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July 06, 2020
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Color-Coding: Going Beyond the Numbers
Hosted by U.S. EPA, Community Involvement and Program Initiatives Branch
Community Involvement University (CIU)

What is the course overview?
EPA often receives criticism that their communication of sampling results are too technical and do not meet the needs of the public. This course explore color-coding, a visualization tool to help Agency staff present sampling data more effectively. This technique uses a color coded scale, associated with the degree of protective action, to display sampling results and provide recommended protective actions that the affected public can take, based on the level of contamination.

Who should take this course?
This course is recommended for those who provide and present sampling data to the public. There are no suggested prerequisites.

What are the course learning objectives?
Participants who complete this course will gain skills on how to:

  • Describe color-coding as a tool for risk communication;
  • Discuss implementation challenges and successes of developing and implementing a color-coding activity; and
  • Design a simplified color-coded map or diagram.

What are the logistics?
This four-hour training session provides an overview of the color-coding framework through a brief lecture and two case studies from Superfund response sites. The second half of the training consists of a small-group activity to practice developing a color-coded scale and foster discussion on the challenges involved. Recommended class size is 30 participants, separated into small groups of approximately five for group activities.

The presenters, include EPA Community Involvement Coordinators (CICs) and On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) working at the regional level. 

Is there available background material?

  • There is no recommended background material.
For general information contact Tina Conley by telephone at 703-603-0696 or via e-mail at

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