Science Inventory

MULTI-MEDIA MODELING : RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Impact/Purpose:

General objectives of this task include the development and enhancement of science-based

components (models, databases, data analysis tools) and the conduct of applied research, specifically : prototyping new applications and model analyses (e.g., model comparisons). Specific objectives for this task are formulated based on client needs (development) and peer review feedback (science/research). Two specific objectives that will be pursued during the full three years of this Task are 1) with respect to 3MRA development, the addition of a fully automated capability to populate the 3MRA multi-media modeling data needs via direct access to GIS data sources, 2) with respect to research, the continuation of a detailed model comparison between 3MRA and TRIM, and 3) the application of 3MRA to new regulatory programs at OSW (in particular, preparing the 3MRA to investigate the potential risks from various contaminated media "re-use" scenarios). Other, shorter term objectives (i.e., to be executed in FY2005), based directly on recommendations from the SAB, include 1) the science - based enhancements to the Generalized Soil Column Model (GSCM) and 2) the investigation and application of probabilistic data for health effects in the context of 3MRA risk assessments. As resources and client needs for FY2006 and FY2007 become clear it is anticipated that additional short term objectives will be established and pursued.

Description:

Developed by ORD in collaboration with OSW, the Multimedia, Multi-pathway, Multi-receptor Risk Assessment (3MRA) national risk assessment methodology is designed to assess risks at sites containing source(s) of contamination that may release contaminants to the environment. Originally intended for application to the Hazardous Waste Identification Rule (HWIR) the 3MRA modeling technology is now capable of assessing human and ecological risks at geographic scales ranging from site-specific to regional to national. Version 1.0 of the 3MRA technology (i.e., that used for the HWIR) assessed risks at a statistically sampled number of "actual" sites and organized the results into a national distribution of risks as a function of contaminant concentrations in waste streams. The risks were presented as a cumulative probability distribution of the probability of protection (of human and ecological receptors) vs contaminant concentration levels in waste streams. Regulators used this distribution to inform evaluations (and subsequent decisions) of the trade-offs between levels of protection and economic impacts. Version 2.0 of the 3MRA technology includes User Interfaces that facilitate the construction of a Conceptual Site Model (selection and linkage among science modules required for the assessment) and the population of required input data files for site-specific risk assessments.

The 3MRA modeling system technology has been developed based on a software system infrastructure entitled FRAMES (Framework for Risk Analysis in Multi-media Environmental Systems). FRAMES provides the software environment that contains modeling tools (e.g., science-based simulation modules, national databases, etc.) and facilitates the users access to and execution of the science modules. FRAMES is also designed to facilitate the incorporation of new science modules and databases in such a manner that they are automatically available for use with other science modules present in the system.

Together 3MRA-FRAMES represents a truly modern environmental modeling capability.

This research task is connected, via a formal Memorandum of Understanding, to multi-media modeling research efforts ongoing at several Federal Agencies. This collaborative activity provides access to expertise and technologies that greatly enhance the conduct of this research task.

This task is designed to further develop and improve the 3MRA, focusing specifically on the science - based components of the modeling system. Other activities related to 3MRA, including user support (e.g., training, routine applications support); model distribution; and FRAMES infrastructure development are nominally a part of this task. It is anticipated that as additional FTEs are allocated to this work these support activities will be formally incorporated into new tasks. Until then, these activities will be pursued only as time and resources allow. These activities will not be discussed further in the context of this task description.

Record Details:

Record Type: PROJECT
Start Date: 11/01/2004
Projected Completion Date: 09/01/2007
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 156843

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION

REGULATORY SUPPORT BRANCH