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Making Green Site Restoration Even Greener

Challenge

Many U.S. military sites need extensive remediation to reduce human health risks and restore the environment for wildlife or human use. But site restoration activities can themselves have a significant environmental footprint—for example, requiring the use of heavy machinery, chemicals or extensive water use. To meet EPA’s commitment to conducting its environmental program in a sustainable manner and fulfil the federally mandated sustainability targets, the U.S. military needed to find a better way to incorporate green and sustainable remediation (GSR) into the site remediation process.

Solution

Battelle worked with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop a stand-alone tool called SiteWiseTM to evaluate and quantify the environmental, health, safety and economic impact of a variety of restoration alternatives. SiteWise™ expands on existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) concepts to conduct GSR assessments specifically tailored to site restoration and remediation.

SiteWise™ assesses the remedy footprint of a remedial alternative/technology in terms of a consistent set of metrics, including: (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; (2) energy use; (3) air emissions of criteria pollutants including nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur oxide (SOx), and particulate matter (PM); (4) water consumption; (5) resource consumption; and (6) worker safety and accident risk. The assessment is carried out using a building-block approach where every remedial alternative is first broken down into modules that mimic the remedial phases in most remedial actions, including remedial investigations (RIs), remedial action constructions (RACs), remedial action operations (RA-Os), and long-term monitoring (LTM). Once broken down into various modules, the footprint of each module is individually calculated. The different footprints are then combined to estimate the overall footprint of the remedial alternative. This building-block approach reduces redundancy in the sustainability evaluation and facilitates the identification of specific activities that have the greatest remedy footprint.

Outcome

SiteWise™ has been successfully used to optimize GSR activities at 54 U.S. Navy sites, and is now mandatory for all U.S. Navy sites as part of the remedy selection process. An ESTCP project has been completed and validated the SiteWise tool against the industry accepted LCA software package SimaPro. Battelle continues to provide support to the U.S. Navy in developing their GSR strategy, including guidance, training and technology transfer.