Stephanie Pingree Buss has over 18 years’ experience in toxicological evaluation, risk assessment, regulatory development, and the assessment and management of contaminated sites. She has prepared risk assessments addressing potential exposure to heavy metals, chemical warfare agents, radionuclides, chlorinated solvents, dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, sulfolane, PFAS and petroleum products and their constituents. Her human health and ecological risk assessment and toxicology evaluation experience encompasses data gap analysis; development of conceptual site models; and evaluation of vapor intrusion, indoor air, contaminants in subsistence foods, sediment, and contaminant fate and transport. Ms. Pingree Buss has experience in community involvement, health assessments, regulation and guidance development in Alaska and throughout other states and regions in the United States. She has applied her experience and training in toxicology and environmental health to develop emergency management plans, hazard mitigation plans, and environmental impact statements. Ms. Pingree Buss has presented in a number of public meetings and workshop, as well as presented training in risk assessment, evaluation of contaminants in subsistence foods, and toxicology in Alaska.
Risk Assessment and Toxicology
Sulfolane Toxicological Evaluation, North Pole, Alaska. Ms. Pingree Buss currently represents the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as the toxicology expert for the evaluation of sulfolane in groundwater at a contaminated site in North Pole, Alaska. Sulfolane, whose toxicity is somewhat unknown, has been found in over 200 private drinking water wells, as well as the North Pole municipal wells. Petroleum constituents and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have also been detected onsite. Ms. Pingree Buss led the toxicological, risk assessment and chemistry evaluations for the Technical Project Team (TPT) at the site. Prior to Ms. Pingree Buss’s involvement, there were no standard methods for analyzing sulfolane in any media and limited knowledge of the toxicity of sulfolane with no reference dose available for risk assessment and cleanup determinations. Ms. Pingree Buss led a team of chemists in development of analytical methods to accurately determine the presence and concentration of sulfolane in water, soil and plant tissue. Alaska DEC has now adopted these methods as standard analytical methods. Ms. Pingree Buss works closely with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) in addressing the public health issues at the site. Ms. Pingree Buss developed a garden sampling project to determine the presence of sulfolane in locally grown produce. Ms. Pingree Buss authored the DHSS released fact sheets and health assessments on the potential impacts from consuming produce with sulfolane. Ms. Pingree Buss served as primary reviewer and author on a number of DHSS documents related to sulfolane including the garden produce fact sheet, Sulfolane Health Consultation and material for several public presentations. Ms. Pingree Buss led the external Toxicology Subgroup for the TPT which includes members from the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in development of standard reference doses and toxicology studies to enhance the knowledge of the toxicity of sulfolane. Ms. Pingree Buss led the DEC effort in successfully getting a provisional reference dose developed by USEPA for sulfolane and having sulfolane nominated to the NTP. Ms. Pingree Buss is the lead reviewer of the risk assessment at the site that evaluates potential impacts from exposure to sulfolane in drinking water, as well as on-site petroleum constituents and PFAS. Ms. Pingree Buss also provides technical expertise for litigation support with depositions, expert witness testimony and technical review of legal documents.
Red Devil Mine, Alaska. For the Bureau of Land Management, Ms. Pingree Buss developed the human health risk assessment work plan, subsistence evaluation technical memorandum, and the risk assessment for a mercury mine. Ms. Pingree Buss has led the assessment of the bioavailability of heavy metals at the site, worked closely with the USEPA, the state environmental and health agencies to evaluate the consumption of subsistence resources at the site. Ms. Pingree Buss utilized in vitro methods of estimating bioavailability of metals at the site to determine site-specific dose estimates. Using harvest survey data from the region, Ms. Pingree Buss developed site-specific consumption levels of wild food resources including plants, birds, terrestrial mammals and fish. Ms. Pingree Buss works closely with the agency representatives to incorporate local fish contaminant levels and telemetry information to assess risks at the site.
