Technical Outreach Services for Communities (TOSC)

NOTE: The CHSR EPA TOSC and TOSNAC programs ended on August 31, 2006 and CHSR Program Activities ended in 2007. Please be aware that contacts and/or documents for these programs may be out of date on this website.

As a courtesy to the CCI CAG, the KSU CHSR is continuing to post documents to the Chemical Commodities, Inc. Superfund Site, Olathe, KS webpage hosted under TOSC sites.

The TAB program continues to serve brownfields efforts. KSU may continue to provide technical assistance at Superfund and Native American sites through other programs.


The primary function of the TOSC program is to bring university educational and technical resources to communities affected by hazardous substance contamination. This is based on the premise that an understanding of the underlying technical issues is a basic requirement for meaningful citizen participation in the decision-making process to address such problems. Universities are best suited for carrying out this mission because of their combination of independence, technical expertise, research capabilities, and experience in providing similar extension services to communities.

While education is the primary focus of the program, it may also be appropriate for TOSC personnel to facilitate communication among stakeholders and to offer scientific opinions on specific issues, when these activities serve to enhance education. TOSC personnel are not stakeholders, or the agents of stakeholders, and are therefore expected to remain neutral in their interactions with the community. Every effort will be made to distinguish between issues of science and issues of policy.

Flexibility is essential to ensure that each TOSC project addresses the unique set of concerns present in a particular community. Nonetheless, a common approach to the process has been developed and will be followed for each project to ensure quality and efficient use of resources. This includes institutional mechanisms for evaluation and feedback on each project by all project stakeholders as part of a system for continual improvement of the TOSC program.


Specific activities were tailored to the needs of the community under an agreement developed between TOSC personnel and community representatives. Attention was given to providing a base of fundamental scientific information, interpreting and summarizing reports, clarifying the regulatory process in general and as it related to the site, addressing specific site contamination issues including extent of contamination, contaminant dynamics, exposure and health considerations, ecological considerations, and potential remediation technologies. Every effort was made to select appropriate educational techniques including distribution of written material, public meetings, workshops, electronic tools, and local media. In carrying out this activity, TOSC  remained outside the decision-making process and avoided taking an advocacy position or making substantive recommendations. Further, TOSC did not serve as an organizational point or process focus for community involvement.

Each of the five regional TOSC programs in the U.S. had developed a site selection process by which sites were nominated and reviewed for suitability, and a decision of whether to work with the community was reached. Referrals from EPA regional offices and state regulatory agencies were primary factors in this process. For the communities selected, a needs assessment was performed to determine the educational needs, the most suitable delivery mechanisms, and the key stakeholders. This routinely resulted in an assistance agreement in which resources were committed by both the TOSC program and the community. The delivery process was complemented by development and implementation of a communication strategy to ensure the effort was widely accessible.

TOSC Sites

Sites represent communities that have been supported by the TOSC program.