Keywords: assessment endpoints, ecological risk assessment, ecological organisations, functional groups, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, hazardous waste sites, screening assessments, USA, United States, environmental pollution
Methodology for conducting screening-level ecological risk assessments for hazardous waste sites. Part II: grouping ecological components
Screening-level ecological risk assessments are commonly conducted to identify those contaminants and receptors on which to focus future phases or tiers of the ecological risk assessment process. Most screening assessments are performed using a suite of individual species subjected to intensive evaluation of exposure (endpoint species) and selected for their appropriateness for serving as representatives or 'indicators' for all other species. As site complexity and the number of contaminants of concern increase, it becomes more difficult to assure with confidence that the potential for significant effects has been adequately assessed through an appropriate choice of endpoint species. As an alternative, functional groups demonstrating biological similarity and similar potential for contaminant exposure were developed for INEEL screening-level ecological risk assessments using taxonomic, trophic and habitat parameters. Data for individual species within each group are then integrated to address the potential for risk of adverse effects from contaminant exposure for the group as a whole.