Environmental Cleanup:

DOD's Relative Risk Process

NSIAD-98-79R: Published: Feb 26, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1998.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) current relative risk site evaluation process that allocates cleanup resources to contaminated sites that pose the greatest risk to human health and the environment.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's relative risk evaluations are carried out by the defense components using guidance provided by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security; (2) using this guidance, defense components collect and record background information about sites and evaluate specific information about contaminants and their potential effects; (3) the end result is that sites are assigned a relative risk ranking of "high," "medium," or "low"; and (4) this ranking is based on the evaluation of: (a) contamination levels; (b) likelihood of migration; and (c) potential receptors.

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