Sustainable Remediation Forum, Inc. (SURF)

The Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) promotes the use of sustainable practices during the investigation, construction, remediation, redevelopment, and monitoring of environmental cleanup sites, with the objective of balancing economic viability, conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and the enhancement of the quality of life in surrounding communities.

Company details

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Environmental Management
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)
Year Founded:

Faced with decades-old treatment programs with high resource needs and no endpoints in sight, SURF was initiated in late 2006 to promote the use of sustainable practices during environmental cleanup activities with the objective of balancing economic viability, conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and the enhancement of the quality of life in surrounding communities.

Since its founding, SURF has brought together the best and the brightest in the environmental remediation field, and has led the evolution of sustainable remediation from conceptual discussions to standard operating procedure. As with many sectors of industrialized society, we have been rethinking behavior and re-engineering practices to reduce consumption of energy and natural resources.

Our mission at SURF is to maximize the overall environmental, societal, and economic benefits from the site cleanup process by:

  • Advancing the science and application of sustainable remediation
  • Developing best practices
  • Exchanging professional knowledge
  • Providing education and outreach

SURF members were the first to consolidate broad-based institutional knowledge into a exploration of sustainable remediation drivers, practices, objectives, and case studies. This groundbreaking White Paper was published in a special edition of the Summer 2009 Remediation Journal.  SURF has continued to expand on the topics explored in the White Paper, publishing its Framework for Integrating Sustainability into Remediation Projects, Guidance for Performing Footprint Analyses and Life-Cycle Assessments, a compendium of metrics, and a call to improve the integration of land remediation and reuse. SURF’s current efforts focus on Groundwater Conservation and Reuse, the international perspective on sustainable remediation, and ways to capture and evaluate the societal benefits of contaminated site cleanup.

From our humble beginnings as a group of just 20 individuals, SURF now regularly communicates with over 700 green and sustainable remediation practitioners, has held dozens of meetings across the US, and inspired the creation of several international sustainable remediation groups. SURF also promotes and supports student chapters at universities across the US, encouraging the incorporation of sustainability concepts into environmental science and engineering in undergraduate curricula and graduate research, and student participation at professional conferences.

SURF’s ongoing objective is to provide a forum for representatives of government, industry, consultancy, and academia to parse the means and ends of incorporating societal and economic considerations into environmental cleanup projects. We collaborate, educate, advance, and develop consensus on the application of sustainability concepts throughout the lifecycle of remediation projects, from site investigation to closure.  SURF members accomplish these objectives through volunteer working groups.

Remediation projects often come with a hidden cost: the environmental impact of the clean-up itself.
Cleaning up contamination and preparing impacted land for reuse requires substantial energy, water, and other natural resources. It also may involve excavation and disposal of polluted soil and groundwater, installation and operation of large pumps, treatment vessels, and other equipment, and possible discharge of carcinogens, greenhouse gases, and other harmful materials into the environment. To address these challenges, a group of environmental professionals organized the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF).

Benefits Of Membership And Sponsorship
SURF provides great value to our members, the public, and the practice of remediation. 

We do this by supporting:

  • Alignment with organizational sustainability goals
  • Environmental footprint reduction
  • Social responsibility and public outreach
  • Reduced remediation costs and long-term liabilities
  • Innovative thinking, research, and real world application
  • Peer benchmarking (domestic and international)
  • Access to leading-edge case studies
  • Opportunities to collaborate on publications
  • Networking and access to subject matter experts
  • Academic outreach and mentoring

By joining SURF, you establish partnerships and build relationships with a wide variety remediation stakeholders: industry and agency peers, customers, clients, academia, technology vendors, and the public. SURF facilitates discussions and sharing of 'lessons learned' in environmental footprint reduction. You’ll have access to members who are helping to shape green and sustainable remediation guidance and assessment tools. The SURF website, meetings, and communications provide a clearinghouse and source for the latest information about policy, case studies, best practices, and educational opportunities.

SURF is engaged in several ongoing technical initiatives, including:

  • Exploring the viability of a sustainable remediation site rating and professional certification system
  • Working towards the integration of sustainable remediation and sustainable redevelopment
  • Encouraging groundwater conservation and reuse
  • Publication of a White Paper on international perspectives towards sustainable remediation
  • Supporting sustainable remediation research

Participation in SURF initiatives demonstrates environmental stewardship, a commitment to a leadership role in sustainable remediation practices, and alignment of business and sustainability objectives.

Academic Outreach And Mentoring
SURF recognizes the substantial value that academics bring to the remediation community through new ideas, technologies, and approaches. Therefore, SURF encourages interested faculty and students to join and actively participate in our discussions. SURF offers a number of benefits to our members from the academic community, including:

  • Reduced membership rates
  • Assistance in defining research topics and finding research funding
  • Facilitation of cross-discipline linkages for research projects and student theses
  • Additional opportunities for research publication
  • Networking assistance for students during the job search

If you are interested in starting a Student Chapter at your school, guidance on the process is available here.
See the SURF membership application for more information and to join SURF today.

Surf Sponsorship
Sponsorship is a great way for an organization to demonstrate to its communities, clients, employees, or shareholders that it is committed to advancing the science and application of sustainable remediation. As an appreciation for sponsorship, your company or organization will receive complimentary memberships and meeting registrations, and will be recognized during SURF events and on the SURF website as a valued sponsor. Contact the SURF membership chair or click here to learn more about the various sponsorship levels and associated benefits.