Ten Years Later: The Progress and Future of Integrating Sustainable Principles, Practices, and Metrics into Remediation Projects

Authors: P. Favara, D. Raymond, M. Ambrusch, A. Libera, G. Wolf, J. Simon , B. Maco, E. Collins, M. Harclerode, A. McNally , R. Ridsdale, M. Smith, L. Howard
Published: September 2019 in Remediation Journal.

Abstract

In 2009, the Sustainable Remediation Forum released a white paper entitled “Integrating sustainable principles, practices, and metrics into remediation projects” (Ellis & Hadley, 2009, Remediation, 19, pp. 5–114). Sustainable remediation was a relatively new concept, and the white paper explored a range of approaches on how sustainability could be integrated into traditional remediation projects. This paper revisits the 2009 white paper, providing an overview of the early days of the evolving sustainable remediation practice and an assessment of the progress of sustainable remediation over the last 10 years with a primary focus on the United States. The current state of the sustainable remediation practice includes published literature, current practices and resources, applications, room for improvement, international progress, the virtuous cycle that applying sustainable remediation creates, and the status of the objectives cited in the 2009 white paper. Over the last decade, several sustainable remediation frontiers have emerged that will likely be a focus in advancing the practice. These frontiers include climate change and resiliency, weighting and valuation to help better consolidate different sustainable remediation metrics, programmatic implementation, and better integration of the societal impacts of sustainable remediation. Finally, as was the case for the 2009 white paper, this paper explores how sustainable remediation may evolve over the next 10 years and focuses on the events and drivers that can be significant in the pace of further development of the practice. The events and drivers include transformation impacts, societal influences, and the continued development of new technologies, approaches, and tools by remediation practitioners. The remediation industry has made significant progress in developing the practice of sustainable remediation and has implemented it successfully into hundreds of projects. While progress has been significant, an opportunity exists to implement the tenets of sustainable remediation on many more projects and explore new frontiers to help improve the communication, integration, and derived benefits from implementing sustainable remediation into future remediation projects.