Note: This glossary defines terms often used to describe activities related to oil and hazardous substances. Some definitions apply specifically to the Federal Superfund program and may have other meanings when used in different circumstances. Underlined words included in various definitions are also defined separately in the glossary.

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ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD. A file that is maintained and contains information used by the lead federal agency, with agreement by EPA to make its decision on the selection of a response action under CERCLA.

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (ADEC). The State of Alaska agency granted authority to implement and ensure compliance to the State of Alaska environmental regulations. ADEC is one of the FFA parties.

APPLICABLE OR RELEVANT AND APPROPRIATE REQUIREMENTS (ARARs). An ARAR is a federal or state environmental law or regulation that is determined to be applicable (substantive environmental protection requirements under federal or state law that specifically address a circumstance at a CERCLA site) or relevant and appropriate (environmental regulations that may not be directly applicable to the site activities but address problems or situations such that use of the regulations is well suited to the site).


BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE ACT (BRAC). In response to the Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-526, 102 Stat. 2623)(BRAC 88 or BRAC I) and the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-0510, 104 Stat. 1808) (BRAC 91, 93, 95) legislating the closure or realignment of military bases, the Secretary of Defense tasked the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission to provide Congress reports on the recommendations and selection process.

BASE TRANSITION COORDINATOR (BTC). Department of Defense (DoD) representative who serves as the primary point of contact for the public at a BRAC installation and assists in disposal and reuse planning and coordination for the property.

BRAC CLEANUP TEAM (BCT). Manages environmental programs for BRAC installations; consists of a United States Navy installation representative, a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) region representative and a state environmental agency representative.

BRAC ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP TEAM (BECT). Decisionmaking forum composed of the BCT and Project Team members. The Project Team includes technical advisors and stakeholders.

BRAC ENVIRONMENTAL COORDINATOR (BEC). The Navy's representative on the BCT.

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CARCINOGEN. A substance that causes cancer.

CLEANUP. Actions taken to deal with a release or threatened release of oil and/or hazardous substances that could affect public health or the environment. The term "cleanup" is often used broadly to describe various response actions or phases of remedial responses such as the remedial investigation/feasibility study.

COMMENT PERIOD. A time period during which the public can review and comment on various documents and actions. For example, a comment period is provided when the EPA proposes to add sites to the National Priorities List. Also, a minimum 30-day comment period is held to allow community members to review and comment on a proposed plan.

COMMUNITY. Whenever the word "community" appears in the text of the CRP, it refers to on-island residents.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS (CR). The Navy's program to inform and involve the public in the Superfund process and respond to community concerns.

COMMUNTY RELATIONS PLAN (CRP). A formal plan for the Navy's community relations activities at a Superfund site.

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE FACILITATION ACT (CERFA). Amendment to CERCLA that established new procedures for contamination assessment, remediation (cleanup) and regulatory agency notification and concurrence for federal facility closures. CERFA requires the Navy to identify uncontaminated property; the primary goal is to accelerate the transfer of property that can be immediately reused and redeveloped. Includes a map showing the environmental condition classifications of the sites, indicating transferability.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS PLAN (CRP). Formal plan for community relations activities at a National Priorities List (NPL) site.

COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE, COMPENSATION AND LIABILITY ACT (CERCLA). Otherwise known as Superfund; enacted in 1980, provides for liability, compensation, cleanup and emergency response for hazardous substances released to the environment. Amended in 1986 by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Section 120 of CERCLA specifically addresses procedures to be followed for federal facilities investigation and cleanup, including BRAC installations. Section 120(h) was amended by the Community Environmental Response Facilitation Act of 1992 (CERFA).

CORRECTIVE ACTION. The procedure, methods or actions used to correct unacceptable or unexpected deviations in sampling or analysis.

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DEFENSE ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION ACCOUNT (DERA). This is the account that funds site cleanups at Department of Defense (DoD) sites.


EMERGENCY. Those releases or threats of releases requiring initiation of on-site activity within hours of the lead agency's determination that a removal action is appropriate.

EMERGENCY PLANNING AND COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT OF 1986 (EPCRA). Title III of Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act; requires certain facilities to coordinate emergency planning with local and regional authorities and prepare hazardous materials inventory and release data (Tier I and II and Toxic Release Inventory Reports). Executive Order 12856, signed August 3, 1993, requires that federal facilities comply with EPCRA.

