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. Note – 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.

  • ITRC TPH Risk Guidance

    HDOH HEER staff are assisting in the preparation of a guidance by the Interstate Technology and Resources Council (ITRC) entitled "TPH Risk Evaluation at Petroleum
    Contaminated Sites." The guidance reflects a compilation of expertise from across the nation and is in modeled in part on Hawaii's long standing TPH guidance. Elements of the draft guidance were incorporated into the Fall 2017 edition of the HDOH EALs discussed above.

    Links to the ITRC document will be posted when the document is finalized (anticipated late 2018). The HEER Office has agreed to post important appendices to the ITRC document that cannot be maintained on the ITRC web page to the EHE web page. A link to the EHE web page will be provided on the ITRC webpage for the primary document.

    The most current draft of the Case Studies appendix to the document is currently available at the below link. Updates to the appendix and additional appendices will be posted as preparation of the ITRC document proceeds. Contact Roger Brewer with the HEER Office for further information (roger.brewer@doh.hawaii.gov). Additional contacts for technical information presented in the case studies are noted in the Forward of the document.