The Department of Defense (DoD) protects readiness, people, and the environment by identifying and managing risks associated with emerging contaminants (ECs). Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) maintain awareness of ECs and their potential impact on the management of Department of the Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration (ER) sites.
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The DoD defines an EC as “a chemical or material that is characterized by a perceived or real threat to human health or the environment with no published health standard, or an evolving standard.” These contaminants may be difficult to assess because many have insufficient or limited health and science data available. Since the standards, toxicity values, and/or science continually evolve, so does the list of chemicals currently considered ECs.
Click here to view the list of DoD ECs. ECs that are commonly associated with DON past operations are: per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 1,4-dioxane, perchlorate, asbestos, and lead.
The DoD EC Instruction (DoDI 4715.18) establishes policy for the identification, assessment, and risk management of ECs that have the potential to impact the DoD. Under this policy, the Chemical and Material Risk Management (CMRM) Program is responsible for early detection of ECs from the pool of chemicals and materials used by DoD. The CMRM uses the Scan-Watch-Action process to identify, evaluate, and mitigate risks associated with DoD ECs. This process also describes how DoD addresses associated ECs applicable to the DON ER Program. To assist RPMs with any tasks associated with ECs, subject matter experts from the NAVFAC EXWC and the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center are also available for consultation regarding changes in toxicity values.
Although typically consensus has not been reached regarding the potential toxicity of many ECs, there may be situations where it is still possible or recommended to evaluate the nature and extent of a release, estimate potential risk, or even implement response actions in response to a release of an EC. In such situations, it is important to ensure the actions taken are consistent with existing DON guidance and policy on ECs. Please refer to Chapter 13.5 of the DON Environmental Restoration Program Manual for more information on managing sites with ECs.