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The environment, health, and safety (EHS) field is in the midst of change. Job responsibilities are shifting, there are younger employees joining the workforce, and you are being asked to do more with less.

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August 05, 2010
Enviro 101: Glossary of Environmental Compliance Terms Q-R

This glossary contains terms you may run across on this site or in some other EHS context.

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Quality Assurance/Quality Control: A system of procedures, checks, audits, and corrective actions to ensure that all EPA research, design and performance, environmental monitoring and sampling, and other technical and reporting activities are of the highest achievable quality.

Raw Sewage: Untreated wastewater.

Receiving Waters: A river, lake, ocean, stream, or other water source into which wastewater or treated effluent is discharged.

Recharge: The process by which water is added to a zone of saturation, usually by percolation from the soil surface.

Recommended Maximum Contaminant Level (RMCL): The maximum level of a contaminant in drinking water at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on human health would occur. Recommended levels are nonenforceable health goals.

Recycle/Reuse: The process of minimizing the generation of waste by recovering usable products that might otherwise become waste. For more information, see the Recycling topic page.

Refuse Reclamation: Conversion of solid waste into useful products.

Remedial Action: The actual construction or implementation phase of a federal or state Superfund site cleanup that follows remedial design.

Remedial Investigation: An in-depth study designed to gather the data necessary to determine the nature and extent of contamination at a Superfund site; establish criteria for cleaning up the site; identify preliminary alternatives for remedial actions; and support the technical and cost analyses of the alternatives. The remedial investigation usually is done in coordination with the feasibility study.

Remedial Response: A long-term action that stops or substantially reduces a release or threat of a release of hazardous substances that is serious but not an immediate threat to public health.

Reportable Quantity (RQ): The quantity of a hazardous substance that triggers reports under CERCLA. If a substance is released in amounts exceeding its RQ, the release must be reported to the National Response Center, the SERC, and community emergency coordinators for areas likely to be affected.

Response Action: A CERCLA-authorized action involving either a short-term removal action, or a long-term removal response that may include removing hazardous materials from a site to an EPA-approved hazardous waste facility for treatment, containment, or destruction; containing the waste safely on-site; destroying or treating the waste on-site; and identifying and removing the source of groundwater contamination and halting further migration of contaminants.

Risk Assessment: The qualitative and quantitative evaluation performed in an effort to define the risk posed to human health and/or the environment by the presence or potential presence and/or use of specific pollutants.

Runoff: That part of precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that runs off the land into streams or other surface water. It may carry pollutants from the air and land into the receiving waters.

Run-on: Liquid, most often snow or rain, that migrates onto an uncontained or unprotected area. Hazardous chemical storage areas must be protected from run-on.

Enviro Glossary Terms A
Enviro Glossary Terms B and C
Enviro Glossary Terms D and E
Enviro Glossary Terms F through H
Enviro Glossary Terms I through L
Enviro Glossary Terms M and N
Enviro Glossary Terms O and P
Enviro Glossary Terms Q and R
Enviro Glossary Terms S and T
Enviro Glossary Terms U through Z

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