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Deep Vadose Zone Remediation: Technical and Policy Challenges, Opportunities, and Progress in Achieving Cleanup Endpoints

[+] Author Affiliations
D. M. Wellman, M. D. Freshley, M. J. Truex, M. H. Lee

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Paper No. ICEM2013-96011, pp. V002T04A002; 9 pages
  • ASME 2013 15th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • Volume 2: Facility Decontamination and Decommissioning; Environmental Remediation; Environmental Management/Public Involvement/Crosscutting Issues/Global Partnering
  • Brussels, Belgium, September 8–12, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division, Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5602-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Current requirements for site remediation and closure are standards-based and are often overly conservative, costly, and in some cases, technically impractical. Use of risk-informed alternate endpoints provides a means to achieve remediation goals that are permitted by regulations and are protective of human health and the environment. Alternate endpoints enable the establishment of a path for cleanup that may include intermediate remedial milestones and transition points and/or regulatory alternatives to standards-based remediation. A framework is presented that is centered around developing and refining conceptual models in conjunction with assessing risks and potential endpoints as part of a system-based assessment that integrates site data with scientific understanding of processes that control the distribution and transport of contaminants in the subsurface and pathways to receptors. This system-based assessment and subsequent implementation of the remediation strategy with appropriate monitoring are targeted at providing a holistic approach to addressing risks to human health and the environment. This holistic approach also enables effective predictive analysis of contaminant behavior to provide defensible criteria and data for making long-term decisions. Developing and implementing an alternate endpoint-based approach for remediation and waste site closure presents a number of challenges and opportunities. Categories of these challenges include scientific and technical, regulatory, institutional, and budget and resource allocation issues. Opportunities exist for developing and implementing systems-based approaches with respect to supportive characterization, monitoring, predictive modeling, and remediation approaches.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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