ENGINEERING EVALUATION/COST ANALYSIS (EE/CA). An analysis of removal alternatives for a site, similar to a remedial program feasibility study. The EE/CA must be made available for a 30-calendar-day public comment period prior to signing of the action memorandum by the lead agency. Appendix D contains the requirements for removal actions.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (EA). Evaluates the environmental impacts of a federal action in compliance with NEPA; prepared when an EIA may not be necessary. If the EA indicates that there may be significant impacts to the environment from the proposed action, an EAS is required. If no significant impact is identified in the EA, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is documented and not further evaluation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is required.

ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION. Name of the NAF Adak Environmental /Safety Department prior to 1994.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS). Required by NEPA; examines major federal actions to determine their impact on the environment. NEPA documentation must be prepared for most installation disposal and reuse actions, with the exception of transfers between federal agencies.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA). The federal agency that facilitates the identification, investigation and cleanup of sites where hazardous wastes have been released. This authority was granted to EPA by federal legislation (CERCLA 1980, SARA 1986).

EPA'S NINE EVALUATION CRITERIA. A set of criteria established by EPA used to evaluate the alternatives presented in an RI/FS and proposed plan. The nine criteria are:

  • Overall protection of human health and environment
  • Compliance with applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements (ARARs).
  • Long-term effectiveness and permanence
  • Reduction of toxicity, mobility or volume through treatment
  • Short-term effectiveness
  • Implementability
  • Cost
  • State acceptance
  • Community acceptance

EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENCES. After adoption of a final remedial action plan, if any remedial action is taken, or if any enforcement action under Section 106 is taken, or if any settlement or consent decree under Sections 106 or 122 is entered into, and if such action, settlement or decree differs in any significant respects from the final plan, the lead agency is required to publish an explanation of the significant differences and the reasons the changes were made.

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FEASIBILITY STUDY (FS). CERCLA environmental restoration study undertaken to develop and evaluate options for remedial action. Generally performed concurrently with and using data gathered during the remedial investigation (RI). The FS evaluates remedial action alternatives based on technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness, regulatory requirements, public health effects and environmental impact.

FEDERAL FACILITY AGREEMENT (FFA). Binding agreement between the party responsible for cleanup of an NPL site and EPA. For Adak, the FFA was signed by the Navy, EPA and the State of Alaska under Section 120 of CERCLA. The agreement establishes a timetable for the completion of the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) and selection of a remedy and formalizes the processes to be used.

FFA PARTIES. The signatories of the Federal Facilities Agreement for NAF Adak cleanup activities (the Navy, EPA and ADEC).

FEDERAL FACILITY COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT (FFCA). Binding agreement between the party responsible for cleanup of a RCRA site and EPA or the state that is responsible for RCRA compliance.

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HAZARD RANKING SYSTEM (HRS). A scoring system used to evaluate potential relative risks to public health and the environment from releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances. The EPA used the HRS to calculate a site score for NAF Adak. The HRS is based on the ability of actual or potential releases of hazardous substances from a site through air, surface water or groundwater to affect people. This score was the primary factor used to decide whether NAF Adak should be placed on the National Priorities List.

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE. Any material or waste that poses a threat to public health or the environment. Typical hazardous substances are materials that are toxic, corrosive, ignitable, explosive or chemically reactive.

HEAVY METALS. Generic term referring to lead, cadmium, mercury and some other elements that generally are relatively toxic in nature.

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INFORMATION REPOSITORY A file containing information (i.e., technical reports and reference documents) regarding a Superfund site. The information repository is usually located in a public building that is convenient for local residents ­ such as a public school, city hall or library.

INSTALLATION RESTORATION (IR) PROGRAM. Program implemented under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) to investigate and remediate DoD installations. The IR Program conforms with the NCP and CERCLA and applies guidelines promulgated by the EPA. The IR Program for active installations is funded by the Environmental Restoration, Navy account; the IR Program for BRAC installations is funded through the Military Construction Act.

