AMEC’s risk-based investigations are designed to characterise environmental concerns at potentially contaminated properties in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our primary objective is to ask the important risk questions and to collect the appropriate data to answer those questions.
Traditional investigations focus on defining the nature and extent of contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater or other media, while risk-based investigations focus on evaluating the potential for people or wildlife to be exposed to site-related contamination. Both types of investigations are important to fully characterise site conditions. A risk-based investigation is best conducted as part of a larger remedial investigation, but may be implemented as a stand-alone or follow-up investigation.
AMEC develops a conceptual site model (CSM) as the foundation of a risk-based investigation, to provide the connection between environmental media and potential human and ecological receptors. The CSM illustrates exposure pathways by identifying which receptors are present, how they use the site, what media they may contact, and what contaminants are in those media. If an exposure pathway is determined to be incomplete, there is no need to evaluate that pathway further in a risk assessment. AMEC’s CSM approach minimises data gaps by identifying risk assessment data needs early in the investigation planning process, such as the following:
- Adequate detection limits to address potential exposure
- A sufficient number of samples to characterise exposure areas
- A comprehensive basis for identifying chemicals of potential concern
- An understanding of current and future site use to address foreseeable exposures
AMEC is able to direct the focus of the entire project on both regulatory and client objectives by incorporating a CSM approach during investigation planning, thus eliminating duplication of effort and reducing the time and costs for completion.