University of Technology Sydney

99031 Risk-based Site Assessment

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science: Life Sciences
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

In this subject, students learn the key terminology and concepts of environmental risk assessment, the distinction between human health and ecological risk assessments and their connectivity, and the fundamentals of risk assessment methodologies in developing quality guidelines for environmental media (i.e. soils, waters, sediments). Upon completion of this subject, students are able to assess evidence in evaluation of potential risk of harm, understand the realities of applying risk assessments in real life examples of contaminated sites, and have a firm understanding of the ongoing relevance of risk assessment for protecting site workers, the environment, and human communities.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Apply a weight-of-evidence approach in assessing contaminant risk
2. Calculate the likely risk of harm for human health in scenarios
3. Understand, apply, and synthesize methodologies for human health and ecological risk assessments
4. Use risk assessment and media quality guidelines in contaminated land management

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject is intended to develop the following Graduate Attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

The information presented throughout the self-paced online learning and collaborative lectures provides a comprehensive overview of the key concepts and terminology of environmental risk assessment, along with investigations of a range of contemporary Australian case studies. A sound understanding of disciplinary knowledge will comprise part of all learning and assessment.

2. Research, Inquiry and Critical Thinking

The inquiry-oriented approaches for learned in this subject are necessary to ensure accurate applications of risk assessment processes are carried out for contaminated landscapes. Critical reflections on contemporary risks and safety issues for different sites is the core of the main literature review assessment, which is explicitly designed to assess best-practice approaches to problem solving that are essential in land management.

3. Professional, Ethical and Social Responsibility

Responsibility is a key component of performing a safe, ethical, and compliant assessments of environmental risks as well as human health risks in any site context. Interpreting and evaluating critical site evidence whilst maintaining professional, social, and ethical responsibility is required of all environmental professionals working in this field. A sound understanding of these interplaying factors will be a consistent component of learning and assessment throughout the subject.

4. Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

In-depth reflection on current and historic case studies will develop a deep understanding of the required processes involved in the successful application of environmental risk assessments, which will be assessed in the literature review and short essay submissions. As each new case study and site presents unique features relevant to both environmental risks and human safety, the frameworks examined can also be applied in future contexts.

5. Communication

Scientific writing skills are further developed in the short essays and major literature review. Formative assessment is aimed at developing clear, higher-level scientific writing skills which are accessible for a range of audiences, including non-scientists, and comprehensive feedback on writing will be provided for each of these assessment tasks.

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is largely delivered over a 2.5 day block, with online learning in Canvas before and after the block event. The online learning includes interactive self-paced lessons in Canvas focused on the principles of contaminated land and environmental risk assessment guidelines used across Australia. The Zoom live lectures will comprise of approximately four x 90-minute expert-led presentations with different Australian experts presenting topics in each session. Between the lectures there will be tea and lunch breaks as well as short virtual social mixers in small groups which will allow you to get to know other participants and to enhance your professional network.

All expert presenters use recent case studies to illustrate the concepts they present. Real-life problems are workshopped in small groups so that you can apply the concepts yourself. The presentations are designed to be interactive, so that you can put your questions on the 'chat' function on Zoom and the presenters will be able to answer them in the context of the lectures, as well as collaborative discuss the implications of approaches used in case studies. Questions are welcomed by the experts as they provide the opportunity for to generate authentic group discussion with your peers, exchange professional experiences, and draw in other environmental concepts and challenges connected to contaminated land.

Content (topics)

Content includes:

  • The concepts and terminology of the discipline of environmental risk assessment
  • The distinction between human health and ecological risk assessments and their inter-relationships
  • The application of risk-based assessment guidelines as presented in NEPM documentation and calculation of risk of harm
  • The basis and application of risk assessment methodology in developing quality guidelines for environmental media (soil, waters, sediments)
  • Weight-of-evidence approach in the evaluation of risk of harm
  • The realities of applying risk assessment approach to real life examples of contaminated site assessments and remediation
  • The importance of appropriate communication of human health risk assessment outcomes to stakeholders and non-experts
  • Relevant case studies as presented by expert site auditors.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Quiz: Contaminated Land Knowledge Check

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge
3. Professional, Ethical and Social Responsibility

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 4

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Criteria:

Marks are awarded for correct answers to quiz questions. Students will receive feedback on their answers.

Assessment task 2: Literature Review: Risk Assessment and Decisions

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

2. Research, Inquiry and Critical Thinking

3. Professional, Ethical and Social Responsibility

4. Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

5. Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Type: Literature review
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria:

Detailed assessment criteria for the Literature Review will be available on Canvas. Students will receive formative feedback on their answers.

Assessment task 3: Short Essays: Applications of Risk Assessment in Contaminated Land Management

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary Knowledge

2. Research, Inquiry and Critical Thinking

3. Professional, Ethical and Social Responsibility

4. Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

5. Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria:

Marks will be awarded for correct answers to questions and evidence of clear written communication skills. Students will receive formative feedback on their answers.

Minimum requirements

In order to pass this subject, you must obtain an overall mark of 50% or more.