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1 Introduction In light of contamination of the Hart Senate Office Building, the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, D.C., and a few other buildings with Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) in the fall of 2001, Congress has allocated $50 million to the United States Environmental Protec- tion Agency (EPA) for research on issues relating to the safety of building occupants when a chemical or biological attack occurs. In response EPA has initiated a comprehensive research program focusing on build- ing security, building protection, and the safe and effi- cient decontamination of buildings when hazardous materials are deliberately introduced. Over the remain- ing time of the program (to the end of fiscal year 2005) EPA intends to provide research and technical assis- tance on methods, technologies, equipment, and tools required to protect built structures from deliberate attacks with biological warfare agents, chemical war- fare agents, and toxic industrial chemicals through the National Homeland Security Research Center's Safe Buildings Program. EPA is targeting the products of this program for use by building owners and managers, architects, emer- gency responders, decontamination crews, state and local public health officials, EPA program and regional offices, and other agencies involved in protecting human health and the environment. The Safe Building Program addresses three issues. 3 1. How can building occupants be protected during a terrorist attack that contaminates the indoor air? 2. How can contaminated buildings be safely, effi- ciently, and cost-effectively restored? 3. How can decontamination information be effec- tively conveyed to building owners and manag- ers, emergency responders, decontamination crews, and federal regulatory groups? The cornerstone of EPA's Safe Buildings Program is the Research Implementation Plan (RIP), a document that outlines the various research areas, proposals, and research timeframes for the program. It is designed to address all areas of building protection and decontami- nation needs, identify highest priority needs for imme- diate action, and determine how best to meet these needs. The plan comprises four research areas that are considered separately. 1. Detection research seeks to ensure that effective sampling and analysis tools are available to con- duct a thorough building decontamination. It will also develop monitoring techniques that can be used to detect an attack and provide safe re- occupancy of a building. 2. Containment research aims to develop methods
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4 to prevent the spread of contaminants in order to protect building occupants, first responders, and decontamination crews as well as provide tech- niques and guidance to determine the efficacy of chemical and biological protection measures for new and existing buildings. 3. Decontamination research will provide the tools, techniques, technologies, and guidance needed to decontaminate a building subsequent to a chemi- cal or biological attack. a. Disposal research will provide guidance for dis- posal of materials contaminated by chemical and biological agents or materials that have been con- taminated as a result of decontamination. EPA commissioned the National Academies to assemble a committee to address the following ques- tions with regards to the Safe Buildings Program Research Implementation Plan: · From the expert committee's viewpoint, has the Research Implementation Plan completely and accurately identified important issues and needs in the buildings security arena? If the answer is no, what issues and needs should be added? From the expert committee' s viewpoint, are the needs accurately prioritized and sequenced within the issues? If the answer is no, what would be the recommended adjustments and why is this the case? . . From the expert committee' s viewpoint, are the projects recommended for funding over the next three years under each need appropriately sequenced to move to the ultimate product or products identified in the Appendix? If the answer is no, what would the committee recom- mend as adjustments and why is this the case? · Overall, from the expert committee's viewpoint, lEPA, 2003, Research Implementation Plan Safe Buildings Program (Draft), presented to the committee on May 13, 2003, by N. Adams, Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. REVIEW OF EPA HOMELAND SECURITY EFFORTS what changes to the RIP would be recommended to improve its presentation in terms of content and structure so as to more clearly convey the build- ings security research and technical support pro- gram that is described? EPA gave the committee a draft of EPA's Safe Buildings Program Research Implementation Plan, which consisted of a program overview along with work proposals in the four outlined areas (detection, containment, decontamination, and disposal). In addi- tion, the plan stressed the completion of EPA research projects within the allotted three years. After a presen- tation by the project leaders in each of the four areas, the committee concluded it needed the following addi- tional information from EPA in order to perform a fair and accurate assessment of the RIP: · Detailed information on the threat scenario analy- sis and its relation to the major research programs, including a matrix describing the relevance of research proposals implemented as a result. · More information about the gap analysis performed in order to ensure minimal overlap between research areas already in place. · A list of the research proposals already underway. · A document detailing the lessons learned from the recent anthrax decontamination efforts The content of this report is the committee' s review of EPA's RIP. The critiques and ideas expressed in this document are intended to aid EPA in determining the most efficient strategy to implement its research plan in a manner that provides the most success to EPA and to the nation. Chapter 2 of this report contains an assessment of each RIP area, identifying both strengths and weaknesses. The committee's findings and recom- mendations are outlined in Chapter 3.
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