

Semi-Volatile Organic Compound (SVOC): An organic (carbon containing) compound that does not readily evaporate at room temperature. SVOCs include certain oils, pesticides, and PAHs.

Target Cleanup Goal (TCG): Chemical concentration limit that provides a numerical goal for the remedial alternatives; may be based on human or ecological risk calculations, federal or state regulations, background concentrations, or other numerical standard.  As an example, groundwater data in one area were compared with Federal/ State drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), background concentrations of metals at Alameda Point, and Preliminary Remediation Criteria (PRCs) established by the Navy and regulatory agencies for petroleum-impacted sites (for diesel, gasoline, and motor oil).

Time-Critical Removal Action (TCRA): An expedited regulatory approach used when quick actions are needed to clean up hazardous materials.  Storm drains leading to the Seaplane Lagoon containing radium-226 were removed and replaced as a TCRA.

Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH): A family of several hundred chemical compounds in crude oil, such as benzene, hexane, toluene, and others. TPH includes motor oil-, diesel-, and gasoline-range hydrocarbons.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 (EPA): The Federal regulatory agency responsible for administration and enforcement of CERCLA at Alameda Point.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC): An organic (carbon containing) compound that evaporates readily at room temperature. VOCs are found in industrial solvents commonly used in dry cleaning, metal plating, and machinery degreasing operations.

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