INTERIM REMEDIAL ACTION (IRA). IRAs are all discrete actions implemented under remedial authority that are taken to prevent or minimize the actual/potential release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants so that they do not endanger human health or the environment. The purpose of an IRA at ADAK is to achieve early action using remedial authority at those sites that meet the general principles for an IRA discussed in the National OHSs Pollution Contingency Plan (Preamble to 40 CFR 300.430(a)(1), 55 Fed. Reg. 8703-8706; March 8, 1990). IRA decisions are intended for straightforward sites that are limited in scope.

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LEAD AGENCY. The lead agency for Adak's environmental program is the U.S. Navy.

LIMITED FIELD INVESTIGATION (LFI). A State of Alaska term that includes limited field sampling and a historical records search to identify the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil. The LFI does not determine how far the contamination has spread. LFIs are performed at SAERA sites.



NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (NEPA). The act passed in 1970 to encourage the assessment of environmental impact in federal decisionmaking processes. The act requires the preparation of an EIS/EA for major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the environment.

NATIONAL HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES POLLUTION CONTINGENCY PLAN (NCP). Provides the organizational structure and procedures for preparing for and responding to discharges of oil and releases of hazardous substances in accordance with CERCLA and the Clean Water Act. These procedures include the completion of a preliminary assessment, RI/FS, proposed plan, remedial design and remedial action.

NATIONAL OHSs POLLUTION CONTINGENCY PLAN (NCP). The federal regulation that guides the Superfund program.

NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES). EPA-administered program authorized by the Clean Water Act to monitor wastewater to surface and groundwater. NPDES elements include industrial and sanitary wastewater discharge permitting programs and stormwater permitting programs.

NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST (NPL). Listing of CERCLA hazardous substance release sites scoring 28.5 or higher under the EPA hazard ranking system. Such sites are first proposed for NPL listing. Following a public comment period, proposed sites may be listed on the NPL or may be deleted from consideration for placement on the list. Regulatory oversight for CERCLA site restoration actions at NPL installations is provided by the EPA.

NON-TIME-CRITICAL REMOVALS. Those releases or threats of releases not requiring initiation of on-site activity within six months of the lead agency's determination that a removal action is appropriate.

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OPERABLE UNIT (OU). An operable unit includes a discrete action that is an incremental step toward comprehensively addressing site problems. This discrete portion of a remedial response manages migration or eliminates or mitigates a release, threat of release or pathway of exposure. NAF Adak has one operable unit, referred to as Operable Unit A.

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PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE. The cleanup alternative selected for a site on the National Priorities List based on technical feasibility, permanence, reliability and cost. The Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) parties evaluate the different cleanup alternatives and select the remedy based on an evaluation of EPA's nine evaluation criteria.

PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT (PA).The process of collecting and reviewing available information about a known or suspected hazardous waste site or release. The lead agency uses this information to determine whether the site requires further study. If further study is needed, a site inspection is undertaken.

PRELIMINARY SOURCE EVALUATION (PSE). The process (and resulting documentation) of evaluating releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants from source areas with the potential to constitute a threat to public health, welfare or the environment. A PSE does not constitute a preliminary assessment or site inspection. A PSE may consist of two phases: an existing data evaluation (PSE-1) or a limited field investigation (PSE-2).

PROPOSED PLAN (PP). Identifies preferred remedial action alternative for a site and provides a brief summary of all the alternatives studied in the detailed analysis phase of the RI/FS.

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RECORD OF COMMUNICATION. A register of all verbal communications between the lead agency and citizens regarding site concerns.

RECORD OF DECISION (ROD). Formalizes the selection of remedial actions that are to be implemented at an NPL site. The ROD certifies that the remedy selection process was carried out in accordance with CERCLA and with the NCP. It describes the treatment, engineering and institutional components of the remedial action and remediation goals.

RELEASE INVESTIGATION. Investigation to determine the possible presence of free product or dissolved phase product and, if necessary, to begin removal as soon as practicable as required by 18 AAC 78.230.

REMEDIAL ACTION (RA). The actual construction or implementation phase that follows the remedial design of the selected cleanup alternative at a site on the National Priorities List.

REMEDIAL DESIGN (RD). An engineering phase that follows the Record of Decision, in which technical drawings and specifications are developed for the subsequent remedial action at a site on the National Priorities List.

