The Multi-Agency Radiation Surveys and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM) provides detailed guidance for planning, implementing, and evaluating environmental and facility radiological surveys conducted to demonstrate compliance with a dose- or risk-based regulation. MARSSIM focuses on the demonstration of compliance during the final status survey following scoping, characterization, and any necessary remedial actions.
The Departments of Defense and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were the primary developers. Many individuals and other organizations also contributed to its development.
MARSSIM was developed collaboratively over a four-year period, by a multi-agency workgroup. Members of the workgroup represented the four federal agencies that have primary responsibility for controlling radioactive materials.
During MARSSIM's development, the workgroup sought comment from federal and state agencies and the public. Their goals were to involve the widest possible range of shareholders and to ensure receipt of all relevant information. In addition, the manual underwent extensive scientific and peer review.
Science Advisory Board Report on draft MARSSIM, 1997
See Contacting the Workgroup.
You can download a free electronic copy or purchase a hard copy. For instructions, see Obtain a Copy of MARSSIM.
MARSSIM users include federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. MARSSIM users also include states, site owners, contractors, and the public.
MARSSIM is guidance, not a requirement. However, it is a multi-agency consensus document, and each of the developing federal agencies endorse its use. Most state regulatory programs have also adopted MARSSIM.
MARSSIM's developers purposely built in flexibility by relying on a performance-based approach, systematic planning, and the Data Quality Objectives process. As a result, users can develop a tailored survey process rather than rigidly adhering to a single prescriptive method.
Chapter 2: Overview of the Survey and Site Investigation Process
Results-to-date indicate that the MARSSIM process requires fewer measurements than other methods, thus saving time and money. Other methods may over- or underestimate the necessary number of measurements or may not account for decision errors.
MARSSIM is efficient, practical, and easy to implement in the field.
The MARSSIM process is technically defensible over a broad range of situations. Its performance-based approach generally involves more planning and less re-work than other methods.
MARSSIM is flexible enough to use with many existing statutory programs, such as CERCLA, RCRA, FUSRAP, BRAC, and State programs. Its comprehensive guidance addresses all phases of the surface soil survey process for demonstrating compliance with dose- or risk-based requirements: planning, conducting, evaluating, and documenting.
EPA, NRC, DOD, DOE, and most state regulatory programs have adopted MARSSIM and accept its use in their regulatory program. However, you may need to consult with your program office, regulator, or agency representative about applying MARSSIM to specific situations.
Appendix C: Regulations and Requirements Associated with Radiation Surveys and Site Investigations Appendix F: The Relationship between the Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Process, The CERCLA Removal or Remediation Process, and the RCRA Corrective Action Process
MARSSIM itself is guidance. In some cases, it supercedes existing guidance. Talk to your regulator or program office.
MARSSIM provides a statistical method for obtaining survey data and comparing them, on a pass-fail basis, to a release criterion or DCGL (Derived Concentration Guidline Level).
Chapter 4: Preliminary Survey Considerations Chapter 5: Survey Planning and Design
MARSSIM provides a process for collecting, organizing, and interpreting data and for making decisions about populations of data from samples. Statistics are useful for inferring population characteristics from a set of samples. Statistics also facilitate decision-making in conditions of uncertainty.
MARSSIM recommends nonparametric statistical tests, such as the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test and Sign Test, to evaluate environmental data. However, it describes a wide variety of statistical tests designed for specific situations. When the underlying assumptions for these tests can be verified, they may be preferable to MARSSIM's generic tests .
You use exposure pathway models to obtain site-specific release criteria, such as the DCGL. This is outside the scope of MARSSIM.
Yes. You can use MARSSIM to demonstrate compliance with dose- or risk-based requirements for scoping, characterization, and remedial action surveys.
Specific guidance in MARSSIM:
MARSSIM describes how to plan systematically and how to make planning decisions during the seven steps of the DQO process.
Chapter 2:Overview of the Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Process (Section 2.3.1) Appendix D:The Planning Phase of the Data Life Cycle
Chapter 3, Historical Site Assessment, provides guidance for obtaining site information and prior survey data (operations records) for input to the final status survey.
Chapter 3: Historical Site Assessment
Chapter 5, Survey Planning and Design, identifies items needed for planning.
Chapter 5:Survey Planning and Design
MARSSIM provides guidance on sampling, direct measurements and scanning in Chapter 6, Field Measurement Methods and Instrumentation. It provides a descriptive instrumentation list in Appendix H, Description of Field Survey and Laboratory Analysis Equipment.
Chapter 6: Field Measurement Methods and Instrumentation Appendix H: Description of Field Survey and Laboratory Analysis Equipment
MARSSIM provides guidance on Data Quality Assessment, data interpretation and statistical tests in Chapter 8, Interpretation of Survey Results.
Chapter 8: Interpretation of Survey Results
MARSSIM provides guidance on developing Quality Assurance Project Plans and performance-based Quality Control requirements in Chapter 9, Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
Chapter 9: Quality Assurance and Quality Control
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