Former Gold House, Nome, Alaska. For NovaGold, Ms. Pingree Buss organized and participated in a risk assessment scoping meeting, constructed a conceptual site model for the site, and developed a work plan for a Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment (SLERA). Contaminants of potential concern at the former gold mine include arsenic, mercury, methylmercury and petroleum constituents. Ms. Buss worked with the client and regulators to focus the SLERA to evaluate potential impacts to ecological receptors such as fish and birds near the site. Ms. Pingree Buss developed a streamlined SLERA approach to meet both Alaska DEC and USEPA ecological risk assessment guidelines.
Red Dog Mine, Alaska. For over ten years, Ms. Pingree Buss has represented Alaska DEC on an interagency technical review work group to address concerns raised by the community regarding the safe consumption of foods harvested at and near the Red Dog Mine site. Fugitive dust from the transportation of ore between the mine and the port had contaminated portions of the 52-mile Delong Mountain Regional Transport System (DMTS) road and port site with zinc, lead, and cadmium. Ms. Pingree Buss helped develop a berry sampling work plan and a review of site-related heavy metal concerns, for inclusion in a public health evaluation conducted by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Over multiple project assignments, Ms. Pingree Buss managed the team responsible for the review of the HHRA and ERA work plans and reports. She served as the technical lead on all HHRA evaluations and managed the review and response to public comments on the risk assessment for the Alaska DEC. The risk assessment focused on fugitive dust, lead modeling, potential contamination of subsistence foods, and sediment evaluation.
Port Angeles Harbor Sediment Investigation, Washington. For Washington State Department of Ecology, Ms. Pingree Buss developed a human health risk assessment for the Port Angeles Harbor marine environment. The assessment evaluated the potential impact of contaminants in sediment from the Rayonier site. Contaminants of concern include metals, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and SVOCs. The HHRA evaluated, among other pathways, the ingestion of contaminants in fish and shellfish based on subsistence use of the site. Appropriate exposure parameters were developed based on local science advisory board meetings, consumption surveys, and local land use reports. PCB evaluation included assessing risk based on aroclor and congener data in sediment and fish/shellfish tissue.
Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, Hermiston, Oregon. For the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Ms. Pingree Buss provided toxicology and human health risk assessment support for the development of a risk assessment work plan to assess potential impacts of emissions generated by the proposed demilitarization of munitions and projectiles containing chemical warfare agents, two liquid nerve agents (VX and GB), and mustard blister agent. She conducted risk assessments addressing facility liquid and solid waste that was potentially contaminated with chemical warfare agents. She reviewed quarterly and annual comprehensive environmental monitoring reports to identify any needed modifications for future sampling events. In addition, she reviewed the statistical evaluation of the monitoring program to identify any trends and reported values that could be used to assess potential impacts of the air dispersion/deposition of agents and hazardous compounds.
Kensington Mine, Juneau, Alaska. Ms. Pingree Buss led a team of toxicologists and chemists in development of a toxicity white paper addressing the acid rock drainage (ARD) potential and ecological toxicity effects of mine tailings at a proposed gold mine to be located outside of Juneau. Her team evaluated available peer-reviewed journal articles and site-specific toxicity and ARD analyses, completing the project under budget, within a very short schedule.
Peter’s Creek Site, Alaska. Ms. Pingree Buss reviewed the results of a previous risk evaluation addressing the potential effects for petroleum constituents in soil and groundwater that were migrating to indoor and outdoor air, and then updated the evaluation with new data using the Johnson and Ettinger Model for indoor air evaluations. The Alaska DEC used the updated evaluation to make decisions concerning further groundwater monitoring and institutional controls at the site.
Gaffney Road Area, Fairbanks, Alaska. For the Alaska DEC, Ms. Pingree Buss evaluated the potential for PCE, TCE, and benzene in groundwater to migrate to air in buildings above the contaminated aquifer. She investigated indoor air concentrations and estimated the potential human health risk using the Johnson and Ettinger Model. She updated the previous site risk assessment with new sampling data results and updated EPA protocol and recommended modifications for future site investigations.
