Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Dan Spencer

Commitee Members

Neva Hassanein, Laurie Yung


community advisory groups, technical assistance grants, Superfund, community involvement in Superfund, Superfund remediation, hazardous waste


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Place and Environment


Superfund Community Advisory Groups (CAGs) and Technical Advisory Groups, also known as Technical Assistance Groups, (TAGs) can influence the clean-up of hazardous wastes in their communities by providing a forum for diverse community interests and concerns in the federal Superfund clean-up process. These volunteer groups may increase local input and engagement in remediation of hazardous wastes, as well as in the ultimate future of their community, through collaboration with community members, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff, and parties responsible for contamination. Yet most CAGs and TAGs struggle within the complex, multi-phase Superfund process. Forming a Superfund advisory group is a significant undertaking, requiring understanding of federal policies, scientific and technical information, and the many skills necessary for successful group functioning.

This professional paper aims to provide a missing resource for new Superfund advisory groups: a guidebook based on the real-life experiences of long-serving advisory groups and the EPA staff who work with them. Based on interviews with the leaders of 15 experienced advisory groups and 4 EPA Community Involvement Coordinators in the Intermountain West, as well as observations of oneMontana CAG’s first year of operations, this guide has one central goal: to help communities establish and sustain effective advisory groups that are capable of fostering a successful, community-informed Superfund clean-up. To achieve this goal, it addresses the following topics:

  • Forming a Superfund advisory group.

  • Developing a vision and goals for that group.

  • Working toward this vision through productive group processes.

  • Finding the most helpful resources along the way.

  • Achieving goals.

  • Winding down and expanding an advisory group’s work out into the community.


© Copyright 2018 Terri Nichols