Environmental Hazard Evaluation and Environmental Action Levels

An Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE) is the link between site investigation activities and response actions carried out to address hazards posed by the presence of contaminated soil and groundwater. Environmental Action Levels (EALs) are concentrations of contaminants in soil, soil gas, and groundwater that are used in decision making throughout the EHE process. This page provides information on EHE guidance and supplemental models in Microsoft Excel; periodic updates to the EALs and associated guidance; and additional resources for related information. Contact Roger Brewer with the HDOH HEER Office for additional information (roger.brewer@doh.hawaii.gov). Try using another browser if you have problems downloading files from this webpage with the browser you are currently using.

EHE Guidance

The document Screening For Environmental Hazards at Sites With Contaminated Soil and Groundwater is a technical report that can be used to expedite the identification of potential environmental hazards at sites with contaminated soil and groundwater as well as assist in the cleanup and redevelopment of these properties. The most current edition of the EHE guidance is dated Fall 2017. The updates primarily reflect relatively revisions to physiochemical constants used to develop the 2017 USEPA Regional Screening Levels and new information on TPH risk. A summary of updates and changes to previous editions of the EHE guidance is provided in Volume 2, Appendix 9. Revisions to action levels are not expected to significantly alter the results of past site investigations or site investigations currently underway.

The EHE guidance should be used in conjunction with HEER Office Technical Guidance Manual, which provides information on site investigation design and implementation as well as a an overview of the EHE process. Note that the EALs refer to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) as one of numerous sources for soil, water and air screening levels. As stated in the USEPA RSL guidance User’s Manual, The USEPA RSLs cannot be used as a stand-alone tool to evaluate the need for additional actions at contaminated sites. The USEPA RSLs only address direct exposure of humans to contaminants in soil. Other potential environmental hazards, including leaching and impacts to groundwater, vapor intrusion and gross contamination, have been incorporated into the EALs to allow for a more comprehensive review of contaminated properties without the need to assess these issues separately.

The EHE guidance and associated supplemental material can be downloaded from the below links. Try using another browser if you have problems downloading files with the browser you are currently using. The EAL Surfer file has an “Updates” page with a summary of updates. Comments and suggestions from the general public are welcome at any time. Updates will be posted to this website and notification sent to persons on the EAL mailing list. Workshops to present and discuss the EALs will also be held periodically. Please contact Roger Brewer with the HDOH HEER Office to provide comments or be included on the mailing list for updates and workshop announcements (roger.brewer@doh.hawaii.gov).

HDOH, 2017, Evaluation of Environmental Hazards at Sites with Contaminated Soil and Groundwater (Fall 2017): Hawai‘i Department of Health, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response.

Supplemental Models and Guidance

Supplements to the EHE guidance are posted below. The EAL Surfer is a searchable, electronic version of the EAL lookup tables. Use of the EAL Surfer to screen site data and expedite preparation of EHE reports is highly recommended. Use of the EAL Surfer to screen site data and expedite preparation of EHE reports is highly recommended. The Surfer automatically generates a summary page that can be included in reports. The Surfer also includes a glossary, a summary of information on the chemical selected and an overview of options for more advanced evaluations of environmental hazards. Download the Surfer from the link below then double click on the file to open the program. If you have trouble using the pulldown menus on the Surfer then remove the write protection (under the Tools menu). The password to unprotect the Surfer worksheets is “EAL.” The EAL Surfer is updated on a regular basis. Check this post periodically to ensure that you have the most up-to-date edition available. The Tier 2, Soil Direct Exposure spreadsheet was updated May 2018 to correct an error in the Csat calculation. The write-protect password for all Excel file worksheets is EAL. Try using another browser if you have problems downloading files with the browser you are currently using.

Additional Guidance and Information

Related guidance and information is posted below. Refer also to the HEER Office Technical Guidance webpage.

Additional Resources

  • Related Technical Documents

  • Tropical Pacific Environmental Screening Levels (former "Pacific Basin" edition)

    A similarly named guidance document, referred to as the Tropical Pacific Edition, has been prepared for use in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island and Guam (formerly referred to as the "Pacific Basin" edition). The Tropical Pacific Edition of the EHE guidance incorporates the USEPA Regional Screening Level models. Similarities and differences between this guidance and the Hawaii EAL guidance and the USEPA RSL guidance are discussed in Volume 1 of the guidance.

  • Case Studies: Risk-Based Use of TPH Data for Petroleum Releases

    The case studies presented in the document link below highlight the use of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) data for soil, soil vapor, groundwater, surface water and ambient air associated with the risk-based investigation, remediation and long-term management of petroleum releases. The case studies in large reflect current, HIDOH guidance and were prepared with input from multiple, outside state and federal regulators as well as private consultants and experts associated with the petroleum industry. The primary authors, Roger Brewer with the HIDOH and Manivannan (Mani) Nagaiah with Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc., are also active members of the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) (TPH Risk work group) and acknowledge important contributions to the document from many of the ITRC team members. The HDOH Case Studies will be referenced in the ITRC TPH Risk document for examples of the site-specific use of TPH data in a variety of petroleum-release scenarios (anticipated publication early 2019).

    Click on the link below to download the most recent edition of the TPH Risk Case Studies document. Comments, edits and ideas are welcome and should be sent to Roger Brewer with the HEER Office (roger.brewer@doh.hawaii.gov). PowerPoint slides and links to recordings of a two-part webinar on the case studies will be posted to the HEER webinar web page.

    Refer to Attachment 6 for a summary of updates to the document. The Case Studies document was updated in October 2018 to correct Conceptual Site Model figures in Case Study #1.

    HIDOH, 2018. Collection and Use of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Data for the Risk-Based Evaluation of Petroleum Releases, Example Case Studies (October 2018): R. Brewer, M. Nagaiah and R. Keller, authors. Hawai´i Department of Health, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office. Honolulu, Hawaii.