agement stresses the need for an evaluation of any risk-management strategy. An evaluation provides the decision-makers and other affected parties with valuable information, including the following:
Whether the actions are successful, whether they accomplish what was intended, and whether the predicted benefits and costs are accurate.
Whether any modifications are needed to the risk-management strategy to improve success.
Whether any new information has emerged that indicates a decision or stage of the framework should be revisited and possibly revised.
Whether the framework process is effective and how the involvement of the affected parties contributes to the outcome.
What lessons can be learned to guide future risk-reduction strategies at PCB-contaminated sites to improve the decision-making process.
The framework (Chapter 3) identifies several information tools that will assist in the evaluation process: environmental monitoring, health monitoring, research, disease surveillance, analyses of costs and benefits, and discussions with affected parties.
Of particular relevance to the committee’s charge to develop a risk-based framework are learning lessons from the past and ongoing remedial actions. It is difficult to build consensus among affected parties on how to proceed with future remedial actions when there is a lack of information about the effectiveness, costs, and risks of risk-management strategies that have already be implemented. Thus, it is crucial that information gained from the few evaluations of remedial actions for PCB-contaminated sediments that have been conducted be thoroughly and impartially assessed in a process that involves all affected parties. As the commission (1997) notes,
In the past, evaluation, when conducted, has been performed by the regulatory authority itself. As with other stages of the risk management process, evaluation will benefit if stakeholders are involved, helping to:
Establish criteria for evaluation, including the definition of ‘success.’
Assure the credibility of the evaluation and the evaluators.
Determine whether an action was successful.
Identify what lessons can be learned.
Identify information gaps.
Determine whether cost and benefit estimates made when evaluating the risk management options were reasonable.