Operationalizing Sustainability Concepts in Sediment Remediation Decision Making
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Participants will learn how to operationalize evolving sustainability concepts in the evaluation and optimization of sediment remedial strategies, and how to evaluate, communicate and apply outputs of such assessments.

In addition to environmental metrics, two featured concepts will be stakeholder value mapping and "real" costs of a remedy including jobs, financing and expenditures. The potential audience includes environmental professionals, potentially responsible parties, site owners, state and federal regulators, and nongovernmental organizations and community stakeholders affected by or engaged in sediment remediation issues.

Overview: All remediation approaches have desirable and undesirable environmental, economic and social impacts. Since some of these are not considered in traditional regulatory decision frameworks, there is an increasing call for comparative assessments considering all risks, benefits, and costs of alternatives. Yet, these assessments must remain connected to governing regulatory criteria and conclude with selection of a protective remedy. An increasing number of frameworks apply sustainability concepts in decision making, but few are sediment-specific. This short course will help users move beyond traditional regulatory decision criteria, qualitative checklists and footprint analysis, to allow for a broader assessment of sustainability to support better sediment remedial decision making. Building on guidance from Sustainable Research Forum (SuRF), ASTM, ITRC and others, attendees will learn how to: 1) identify the full range of potential environmental, economic and social impacts of sediment remedial alternatives, 2) map them to generic and project-specific regulatory criteria and stakeholder/community priorities (indicators), 3) develop quantitative rankings and score remedial alternative-specific metrics for these indicators, 4) evaluate sensitivity and 5) integrate the results into remedial alternative trade-off communication and decision making. Effective integration of stakeholder values and priorities into sustainability will be discussed, as will tools for evaluating remedial alternative environmental and economic impacts and cost effectiveness (in terms of a range of criteria). While specific sustainability assessment tools will be used to illustrate concepts, the focus will be on developing an understanding of context. A range of approaches will be reviewed, with the aim of ensuring that sustainability concepts are broadly applied, regardless of the tools used. At the end of the workshop, attendees should have an understanding of how to frame sediment remedial alternatives in terms of their ecological, economic and social impacts, and how to evaluate and communicate the trade-offs inherent in their selection, ideally in collaboration with a range of stakeholders.

Draft Agenda: 1. Background of sustainability: terms, potential uses, recent state of the practice 2. Sustainability tools, frameworks and guidance: review 3. Multi-criteria approaches versus aggregating indicators: when to use each 4. Understanding the impacts of remedial alternatives: developing indicators 5. How to develop quantitative metrics for each sustainability pillar 6. Scoring alternatives in terms of regulatory decision criteria 7. Regional economic impact: there ain't no free lunch 8. The many dimensions of cost-effectiveness 9. Evaluating stakeholder values and priorities: social sustainability 10. Remedy decision making: communicating trade-offs and supporting collaboration

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Anne Fitzpatrick, Amanda McNally
  • All Authors: Instructors: Sabine Apitz, Anne Fitzpatrick, and Amanda McNally
  • Title: Operationalizing Sustainability Concepts in Sediment Remediation Decision Making
  • Event or Publication: Battelle: 2019 Sediments Conference
  • Practice Areas: Contaminated Site Assessment and Cleanup, Environmental Planning and Management
  • Citation: The Tenth International Conference on Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments will be held February 11-14, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
  • Date: Feb. 11, 2019
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana