ICER: An Index of Potential Environmental Risk Due to Hazardous Material Releases within Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties, South Carolina
Clancy, Kathleen E.
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Hazardous materials use has proliferated since the industrial revolution. These materials are made, transported, and stored across the anthropomorphic landscape. However, the potential impacts from releases of these hazardous materials on the natural environment are often poorly understood. This thesis project developed a predictive Index of Chemical-Environmental Risk (ICER) to quantify the impacts of hazardous material releases on the natural environment. ICER is designed to be used as a proactive tool for the management of hazardous materials at static sites. The project used mapped locations of hazardous material storage sites within the tri-county region of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, South Carolina to create the index. ICER is a weighted parameter approach to understanding risk. The final ICER ratings (values) were calculated using standard deviations around the mean of the scaled additive total. Berkeley County was found to have seven sites rated as least risk and twelve sites rated highest risk. Charleston County had eight sites rated least risk and thirty sites rated highest risk. Dorchester County had six sites rated least risk and five sites rated highest risk. The validity of each of these sites was evaluated and the index uses and policy implications are described. The use of a proactive approach to the management of hazardous material releases will allow for enhanced response, better communication, and preparations to be made in advance of a release.