Community involvement is essential to the success of environmental remediation projects. The Technical Outreach Service for Communities (TOSC) program facilitates public involvement by providing independent technical expertise to communities with contaminated sites or air quality problems. By becoming knowledgeable about environmental projects, residents can become more actively involved in the process and have an effective voice in determining how the community will respond to the problem. As vested participants in the process, rather than bystanders, citizens are more likely to actively support a remediation plan that they understand and have helped to develop.
Located in the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center at the Purdue University, Michigan State University, Kansas State University and Haskell Indian Nations University, the TOSC program makes available faculty who are teaching and conducting research in such areas as environmental engineering, toxicology, chemistry, microbiology, environmental law and risk analysis. Program staff, who have backgrounds in both environmental contamination and community relations, coordinate delivery of faculty expertise through public involvement, seminars and workshops, independent review of proposed actions, and development of targeted educational materials.
Since 1994, communities have utilized TOSC expertise as an alternative to assistance provided by government agencies or responsible parties. TOSC projects generally address site cleanup or air quality issues and the health effects arising from environmental pollution. The primary motivation for involving universities in the TOSC program is that they are perceived as having independent technical expertise that is not influenced by the adversarial relationships that may exist among regulators, contractors, and responsible parties.
To be eligible for TOSC assistance, a community must be located in the twelve-state region that comprises EPA Regions 5. Projects are active at several sites, and additional site nominations are encouraged. Click to download a PDF copy of the TOSC flyer, which gives a detailed overview of the program.
If your community is affected by hazardous waste (e.g., Superfund and brownfield sites), you may be eligible for free assistance by TOSC professionals. If your community is located in one of the states in EPA regions 5, call the TOSC toll free number at 1-800-490-3890 or contact:
TOSC Coordinator, Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center
B-100 Research Complex-Engineering
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
National Program Contact:
Dr. Mitch Lasat
U.S. EPA Headquarters
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
The Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center, Michigan
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