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XYZ Example - ERA Tier 3

What is a contaminated site?

Who does what?

Why is it important?

What is risk management?

Risk assessment fundamentals

Risk assessment methods

Limitations of risk assessment

What are RA tiers?


Problem Identification

Receptor Characterisation

Exposure Assessment

Toxicity Assessment

Risk Characterisation

RM Decisions

Project Initiation

ERA Tier 1

ERA Tier 2 (Advanced)

ERA Tier 3 (Advanced)






In this page we take you through the Tier 3 ERA process for XYZ Enterprises including problem identification, receptor characterisation, exposure assessment, toxicity assessment, risk characterisation, environmental risk management decisions.

Further ERA work is only likely to be required in a very small number of sites, particularly where there is a significant ecological impact and remedial actions are either very difficult or not possible, too expensive, or could themselves result in unacceptable impacts.

At this tier, site-specific assessment criteria need to be established through an extensive review of existing ecotoxicological data including, if necessary specific ecotoxicity testing.

The assessor would determine the specific contaminants of concern, the specific pathways by which the contaminant/s is/are conveyed, and the specific receptor (usually down to species) that are known to be affected by contaminants at the concentration measured.

At this tier you will need to have determined that the receptor is present, and have undertaken an extensive review and field survey to assess its habitat condition, behaviour, sensitive life stages and diet.

Having determined how the receptor might be exposed (e.g. dermal, inhalation, ingestion, etc.), the exposure assessment would focus on the predicted level of exposure. For example, where diet is the primary pathway for exposure, the potential body burden of a sensitive life stage (e.g. juvenile fish) will be determined based on the likely number/weight of prey (e.g. aquatic insect larvae) it is likely to eat, and the amount of contaminant present in the prey.

At this tier the assessor will have quite specific information on the receptor of concern and how the receptor is likely to be exposed to the contaminant. The toxicity assessment will build on that information to establish a specific dose response relationship. While it is possible that a toxicity assessment could be achieved at this tier through literature review, specific testing may be required to establish this relationship.

At this stage, the assessor will be able to predict the likely effect of the known contamination on a specific receptor through a given pathway. The significance of this exposure is likely to be expressed in quantitative probabilistic terms and in many cases uncertainties may also be able to be expressed in quantitative probabilistic terms.

At this tier the information that is available, and the way the risk is characterised, may be very technical and the assessor may need to explain the results of this tier of assessment in more simple terms.

Risk management decisions taken at this stage should follow a similar path to those described previously. Due to the intensive nature of the assessment at this tier, Risk Management Decisions will most likely involve consultation with or input from other parties such as the site owner or regulatory authority.


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Page last updated: 01 May 2007

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