file under: Environment, North America, United States, Sustainability, Federal Government

Sustainable Remediation in Action

A Holistic, Sustainable Approach to Superfund Cleanup

Remediation projects make hazardous sites safe for the local environment and surrounding communities. Sustainable remediation takes this a step further—it is a holistic approach that incorporates waste reduction, alternative and renewable energy, conservation and recycling of materials and long-term ecological viability.

Our plan will be useful for remediation projects for both public and private clients to provide environmental solutions while preserving resources and meeting community needs. 

Combining the latest advances in green construction, social responsibility and cost-saving techniques, sustainable remediation ensures that the means of achieving worthy remediation goals are just as sustainable as the ends.

CDM Smith recently developed a sustainable remediation plan for Superfund projects in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2, in response to the region’s Clean and Green policy, launched earlier this year. Fernando Rosado, EPA Region 2 project officer, explains, “Our Clean and Green policy provides a clear framework for cleanup initiatives and will serve as a model throughout EPA. CDM Smith’s approach to green remediation indicates a strong compatibility with this strategy.”

Components Of A Green Approach
The triple bottom line of sustainability—to achieve social responsibility, economic growth and environmental stewardship—is exemplified in CDM Smith’s sustainable remediation plan. It highlights the use of recycled materials during construction, ways to save energy, and the importance of involving community stakeholders at key points. Jeanne Litwin, CDM Smith senior vice president and program manager for Region 2, says, “Our plan will be useful for remediation projects for both public and private clients to provide environmental solutions while preserving resources and meeting community needs.”

Energizing Alternatives
The remediation plan includes a template for project-specific planning, which was implemented as part of a sustainable cleanup strategy for the Lawrence Aviation Industries (LAI) Superfund site, located on Long Island, New York. The site consists of a 126-acre former titanium sheeting facility. Its soil, contaminated with metals and polychlorinated biphenyls, and its groundwater, which contains volatile organic compounds, pose a health threat to the surrounding residential community.

The project-level plan was well received by EPA and incorporates sustainable remediation practices designed to reduce hazardous air emissions, the site’s overall carbon footprint and risks posed to the community. It also includes the procurement of renewable energy to power the groundwater treatment system, clean diesel technology for heavy construction vehicles, and the use of recycled coal combustion byproducts in concrete. This $12 million project is being partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which includes sustainable remediation as a provision for funding. In addition to LAI, CDM Smith is currently working on six other ARRA-funded projects for EPA, including two remedial action assignments with EPA Region 8 at the Upper Tenmile Creek Superfund site.