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Ecological Risk Assessments

Review this page for information on TCEQ's Ecological Risk Assessment Program.

Ecological Risk Assessment Program Description

The TCEQ ecological risk assessment program provides guidance and resources for regulated entities that must evaluate ecological risk at a site in one of the Remediation Division programs. According to the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) rule, some form of an ecological risk assessment is required to be conducted at all remediation sites under this rule.

What is an Ecological Risk Assessment?

The TCEQ defines an ecological risk assessment as a process that evaluates the likelihood that adverse ecological effects are occurring or may occur as a result of exposure to one or more chemicals of concern (COCs) from a remediation site. In general, the primary functions of an ecological risk assessment are as follows:

  1. Determine whether actual or potential ecological risk exists at a remediation site;
  2. Screen the chemicals of concern present to identify those that might pose an ecological risk, allowing for the focusing of further efforts; and
  3. If necessary, determine ecologically protective concentration levels (PCLs) to be used in evaluating a response action.

Ecological Risk Assessment Resources

History of the Ecological Risk Assessment Program

The TCEQ's ecological risk assessment program was established in 1995 to evaluate ecological reports submitted under various agency remediation programs (e.g., Superfund). In 1996, an Ecological Workgroup comprised of technical experts from industry, government, consulting firms, and academia was formed to assist in developing guidance that would interface with the ecological aspects of agency rules. The agency first released Guidance for Conducting Ecological Risk Assessments at Remediation Sites in Texas in 2001. This guidance provided a detailed description of how to conduct ERAs using the TCEQ's three-tiered approach. It also identified the participation and coordination processes with the Natural Resource Trustee Programs and outlined methods for establishing ecological PCLs for COCs. The 2018 versions of RG-263, RG-263b, RG-263c, and the release of the PCL Database reflect a more current state of the science and provide a significant improvement to the TCEQ’s ecological risk assessment program. The suite of guidance documents provide a comprehensive and user friendly toolbox for evaluating ecological risk in Texas.

Questions? Contact Us

For answers to your questions about these documents or the ecological risk assessment program, contact the Remediation Division at 512-239-2201. Or contact us via email at techsup@tceq.texas.gov

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Texas Risk Reduction Program