Sustainability Index: Green and Sustainable Evaluation of Active and Passive Remediation Techniques

Alexis Smoot, Alexandra Kramer, Sarah Bird


Green and sustainable remediation (GSR) is major goal for the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM).  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently published an exit strategy for pump and treat remediation technologies as part of an effort to move away from active remediation in favor of passive techniques. In the summer of 2016, a team of interns developed a high level sustainability analysis comparing active and passive remediation technologies at Hanford 100 and 200 area sites and the Mound, Ohio site. The sustainability index attempts to quantify the relative sustainability of active and passive remediation strategies by examining a variety of metrics and perspectives from those involved in the decision-making process. The analysis compares 10 metrics encompassing environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability for the two types of remediation techniques. It also incorporates the perspectives and values of the investors, regulators, scientists, and community members involved in the decision-making process. Data collected through surveys for active and passive remediation technologies at Hanford 100 and 200 area sites and the Mound, Ohio site was inputted into a spreadsheet. Based on this data, overall, passive remediation technologies performed better in terms of sustainability performance than active technologies. The analysis showed that switching from active remediation to passive remediation techniques has the following impacts: aids in the conservation of local ecosystems, reduces community impacts and improves the community perception of the cleanup, lowers the life-cycle cost of the project, and contributes positively to global sustainability by using less energy and raw materials. By applying the analysis to future feasibility studies, EM takes the next steps as being one of the leaders towards global sustainability.


Sustainability, Remediation, Index

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