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ITRC Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) Identification Framework Training

Sponsored by: Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council

Go to Archive
May 21, 2024

In 2023, the ITRC Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) Framework was published to help environmental regulatory agencies and other stakeholders identify, evaluate, and manage CEC's while acknowledging uncertainties in their environmental fate and transport, receptor exposure, and/or toxicity. Such an approach can be conducive to improved allocation of regulatory response resources and provide a foundation for communicating potential risk to stakeholders.

The ITRC framework is comprised of a white paper and four associated fact sheets. In the white paper, CEC are defined as: "substances and microorganisms including physical, chemical, biological, or radiological materials known or anticipated in the environment, that may pose newly identified risks to human health or the environment." The framework is meant to help environmental regulatory agencies and other stakeholders by providing examples of CEC monitoring programs and guiding the user through the process of identifying CEC key characteristics, how to communicate real and perceived risk from CEC to the public, and how laboratory analytical methods can be used in the identification process.

The ITRC CEC training presents this entirely new framework for identification, prioritization, and communication of CEC. This course includes the following topics:

  1. An overview of the framework, how and why it was developed, the factors that influence the creation of CEC management units at the state level, and a listing of existing CEC monitoring programs.
  2. A discussion of key variables that may be used as criteria to identify and prioritize CEC for response actions. This portion of the course includes a case study that illustrates how the identification and prioritization process works with an "unknown" chemical CEC.
  3. Practices and methods for stakeholder messaging and how to share incomplete information on CEC that could impact human health and the environment. This portion of the short course builds upon the ITRC Risk Communication Toolkit by providing additional detail addresses communications plans, message maps, and audience identification.
  4. A paradigm for how laboratory methods can be used to identify CEC ranging from:
    • "Is compound X in the sample and at what concentration?" (i.e., known knowns) to
    • "Which compounds from the list are in this sample?" (i.e., known unknowns) to
    • "What is in the sample?" (i.e., unknown unknowns).

CEC are typically compounds or substances whose occurrence or effect is unknown but may or may not be understood through similar compounds or substances. This module includes a discussion of the use of targeted and untargeted analysis to identify a CEC.

Participants will learn the elements of the CEC framework and gain an understanding of the framework application from case studies. Participants are encouraged to review the ITRC CEC Framework prior to the class.

A photograph of Farrukh AhmadFarrukh Ahmad, California DTSC (
Farrukh Ahmad is a Senior Hazardous Substances Engineer (SHSE) with the Engineering and Special Projects Office (ESPO) of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). He has a 13-year background in environmental consulting and has spent 12 years in academia as a professor of Environmental Engineering. Most recently, Farrukh has worked as a State Regulator with the California EPA for the last 3 years. His interests include contaminant fate & transport, environmental risk management, environmental remediation, water treatment & reuse, and the use of analytical chemistry, biotechnology, and nanotechnology for various applications.

A photograph of Amir AdaryaniAmir Adaryani, California Water Boards (
Amirhossein Rezaei Adaryani is a Water Resource Control Engineer with California Water Boards (CWB). Prior to joining CWB in 2023, he worked as an industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit writer. He is experienced in Contaminants of Emerging Concern remediation and analysis. He holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

A photograph of Meaghan CibarichMeaghan Cibarich, Wisconsin DNR (
Meaghan Cibarich is the Communications Coordinator in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Emerging Contaminants. Since earning a B.S. in conservation biology from University of Minnesota and M.S. in natural resources from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Meaghan has honed skills in communicating technical information about environmental issues to a broad audience and coordinating communication efforts across program lines. Her 13 years of experience at multiple state agencies allows her to evaluate issues from different perspectives and find innovative approaches to overcoming challenges. She is actively involved in ITRC’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Microplastics Outreach Toolkit teams.

A photograph of Jeremiah DuncanJeremiah Duncan, GZA (
Jeremiah Duncan is a Senior Chemist and Project Manager at GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. in Meredith, NH. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University. Jeremiah has more than 25 years of broad experience, from the Peace Corps, to academia as a tenured professor, to environmental consulting. Along the way, he spent two years at the US EPA as a science policy fellow under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science working in emerging contaminants. At GZA, he provides technical expertise on a wide array of environmental site investigation and remediation projects.