REMEDIAL INVESTIGATION (RI). CERCLA environmental restoration process phase undertaken to determine the nature and extent of the problem represented by a release of CERCLA hazardous substances. The RI includes environmental sampling, field studies, monitoring, data analysis and completion of a baseline risk assessment and ecological evaluation to determine the nature, extent and impacts to the human health and environment from contaminants present at the site if no remedial action is taken.

REMEDIAL INVESTIGATION/FEASIBILTY STUDY (RI/FS). Investigative and analytical studies usually performed at the same time in an interactive, iterative process and together referred to as an RI/FS. They are intended to:

  • Gather the data necessary to determine the type and extent of contamination at a Superfund site
  • Establish criteria for cleaning up the site
  • Identify and screen cleanup alternatives for remedial action
  • Analyze in detail the technology and costs of the alternatives
  • Select a preferred alternative

REMEDIAL PROJECT MANAGER (RPM). The representative for each FFA party responsible for overseeing remedial response activities.

REMEDIAL RESPONSE. A long-term action that stops or substantially reduces a release or threatened release of OHSs that is serious but does not pose an immediate threat to public health or the environment.

REMEDIATION. The process by which contaminated sites are cleaned up under CERCLA.

REMOVAL ACTION. An immediate action taken over the short term to address a release or threatened release of hazardous substances.

RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA). A 1976 amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act. RCRA consists of nine subtitles, including subtitles C, D and I, which outline management requirements for hazardous waste, solid waste and underground storage tanks containing petroleum products, respectively.

REPONSE ACTION. A CERCLA-authorized action at a Superfund site, involving either a short-term removal action or a long-term remedial response, that may include but is not limited to the following activities:

  • Removing hazardous materials from a site to an EPA-approved, licensed hazardous waste facility for treatment, containment or destruction
  • Containing the waste safely on site to eliminate further problems
  • Destroying or treating the waste on site using incineration or other technologies
  • Identifying and removing the source of groundwater contamination and halting further movement of contaminants

RESPONSIVENESS SUMMARY. A summary of oral and written public comments received by the lead agency during a comment period on key documents and the FFA parties' responses to those comments. The responsiveness summary is a key part of the ROD, highlighting community concerns for Federal Facilities Agreement decisionmakers.

RESTORATION ADVISORY BOARD (RAB). Forum for discussion and exchange of cleanup information between the DoD installation representatives and the public at BRAC installations. The RAB consists of DoD, EPA, state environmental agency and local community representatives and is jointly chaired by the BEC and a local community member.

RISK ASSESSMENT. An evaluation performed as part of the remedial investigation to assess conditions at a Superfund site and determine the risk posed to public health or the environment.

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SITE INSPECTION (SI). A technical phase that follows a preliminary assessment designed to collect more extensive information on a hazardous waste site. The information is used to score the site with the Hazard Ranking System to determine whether response action is needed.

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT UNITY (SWMU). Unit at a RCRA facility from which hazardous constituents might migrate. SWMUs may include containers, tanks, surface impoundments, waste piles, land treatment units, landfills, incinerators and recycling units and wastewater treatment units.

SPILL PREVENTION, CONTROL AND COUNTERMEASURES (SPCC). Actions by an installation to address potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum products. An SPCC plan that documents response actions procedures established by an installation may be required pursuant to the Clean Water Act, RCRA or the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA).

STATE-ADAK ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION AGREEMENT (SAERA). Agreement between the Navy and the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to address petroleum contamination at NAF Adak.

SUPERFUND. The common name used for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, also referred to as the Trust Fund.

SUPERFUND AMENDMENTS AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT (SARA). Law and amendments to CERCLA that address liability, compensation, cleanup and emergency response for hazardous substance releases. Title III of SARA established the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).

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TIERED APPROACH TO RISK ASSESSMENT (TARA). A method of managing cleanup of SAERA petroleum-contaminated sites.

TIME-CRITICAL REMOVAL ACTION. Including emergencies lasting longer than 30 calendar days, those releases requiring initiation of on-site activity within six months of the lead agency's determination, based on the site evaluation, that a removal action is appropriate.

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UST REMOVAL. The physical extraction of an underground storage tank (UST) from its previous subsurface operational residence.

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Get Involved: Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The next RAB meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 08, 2014 at NOON Adak time in the Bob Reeve High School Conference Room on Adak and at 1 p.m. local time in the ADEC Conference Room at 555 Cordova St, Anchorage.