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Sustainable Remediation Software Tool Evaluation

To advance the acceptance and incorporation of sustainable remediation metrics into the larger body of remedial work, the Center for Sustainable Groundwater and Soil Solutions (CSGSS) within the Savannah River National Laboratory (SNRL) created the Sustainable Remediation Initiative (SRI).

The goals of SRI are to mitigate damages, maximize environmental services, minimize remediation resource footprint, and manage risks associated with remedial actions. Software tools can play an important role in the selection of a remedial alternative based on the above goals. The objective of this project was to exercise and evaluate two existing software packages designed to account for some of the above goals.

The Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC, has a unique opportunity to study sustainable approaches to remediation with its large number of remediation efforts, documented procedures, and a mix of traditional and innovative treatment regimens. To this end, three case studies of completed or on-going remediation projects were selected to compare and contrast the results from two existing software packages: SiteWise and Sustainable Remediation Tool (SRT). These packages were developed by various military entities and a private company for use in the planning phase of a remedial operation to quantify the environmental footprint of a given alternative and to help identify the tradeoffs associated with the alternatives, similar to Life Cycle Assessment. The three case provided variety both in contaminant and in contaminated medium. These ranged from a classic remediation problem of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) in groundwater and soil, to a non-traditional problem of surface water contaminated with dissolved copper.

For each case study, a variety of treatment options had been considered on-site. The implemented solution’s supporting documents and engineering plans provided the input data for the software packages as a base scenario. This base scenario was then compared to alternatives that were not implemented, for which data were not as readily available. The necessary data for these other options were derived from project proposals, similar actions elsewhere on site, and rules of thumb. The results of the software runs were used to compare and contrast the software packages and to evaluate the software based on the goals of the SRI.