In the ramp-up to integrating sustainability into remediation, a key industry focus area has been to reduce the environmental footprint of treatment processes. The typical approach to integrating sustainability into remediation projects has been a top-down approach, which involves developing technology options and then applying sustainability thinking to the technology, after it has been conceptualized. A bottom-up approach allows for systems thinking to be included in remedy selection and could potentially result in new or different technologies being considered. When using a bottom-up approach, there is room to consider the utilization of waste materials, non-refined materials, and renewable energy in remediation technology—all of which generally have a smaller footprint than processed materials and traditional forms of energy. By integrating more systems thinking into remediation projects, practitioners can think beyond the traditional technologies typically used and how technologies are deployed. To compare top-down and bottom-up thinking, a traditional technology that is considered very sustainable—enhanced in situ bioremediation—is compared to a successful, but infrequently deployed technology—subgrade biogeochemical reactors. Life Cycle Assessment is used for the evaluation and shows the footprint of the subgrade biogeochemical reactor to be lower in all seven impact categories evaluated, sometimes to a significant degree.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 15, 2017
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