Complex sites require a disproportionate amount of resources for environmental remediation and long timeframes to achieve remediation objectives, due to their complex geologic conditions, hydrogeologic conditions, geochemical conditions, contaminant-related conditions, large scale of contamination, and/or non-technical challenges. A recent team of state and federal environmental regulators, federal agency representatives, industry experts, community stakeholders, and academia worked together as an Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) team to compile resources and create new guidance on the remediation management of complex sites. This article summarizes the ITRC team's recommended process for addressing complex sites through an adaptive site management approach. The team provided guidance for site managers and other stakeholders to evaluate site complexities and determine site remediation potential, i.e., whether an adaptive site management approach is warranted. Adaptive site management was described as a comprehensive, flexible approach to iteratively evaluate and adjust the remedial strategy in response to remedy performance. Key aspects of adaptive site management were described, including tools for revising and updating the conceptual site model (CSM), the importance of setting interim objectives to define short-term milestones on the journey to achieving site objectives, establishing a performance model and metrics to evaluate progress towards meeting interim objectives, and comparing actual with predicted progress during scheduled periodic evaluations, and establishing decision criteria for when and how to adapt/modify/revise the remedial strategy in response to remedy performance. Key findings will be published in an ITRC Technical and Regulatory guidance document in 2017 and free training webinars will be conducted. More information is available at www.itrc-web.org.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 15, 2017
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