Sustainable Remediation Forum (SuRF)
Maile Smith, June 10-11, 2008
The seventh meeting of the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SuRF) took place at BP's Houston, Texas office. The theme of this meeting was "How do we balance on-site cleanup with off-site impact? and who should decide?" A quick show-of-hands at the start of the meeting revealed that the mix of attendees included about 10-15 industry representatives, 10-15 consultants, 5 regulators, 1 academic, and 1 attorney.
Whereas I was assuming the theme was posed to get at the question of the societal and global benefit of sustainable remediation, there wasn't clear consensus amongst the group regarding what those two questions meant. Several participants envision "sustainable remediation" projects as having a much smaller sphere of influence, and decision-makers consisting solely of the project-specific client/consultant/regulator population. Others considered the questions from a more broad perspective.
What is clear, however, even after seven quarterly SuRF meetings, is that there is general agreement amongst RPs and regulators that cleanup projects should be as green as possible. It is also clear that there continues to be wide-ranging definitions of "green" and "sustainable" (as it relates to remediation), and ideas on how to implement those green and sustainable solutions. Regulators in attendence (e.g., US EPA, DTSC) are not yet at the point where they are committing to select or eliminate a remedy due to sustainability issues.
The DoD is tasking its various departments (Army Corps of Engineers, Navy, and Air Force) to frame and adopt sustainability criteria to help achieve federal mandates for green house gas reductions. The Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (AFCEE), Navy, and USACE have funding proposals in the hopper right now for sustainable remediation initiatives. The next Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (FRTR) meeting will be on sustainable remediation. And the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) Remediation Risk Management group currently has a proposal in to develop green/sustainable remediation guidance.
Several of the presentations from the meeting are available for review (feel welcome to ask via leaving a comment).