The purpose of this program is to integrate sustainable practices and reduce negative impacts on the environment during site cleanup. This program is in the process of being developed by EPA and various organizations, so it is still in the beginning stages. However, I thought this would be an interesting topic for this conference because this program is intended to change the way we approach site cleanup and help us better manage our water resources. During this presentation, I am going to be providing you some information about the program and also tell you about the environmental and economic benefits of using green practices. Photo: http://students.chem.tue.nl/ifp24/
What is green remediation? According to EPA, green remediation is “the practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize net environmental benefit of cleanup actions”. How is this different than traditional remediation? Current remediation approaches were established to remove pollution or contaminants from a site for the general protection of human health and the environment. However, negative environmental impacts caused during cleanup activities were not taken into account.
Why is EPA creating a green cleanup standard now? Many issues are driving this Green Movement. These include public sentiment. Everyone is looking to be green and socially responsible. Companies also have internal goals to become greener. Energy prices have been on the rise so things like renewable energy is currently in demand. Also, advancements in engineering allow us to optimize current technologies. Sustainability is very important because we are looking to preserve current natural resources.
Also, even though many sites have been cleaned up, there are many sites to undergo remediation over the next several years. EPA estimated that approximately 294,000 contaminated will require remediation from 2004 to 2033. The bill for this cleanup may amount to as much as $250 billion. Therefore, EPA wants to create a greener cleanup standard to optimize current practices.
There are several principles or goals EPA is considering for green remediation. First, the main goal is to establish green practices that reduce the environmental footprint of cleanup activities. Also, establish practices that complement rather than replace the process used to select remedies. For example, just because phytoremediation is more “green” than a source removal, this does not mean it is the best remedial technology for all site. The whole idea of this program is to apply greener cleanups once you decide what technology works best at a site. EPA does not anticipate that this will be a requirement for cleanup. It will be a voluntary program. Lastly, EPA is developing with other organizations a list of incentives that regulatory agencies can use to document green cleanup.
Green remediation addresses six core elements and EPA has established best management practices for each one. Since this is a “water conference”, I am going to concentrate on the water, energy, air, and materials & waste core elements because towards the end of this presentation, I want to show you a site where groundwater contamination is being remediated using these four core elements. Also, I want to point out that these core elements doesn’t just have to apply to remediation stage. These green practices can be applied throughout site investigation, design, construction, operation, and monitoring.
Some best management practices include minimizing water consumption, maximizing water recycling, and controlling stormwater. In Florida, things like water recycling would be extremely beneficial since our groundwater is the main water supply for the entire state. For energy, there are possibilities to use and generate renewable energy and minimize energy consumption.
For air, it is important to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Also, use cleaner fuels and diesel retrofit engines. For materials and waste, some ways to be environmental friendly is to reuse or recycle materials and minimize waste generation.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation, this program is currently being developed and EPA has worked on the principles of green remediation. However, EPA will not be developing the green standards. By law, they rely on Standard Development Organizations to develop new standards through a consensus process. SDOs are composed of volunteer committees from both the public and private sectors. Last year, EPA selected ASTM International as the SDO to develop the green standards.
Other organizations that will be involved during the development of green cleanup standards for the program include the ASTSWMO. They will be developing the incentives for the program. Also, the ITRC will be providing environmental guidance and technical information to the SDOs.
Here is a chart showing what EPA has accomplished and when EPA estimates completing the program. In 2009, EPA established the goals, selected the and state incentives were also discuss. This year, EPA expects to continue working with ASTM in the developing of the green standards. By next year, EPA hopes to have the program finalize with the incentives. Once this is complete, pilot testing will be conducted to see how well the program will work.
This graph shows nine incentives being evaluated for the green cleanup program.
Some of the challenges that may be encountered during the development of the program are the following:
Now, I want to show you an example where EPA was able to incorporate sustainable practices at a groundwater contaminated site. The site is known as the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Cape Cod and this is a Superfund Site. The cleanup goals at this site was to remediate 11 groundwater plumes using 9 P&T systems. These systems were already in place and operating, but EPA was looking for ways to optimize the treatment process. EPA looked at the water, air, energy, and materials and waste core elements and were able to come up with some interesting ways to not only be green but also reduce project cost. Just to give you a little bit of background info, some contaminants of concern included chlorinated solvents and lead
Here is a map showing site. The lines in red indicate the areas where groundwater contamination was present. Some of these areas are longer than a mile long.
Here are some of the green practices they were able to incorporate during cleanup activities.
Overview of EPA\'s Green Remediation Program
Overview of EPA’s Green Remediation Program<br />By:<br />Betzy Colón<br />Water & Air Research, Inc.<br />March 19, 2010<br />
What is Green Remediation?<br /> “The practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize net environmental benefit of cleanup actions.”<br />Traditional Remediation vs. Green Remediation?<br /><ul><li>The purpose of remediation is to remove pollution or contaminants from a site
Green remediation identifies negative impacts not taken into account during site cleanup activities</li></li></ul><li>What is Driving Green Cleanup?<br /><ul><li> Public sentiment
Companies have internal goals to become greener
Development of Green Cleanup Standards<br /><ul><li>EPA relies on a Standard Development Organization (SDO) to develop standards
ASTM International selected as the SDO to develop green standards
Composed of volunteer committees from public and private sectors</li></li></ul><li>Other Organizations Involved<br />Incentives<br />Technical Knowledge<br /><ul><li>ASTSWMO developing a list of incentives
ITRC will provide environmental guidance and technical information to support ASTM </li></li></ul><li>Green Cleanup Initiative2009-2011 Timeframe<br />ASTM developing green standards<br />Conduct program pilot testing & finalize program<br />Selected ASTM & potential incentives<br />SDO = Standard Development Organization<br />GCS = Green Cleanup Standard<br />
Nine Potential Incentives<br /><ul><li> Loans and grants
Online seminars and training</li></li></ul><li>References<br />Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, Incentives for Greener Cleanups. June 2009. http://www.astswmo.org/files/resources/greenercleanups/GCTF_Incentives_Paper_6-25-09.pdf<br />Environmental Protection Agency, Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites. EPA 542-R-08-002. April 2008. http://www.clu-in.org/download/remed/Green-Remediation-Primer.pdf<br />Environmental Protection Agency, Green Cleanup Standards Initiative. March 2009. http://www.clu-in.org/live/archive/#20090113<br />Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Military Reservation. February 2010. http://www.clu-in.org/greenremediation/subtab_d32.cfm<br />Environmental Protection Agency, Principles for Greener Cleanups. August 2009. http://www.epa.gov/oswer/greencleanups/principles.html<br />