John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Accelerating progress at contaminated sediment sites: Moving from guidance to practice

Contaminated sediments are a pervasive problem in the United States. Significant economic, ecological, and social issues are intertwined in addressing the nation's contaminated sediment problem. Managing contaminated sediments has become increasingly resource intensive, with some investigations costing tens of millions of dollars and the majority of remediation projects proceeding at a slow pace. At present, the approaches typically used to investigate, evaluate, and remediate contaminated sediment sites in the United States have largely fallen short of producing timely, risk‐based, cost‐effective, long‐term solutions. With the purpose of identifying opportunities for accelerating progress at contaminated sediment sites, the US Army Corps of Engineers‐Engineer Research and Development Center and the Sediment Management Work Group convened a workshop with experienced experts from government, industry, consulting, and academia. Workshop participants identified 5 actions that, if implemented, would accelerate the progress and increase the effectiveness of risk management at contaminated sediment sites. These actions included: 1) development of a detailed and explicit project vision and accompanying objectives, achievable short‐term and long‐term goals, and metrics of remedy success at the outset of a project, with refinement occurring as needed throughout the duration of the project; 2) strategic engagement of stakeholders in a more direct and meaningful process; 3) optimization of risk reduction, risk management processes, and remedy selection addressing 2 important elements: a) the deliberate use of early action remedies, where appropriate, to accelerate risk reduction; and b) the systematic and sequential development of a suite of actions applicable to the ultimate remedy, starting with monitored natural recovery and adding engineering actions as needed to satisfy the project's objectives; 4) an incentive process that encourages and rewards risk reduction; and 5) pursuit of sediment remediation projects as a public–private collaborative enterprise. These 5 actions provide a clear path for connecting current US regulatory guidance to improved practices that produce better applications of science and risk management and more effective and efficient solutions at contaminated sediment sites. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2012; 8: 331–338. © 2011 SETAC

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