Technical Assistance for Communities
Introduction and Overview
EPA relies on community comments to understand local priorities and concerns during cleanup decision-making. However, understanding volumes of technical information related to cleanup efforts can be challenging for community members. Providing independent technical assistance to communities helps people better understand technical issues related to a cleanup and key considerations for a site’s future use. With this assistance, communities are then in a better position to share their concerns and priorities with EPA.
Technical assistance refers to the provision of services focused on increasing community understanding of the science, regulations and policy related to environmental issues and EPA actions. To support healthy communities and strengthen environmental protection, EPA works closely with communities to make sure they have the technical help they need. Sometimes, a community may need more help to fully understand local environmental issues and participate in decision-making. EPA provides additional assistance to communities through a variety of technical assistance resources and tools, listed below.
Technical Assistance Needs Assessment (TANA) Tool
This process identifies additional support that a community may require in order to understand technical information and participate meaningfully in the Superfund decision-making process. A TANA helps EPA determine what technical assistance resources and information the Agency can provide to meet community needs.
Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) Program
This program provides services through a national EPA contract. Under the contract, a contractor provides scientists, engineers and other professionals to review and explain information to communities. TASC services are determined on a project-specific basis and provided at no cost to communities.
Partners in Technical Assistance Program (PTAP)
Colleges and universities provide voluntary technical assistance to communities through this program.
Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Program
TAGs are awarded to non-profit incorporated community groups. With TAG funding, community groups can contract with independent technical advisors to interpret and help the community understand technical information about their site. The TAG recipient group is responsible for managing their grant funds and contributing a 20 percent award match. Most groups meet this requirement through in-kind contributions such as volunteer hours toward grant-related activities.
Technical Assistance Plan (TAP)
A TAP is funded by potentially responsible parties through provisions in a negotiated settlement agreement. A TAP enables community groups to retain the services of an independent technical advisor and to provide resources for a community group to help other community members learn about site decisions.