Galena Air Force Station, Alaska. For the Alaska DEC, Ms. Pingree Buss helped scope the human health risk assessment and ecological risk assessment to address the effects of years of hazardous substance use at several locations on this AFS that had fuel contamination in soil and groundwater, chlorinated solvents in groundwater, and pesticide-impacted soil. She reviewed the HHRA work plan; helped develop site-specific exposure parameters needed to evaluate impacts on subsistence activities; participated in remedial process optimization meetings; and facilitated Technical Project Team meetings attended by representatives from the Alaska DEC, Alaska Department of Transportation, Air Force, City of Galena, Galena School District, and Louden Tribal Council. Public health concerns included contaminant migration from groundwater to indoor air, the connection of contaminated groundwater with the Chena River, and contaminant uptake in local food sources.
Alaska Risk Assessment Guidelines. Ms. Pingree Buss led a team of risk assessors and toxicologists to update the HHRA and ERA guidelines used for evaluation of contaminated sites to reflect updates in methodology nationwide and changes to EPA guidance. Ms. Pingree Buss was primary author of the human health guidelines. This guidance is currently used by Alaska DEC.
Coffman Cove, Alaska. For US EPA, Ms. Pingree Buss reviewed the human health and ecological risk evaluation at six streams or tributaries of streams have been impacted by acid rock drainage. The site includes sensitive fish habitat and areas used for subsistence harvest. Compounds of concern in the streams include aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, nickel, zinc, pH, and total dissolved solids. Ms. Pingree Buss provided comments to US EPA on the evaluation and provided technical support to the responsible party, per US EPA’s request, to develop a scientifically sound evaluation.
McCormick and Baxter Creosoting, Portland, Oregon. For Oregon DEQ, Ms. Pingree Buss evaluated the appropriateness of cleanup goals for protection of human health, ecological receptors, and water quality at this former creosoting plant site. Exposure to PAHs, PCP, dioxins, and metals were of primary concern. Pathways of interest included consumption of subsistence foods and dermal exposure during swimming. Ms. Pingree Buss provided statistical analyses of multiple years of sediment monitoring and crayfish tissue results. Ms. Pingree Buss participated in the 5-year review and specifically preformed a review of the HHRA and ERA sections of the RI and focused on answering the question: Are the exposure assumptions, toxicity data, cleanup levels, and remedial action objectives used at the time of the remedy selection still valid? This evaluation is consistent with the EPA’s Comprehensive Five-Year Review Guidance (2002).
Kenilworth Park North Remedial Investigation (RI) and South RI, Washington D.C. For the National Park Service (NPS), Ms. Pingree Buss completed human health and ecological risk assessments at two sites in Kenilworth Park for two separate RIs. The RIs were conducted in accordance with the EPA guidelines Guidance for Conducting Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies under CERCLA (1988) and Conducting Remedial Investigations/Feasibility Studies for CERCLA Municipal Landfill Sites (1991). Kenilworth Park was used as a municipal landfill. Plans for future development include recreational parks. Contaminants of concern include pesticides, PAHs, PCBs, and metals. Ms. Pingree Buss completed the human health risk assessment, including developing exposure parameters, completing toxicity assessment, and risk characterization in accordance with EPA Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund. Ms. Pingree Buss was primary author and led the development of the screening level ERA and baseline ERA. Ms. Pingree Buss assisted in project management for completion of the RIs and negotiated responses to comments with NPS.
Department of Ecology 5-Year Review Project, Washington. For the Washington State Department of Ecology, Ms. Buss assisted with the 5-year reviews of 12 sites in the Puget Sound basin. Ms. Buss reviewed the development of previous ARARs used in decision documents, determined their appropriateness to current site conditions, and identified current applicable requirements. For efficiency, Ms. Buss developed a master ARAR list to be used at the sites in Washington State and approach to determine use of applicable standards for each site.
