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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

EPA’s SAB to Solicit Input for Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual Review

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WASHINGTON (May 14, 2020) — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Radiation Advisory Committee (RAC) announced it will be soliciting additional expertise for its 2020 review of Revision 2 of the Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM) in a copy of the Federal Register notice. MARSSIM provides detailed guidance on planning, implementing, and evaluating radiological final status site surveys for surface soil and buildings. Final status surveys follow scoping, characterization, and any necessary remedial actions.

“MARSSIM has long been an excellent example of using smart science and broad government agency collaboration to effectively ensure protection of human health and the environment,” said Anne Idsal, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. “These changes to MARSSIM will improve and expand upon the recommendations provided in the original manual, and I am looking forward to the Science Advisory Board’s review.”  

Four federal agencies have authority for control of radioactive sites: the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and EPA. Together, these agencies, which comprise the MARSSIM Interagency Workshop, last issued a revision to MARSSIM in June 2001. The upcoming MARSSIM revision will include updating the document to reflect current science, to clarify methods, and to incorporate practical lessons learned from over the past 20 years. RAC will solicit additional expertise in a range of fields related to radiation surveys for its review of the document. The advice and feedback from RAC’s review is greatly valued by the workgroup and the agency, and their review is highly anticipated.

The workgroup has discussed ways to implement the most current scientific understanding of site investigation and survey in revisions to the document. Updates to MARSSIM are intended to increase clarity and improve flexibility while providing a consistent approach for planning, performing, and assessing building-surface and surface-soil radiological surveys to meet established dose or risk-based release criteria. MARSSIM Revision 2 concurrently encourages an effective use of resources and helps the agency ensure sites that are potentially contaminated with residual radioactive material meet regulatory limits and further meet the mission of protecting people from unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation.

For more information on EPA’s involvement in the development of MARSSIM, visit

For additional information about the ISCORS subcommittee, visit