What is a Record of Decision?

record-of-decisionOnce remedial investigation and the feasibility study (RI/FS) have been completed relative to a particular Superfund site, a Record of Decision (ROD) is produced. The ROD recaps the RI/FS process, documenting and presenting a rationale for the final treatment remedy selected for this particular site.

The ROD explains how clean-up will be addressed and which alternatives will be used. It covers all of the following information:

  • Site history.
  • Site description.
  • Site characteristics.
  • Community participation in the investigative process.
  • Enforcement activities.
  • Past and present activities.
  • Identification of contaminated media.
  • Specific contaminants present.
  • The range and role of response actions.
  • Remedial technologies and methodologies selected.

The Record of Decision is a public document and serves as an overarching compendium of each Superfund site’s clean-up process from the beginning. Therefore, in an effort to draw attention to the importance of documentation quality, an ROD of the Year Contest is held annually. Samples of well-written RODs can be found on the contest website.

Once the Record of Decision is completed, the remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA) phase begins, beginning implementation of the clean-up process.

You can access the Environmental Protection Agency’s Record of Decision System to learn about any Superfund site in the US. This searchable library contains a complete text version of each Record of Decision plus an abstract, any Record of Decision Amendments (AMDs) and Explanations of Significant Differences (ESDs).

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