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Risk Assessor and Section Manager. For five years, Ms. Pingree Buss was the Alaska DEC’s lead risk assessor and managed the Technical Services Section of the State’s Contaminated Sites Program, responsible for supporting the assessment and management of contaminated sites statewide. Under her leadership, the section staff provided expertise in risk assessment, toxicology, chemistry, and community involvement; database and Web site management; regulation and policy guidance development; implementation of the State’s laboratory approval program; and coordination of the UST pollution prevention and inspection program. Ms. Pingree Buss was responsible for managing approximately $2 million in federal grant funds annually, enabling the development and implementation of the State’s Contaminated Sites, Brownfield, and Voluntary Cleanup programs; as well as the State programs for UST site assessment, cleanup, third-party inspection, and pollution prevention. With Alaska DEC, Ms. Pingree Buss reviewed site-specific risk assessments and work plans and participated in project scoping, comment resolution, and public meetings for contaminated site assessment and management. She provided specialized health, risk, and toxicological support for the agency’s development of guidance documents, regulations, and policy documents and authored a number of guidance currently used by Alaska DEC. She reviewed and evaluated public health assessments/consultations conducted by the State, focusing on exposure to contaminants through consumption of subsistence foods and contaminant volatization to indoor air, to determine protective cleanup levels. She developed and presented training sessions and workshops encompassing State regulatory policies and processes; and she provided instruction to Contaminated Sites Program staff and the public in the risk-related aspects of contaminated site assessment.
Environmental Impact Statements
Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port EIS, California. For the EIS data gaps analysis, Ms. Buss conducted screening-level human health risk analysis for development of the project. Ms. Buss evaluated the maximum individual cancer risk (MICR), chronic hazard index (HIC), and acute hazard index (HIA) associated with construction and operation of the pipeline. Evaluation included acute and chronic exposure to acrolein and diesel particulate matter.
Lower Snake River Wind EIS, Washington. Ms. Buss was author of the health and safety section of the wind EIS. Ms. Buss’s evaluation focused on construction and operation impacts and mitigation for a large wind turbine installation. Specifically, Ms. Buss evaluated fire impacts, vandalism, spill potential, structural failure, ice throw, electromagnetic fields, shadow flicker, and acoustic vibrations. Ms. Buss incorporated current scientific and site-specific evaluation of impacts and worked with the Applicant on appropriate mitigation measure including evaluation of setbacks and health and safety plans.
Emergency Management Planning
Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) for Washington State. For the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Ms. Buss worked on the E & E team that developed the CEMP for DOH preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and man-made disasters statewide. The CEMP was developed to adhere to guidance of both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Washington State, including the Comprehensive Emergency Management Planning Guide of the Washington State Emergency Management Division (EMD) and the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan—Basic Plan. Ms. Buss interviewed key agency personnel concerning program functions and responsibilities and primary and supporting roles for emergency mitigation and recovery activities. She compiled emergency contact information, completed an assessment of threats and vulnerabilities, and created hazard-specific emergency plans for incorporation in the CEMP. In addition, she developed the hazard-specific plan for food safety emergencies and outlined notification and alert protocol. She also helped develop a detailed data gap report outlining outstanding information and providing associated recommendations.
CEMP and Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP), Washington State. Ms. Buss is currently a member of the E & E team that is developing the CEMP and HMP for the Washington State Department of Ecology. She identified critical business operations and critical facilities through interviews with agency key personnel and attendance at a hazard identification workshop. She reviewed all existing hazard identification, vulnerability assessment, emergency preparation procedure, and mitigation activity documents prepared by the Department, including the Disaster Recovery and Business Resumption Plan and the Terrorist Incident Plan. She used the information from the interviews, workshop, and data document reviews to develop a hazard identification and vulnerability assessment (HIVA) identifying hazards of concern and potential impacts of identified hazards including their duration, frequency, and scope. The Washington State HIVA will be used as a primary resource identifying hazards of concern to the Department of Ecology.
Alaska Energy Grants, Alaska. Ms. Buss prepared the necessary permit and environmental evaluation for two grant applications, one wind and one landfill-to-gas energy project. Ms. Buss evaluated the threatened and endangered species, habitat issues, wetland and protected areas, land development constraints, aviation considerations, and visual and aesthetics impacts of the two projects. Ms. Buss worked closely with the client to identify necessary permits and develop a preliminary permit timeline.
