Emerging Issues/Emerging Contaminants

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Mission -- The purpose of the Emerging Issues/Contaminants (EI/EC) program is to assist the Environmental Directorate in identifying and determining the impact of new emerging environmental contaminants or issues and assessing the impact of these contaminants and issues on environmental restoration activities.

Vision -- To provide high-level expertise to the Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD) on environmental emerging issues and contaminants, ensuring that the AF proactively identifies and responds, thereby mitigating potential environmental liabilities and impact.

Overview -- The EI/EC Program proactively identifies and responds to environmental EIs and ECs of relevance to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center Environmental Directorate. The EI/EC Program operates in coordination with, and complements, the DoD approach for identifying and responding to emerging environmental contaminants DoD Chemical and Material Risk Management Program. The EI/EC Program serves to support and inform the DoD, Air Force, AF ERP, Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) and installation environmental remediation activities, as well as providing technical expertise to other related organizations such as AF contracting and legal. The EI/EC Program furnishes various products designed to provide information and guidance to Air Force stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Lastly, the EI/EC Program identifies needs for the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, and AFCEC Broad Agency Announcement.

Emerging Issue (EI)

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An environmental Emerging Issue (EI) is defined as a chemical, material or item that has the potential to affect the Air Force's ability to execute programs, impact schedules, increase cost, alter the technical approach, or necessitate the need to develop new partnerships. EIs have the potential for program-wide impacts.


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Emerging Issues/Contaminants (EI/EC) Program team consists of recognized experts in their respective fields (e.g. toxicology, risk assessment, chemistry and environmental statistics and modeling) that stay abreast of state-of-the-science methods and information through professional publications, partnerships, and involvement with top-tiered scientific organizations. EI/EC experts provide support for technical assessments and reviews conducted by DoD, including subject matter expertise as part of the Materials of Emerging Regulatory Interest Team Phase I/II Impact Assessments; briefings on AF restoration activities and interests; and review of federal and state agency toxicity assessments and documents related to EIs and ECs.


Firefighters putting out a fire at an aircraft firefighter training site
The Emerging Issues/Contaminants (EI/EC) program uses a four step process for evaluating potential EIs or ECs, defining response actions to fill data gaps, and generating programmatic recommendations: Survey (Plan), Evaluate (Do), Define Response (Check),Develop Programmatic Response (Act).

Emerging Contaminant (EC)

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An environmental Emerging Contaminant (EC) is a contaminant that: has a reasonably possible pathway to enter the environment; presents a potential unacceptable human health or environmental risk; and does not have regulatory standards based on peer-reviewed science, or the regulatory standards are evolving due to new science, detection capabilities, or pathways (DoDI 4715.18). Emerging contaminants may be site-specific given state-led regulatory standards and site-specific conditions. The EI/EC Program identifies contaminants that are specifically relevant to environmental cleanup and the AF ERP.

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Reach-Back Center

The Reach-Back Center is dedicated to assisting Department of Defense civil engineers in the execution of their mission across the full operational spectrum.
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Email: AFCEC.RBC@us.af.mil