ENVE 651 Environmental Risk Assessment Spring 2015




Course Description


Final Exam


 Learning Modules

Dr. Robert A. Perkins, P.E.
Office: 253 Duckering
Office phone 907-474-7694
Home phone 907- 479-3906
Email raperkins@alaska.edu

The final grade is the instructor's subjective evaluation of the student's knowledge of the course subject matter. The instructor considers such objective criteria as:

Assignments (12 @ 15) 180
Quizzes (12@10) 120
Paper   150
Final Exam   150
Miscellaneous Approximately 25

The student's total points are divided by the course total and greater than 90% is an "A," etc. The course total points may vary somewhat, but the points for components of each module are clearly stated in the module's first page.

Course Description
Environmental risk assessment is the processes of estimating the probability and severity of adverse human health effects due to chemicals in the environment. The general principles of estimating risk: hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization, are applicable to chemicals from any source, including drugs and workplace chemicals. These same general principles can be applied to hazards other than chemicals such as radiation, and to receptors in the environment other than humans. This course emphasizes chemicals in the environment because environmental risk assessments are commonly required by state and federal environmental agencies to determine if action is required following a chemical spill or release to the environment. These assessments require knowledge of specific technical disciplines: engineering, chemistry, geology, and toxicology. This technical knowledge must be applied to the particular problem and the result placed in a form that is reviewed by agencies and the public. Public involvement in the risk management process and its relation to risk assessment is considered. Ethics and a concern for the public health and safety are emphasized. The main topics are listed in the Course Outline.

The course is organized in modules and sub-modules. The modules are an administrative unit and the sub-modules are the learning units. The student will complete one module per week, and each module will "close" on a Monday at 8 PM, Alaska Time. Electronic asynchronous discussions with other students are part of the course and these require participation prior to the closing time. Each module will contain several sub-modules. Each sub-module will focus on one of these five main areas:

The sub-modules will generally start with some stated learning goals. Within each sub-module there are several learning units. Each unit has explanatory text, then hyperlinks to sites of others that have more explanation, examples, or material for discussion. At the end of the sub-module there is an assignment.

Each module will be graded; the typical module will generate 25 points: 15 points for the individual student's assignment, 5 points for the discussion with other students, and 5 points for "questions and comments" with the instructor. The individual assignment may be questions requiring text answers, calculations, or the results of computer programs. The discussion with other students requires participation in an on-line "discussion board." The email to the instructor, "questions and comments," require the student to ask questions pertaining to the material or identify glitches in the on-line presentations. Questions will be answered to the student directly and posted to a "closure" section in the following weeks module. If the student identifies glitches ranging from gaps in the material to incorrect hyperlinks and typographical errors, the student will get credit for calling them to the instructor's attention. Questions will be answered to the student directly and posted to a "closure" section in the following weeks module.

The student will become familiar with the risk assessment process regarding human health effects of chemicals in the environment such that the student can review and critically evaluate risk assessments performed by others and, within the student's professional area, efficiently contribute to the production of accurate risk assessments.

Paper and Final Exam
The paper will be a term-paper on a relevant topic. The length of the paper will vary between students, but the typical paper will have about 10 pages of text, 12-point font, double spaced. The paper will be submitted electronically and require both on-line and traditional literature research.

There will be a "take-home" final examination.

Text Books
There are no required texts. You should have a college chemistry textbook nearby. The book, Multimedia Environmental Models: The Fugacity Approach, Second Edition by Donald Mackay, is a recommended text. (CRC Lewis Publishers, 2001, ISBN 1566705428) We will parallel the first four chapters quite closely, and Mackay has several handy tables and examples. That information is also found in many chemistry books and conveniently tabulated in many environmental chemistry texts, so the Mackay book is handy, but not necessary. It is not in the UAF bookstore; you can order it from CRC over the web [Catalog number L 1542]. [This is the first time I have used the second edition, the first edition will probably still suffice, if you happen to have one.] There are other books available electronically, some we will make heavy use of, for example, Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund (RAGS) by the EPA. I will give you the URL (web address) of the document the first time it is required. It's up to you if you want to printout the document for yourself (a lengthy process) or just refer to the sections you need when you need them. I would recommend downloading the lengthy documents to your hard drive or a zip disk.

Learning Modules
The course website may be accessed through the ENVE 651 Homepage.