Air Emission Quality Assurance, Washington State. Ms. Buss oversaw quality assurance and quality control measure for an air emission testing company. She provided quality checks on pre- and post-testing practices and on-site testing methodology, ensured compliance with state and federal regulations, performed calculations and data analyses, and ensured appropriate field implementation of safety measures. She prepared work plans for submission to regulatory agencies, analyzed laboratory and field data, and prepared reports to document compliance and process optimization.
Water Quality Standards Natural Conditions Guidance, Alaska. For Alaska DEC, Ms. Buss developed a draft guidance on determining natural conditions for use in water quality standards. Ms. Buss worked closely with DEC on an expedited time frame to identify appropriate statistically methodologies for determination natural conditions in a water body. Ms. Buss evaluated both technical and policies issues in development of the guidance.
Strategy for Statewide Management of Pollutants, Alaska. As the Alaska DEC project manager and co-author of the strategy for management of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutants, Ms. Buss was the State of Alaska’s representative on the United Nations Environment Programme Mercury Subgroup and participated in an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill work group as part of strategy development.
Education and Specialized Training
M.S., Environmental Health/Toxicology, University of Washington, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, 1999
B.S., Environmental Science, Washington State University, minor in Mathematics, 1996
Paralegal Certificate, University of Washington, Paralegal Studies, December 2016
Benchmark Dose Modeling, Environmental Protection Agency
Developing Health Assessments, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Radiation Risk Assessment, Interstate Technology Regulatory Council
Indoor Air Pathway Evaluation, EPA Region 10
Risk-based Decision Making, EPA Region 10
Outrage Management in Environmental Health Controversies, Peter Sandman
Citizen Participation, Institute for Participatory Management and Planning
Four-phase Partitioning, Federal Aviation Administration
Society for Risk Analysis
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Farris, A.M., S.D. Buss, and T. Cardona-Marek, 2013, Setting a Regulatory Cleanup Level for the Emerging Contaminant Sulfolane, Society of Risk Analysis.
Lewandowski, T.A., C.H. Pierce, S.D. Pingree, S. Hong, and E.M. Faustman, 2002, Methylmercury Distribution in the Pregnant Rat and Embryo During Early Midbrain Organogenesis, Teratology, 66(5):235-241.
Pingree, S.D., P.L. Simmonds, K.T. Rummel, and J.S. Woods, 2001, Quantitative Evaluation of Urinary Porphyrins as a Measure of Kidney Mercury Content and Mercury Body Burden During Prolonged Methylmercury Exposure in Rats, Toxicological Sciences, 61:234-340.
Pingree, S.D., P.L. Simmonds, and J.S. Woods, 2001, Effects of 2,3-Demercapto-1-Propanesulfonic Acid (DMPS) on Tissue and Urine Mercury Levels Following Prolonged Methylmercury Exposure in Rats, Toxicological Sciences, 61:224-233.
Pingree, S.D., P.L. Simmonds, and J.S. Woods, 1999, Effects of 2,3-Demercapto-1-Propane-Sulfonate (DMPS) on Tissue and Urine Mercury Levels in Methyl Mercury-Exposed Rats, The Toxicologist, 48:330.
SPB Consulting, Principal Toxicologist, Juneau, Alaska, 2010- current
Ecology and Environment, Inc., Chief Toxicologist, Juneau, Alaska, 2004-2010
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Juneau, Alaska, Environmental Conservation Manager, 2002-2004; Risk Assessor, 1999-2002
Smith Bayliss LeResch, Juneau, Alaska, Environmental Scientist, 1999
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, Research Assistant, 1997-1999
Emission Technologies, Inc., Burlington, Washington, Quality Assurance Supervisor, 1996-1997
Skagit Valley Community College, Mount Vernon, Washington, Chemistry Instructor, 1996-1997