A photograph of Kim NimmerKim Nimmer, Orange Water and Sewer Authority (
Kim Nimmer is the Planning and Development Manager for Orange Water and Sewer Authority, where she is responsible for water supply planning and land management efforts.  Kim was co-leader of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council's Microplastics Team and co-led a group on ITRC's Contaminants of Emerging Concern Team. She worked in the consulting and non-profit sectors before spending 20 years with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Water Resources where she served as the first Emerging Compounds Coordinator among other roles. Kim holds an M.S. in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a B.S. in Geology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A photograph of Suzanne O'HaraSuzanne O'Hara, Geosyntec (
Suzanne O'Hara is a senior contaminant hydrogeologist with Geosyntec Consultants based in Ontario Canada. She has over 20 years of field and project management experience focusing on remediation of groundwater and soil containing recalcitrant compounds using innovative and more conventional technologies. She has directed, managed, or provided technical support for multiple projects ranging from overall strategy development, site investigation, remedial design, costing and implementation, contaminant fate and transport, and conceptual site model (CSM) development. Her technical experience involves dense non-aqueous phase (DNAPL) fate and transport in fractured media and the design, implementation and interpretation of innovative in situ remediation technologies for complex contaminated sites. Suzanne's remediation technology experience includes enhanced in situ bioremediation (EISB), in situ chemical oxidization (ISCO) and reduction (ISCR), Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) thermal remediation, passive treatment using zero-valent iron barriers, and reductive dechlorination using emulsified zerovalent iron (EZVI) for DNAPLs. Suzanne has been involved in ITRC since 2017 as a team member of the Optimizing Injection Strategies and In Situ Remediation Performance team. Suzanne earned a bachelor's degree in Earth Science (geology) from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1994 and a master's in Hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1997. Suzanne is a Professional Geoscientist in Ontario and a Professional Geologist in New York.

A photograph of Divinia RiesDivinia Ries, Elkhart County & Indiana Community (
Divinia Nolasco Ries is a Community Volunteer-Stakeholder in Northern Indiana. She holds Master’s degrees in Public Health (University of the Philippines) and Environmental Science (University of Tsukuba), and a PhD in Toxicology (University of Kentucky). She worked as a university researcher in the Philippines, an environmental consultant in Indiana, an industry safety and environmental manager, and retired from her career as a toxicology specialist for the State of Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Department. She also provides air permit services for local Michiana industries. Her expertise includes human health risk assessment, state and federal environmental regulations, toxicological assessment of emerging contaminants, and community health exposure assessment. 

A photograph of Carol SteinCarol Stein, Emeritus Stakeholder (
Carol Stein recently retired after working many years with the U.S. EPA Region 2, including 33 years as a Project Manager for the RCRA hazardous waste permitting and corrective action programs. Her work has focused on identifying and remediating contaminated soil and groundwater from hazardous waste facilities. She also has experience in the federal NEPA and Brownfields programs. She has mentored many new employees over the years, to provide them with an understanding of programs and policy issues.  She earned B.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Environmental Studies from Rutgers University, and an M.B.A. from Baruch College. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York State. Carol created the training video on monitoring programs for ITRC’s internet-based CEC training. 

A photograph of Shalene ThomasShalene Thomas, Batelle (
Shalene Thomas is the Senior Emerging Contaminant Program Manager for Battelle. She has more than 25 years of experience in environmental consulting and has supported State, Federal and industrial clients with emerging contaminants risk management and mitigation strategies. She has supported emerging contaminants projects in 32 different states in 9 of the 10 USEPA regions as well as in Europe, Australia and Canada and has presented on the topic of PFAS and trained professionals in emerging contaminants across the US, Canada, and Australia.

A photograph of Nadine WeinbergNadine Weinberg, ERM (
Nadine Weinberg is a Partner with ERM in Boston MA. Nadine has more than 25 years of experience working on projects that involved evaluating human health exposures and risks to chemicals in the environment. In 2019, Nadine co-authored a book on Emerging Contaminants: Anticipating Developments that looked at the various factors that caused a chemical to emerge as a concern. On the ITRC Chemicals of Emerging Concern team she co-lead the White Paper subgroup team.

A photograph of José ZambranaJosé Zambrana, U.S. EPA ORD (
José L. Zambrana, Jr., PhD (pronouns: he/him/él) has worked at the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development for 14 years. He currently serves as a senior science advisor in the Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling providing project management leadership on contaminant of emerging concern, and helping translate how EPA’s science tools and other research products can best support State, Tribal and community-driven efforts to protection human health and the environment. Dr. Zambrana was a co-lead on the Key Variables portion of the ITRC CEC Framework.


Nicole Henderson, ITRC Contractor (

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Rehabilitation Act Notice for Reasonable Accommodation

It is EPA's policy to make reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities wishing to participate in the agency's programs and activities, pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 791. Any request for accommodation should be made to at or , preferably one week or more in advance of the webinar, so that EPA will have sufficient time to process the request. EPA would welcome specific recommendations from requestors specifying the nature or type of accommodation needed. EPA welcomes specific recommendations from requestors specifying the nature or type of accommodation needed. Please note that CLU-IN provides both alternate phone call-in options and closed captioning for all webinars, and requests for these specific accommodations are not necessary.

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