October 17, 2022

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Amanda McNally and Julia Keay to Present on Sustainability Analysis and Flood Risk Management at the International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy

Amanda McNally, P.E. (Pennsylvania) and Julia Keay, P.E., CPESC (Massachusetts) will present "Tiered Approach to Sustainability Analysis in Sediment Remediation Decision Making" and "Tools for Flood Risk Management & Increased Resiliency in New York City" at the 38th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy at the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Massachusetts on October 17 through 20, 2022.

Amanda McNally is a Senior Engineer and project manager with 12 years of experience in environmental compliance and investigation and remediation of contaminated sites. fuel-related hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, and military munitions for clients in the manufacturing, transportation, and oil and gas industries, as well as for the United States federal government. Amanda develops sustainable remediation frameworks, including programmatic guidance for a portfolio of sites and a comprehensive sustainability analysis for a large sediment Superfund remediation site.

Julia Keay is a water resources engineer who designs and models stormwater management systems. She is trained in water resources engineering, water resources systems analysis, watershed management, water resources planning, hydrology, hydraulics, environmental sciences, and fish passage engineering. Her experience includes hydrologic and hydraulic modeling; linear optimization modeling; preparation of engineering designs and specifications; watershed-based planning; permitting compliance; and litigation support.

The Annual Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water and Energy is the preeminent national conference in these important environmental areas. Attendees include specialists and practitioners from state and federal agencies, military, industry (including railroad, petroleum, transportation, and utilities), environmental engineering, environmental consulting, and academia. A diverse technical program, equipment demonstrations, videos, and workshops pair technical theory with real world application.

The conference is hosted by the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS) Foundation, a nonprofit, member-supported, professional organization that facilitates communication and fosters cooperation among professionals concerned with the challenge of soil, sediment, and water assessment, cleanup, and protection.


Title: Tiered Approach to Sustainability Analysis in Sediment Remediation Decision Making
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. EDT
Presenter: Amanda McNally

Background/Objectives: Active remediation results in desirable and undesirable environmental, economic, and social impacts. Balancing such impacts through a sustainability assessment poses normative questions–not just objective and science-based ones, but those rooted in societal values, requiring engagement and balanced consideration of diverse stakeholders' priorities. These priorities should be integrated into site evaluations and cleanup approaches. Applications of sustainability concepts to sediment remediation are limited but increasing; the complexity and level of detail needed for such analyses will depend upon the site and scenarios being evaluated. How do we match assessment approach to the site under consideration to ensure maximum utility?

Approach: We explored how broad analyses of environmental, social, and economic aspects could be tailored for different tiers of assessment for sediment remediation projects, ranging from simple to complex. Tiers (1, 2, and 3) can be used to categorize sediment projects across a range of complexity. Site size and complexity, availability of data, time, resources, and expertise, and the level of engagement of various stakeholder groups may dictate the appropriate complexity, tools and metrics to be used in a sustainability assessment. Assessment approaches in each pillar of sustainability (environmental, economic, social), listed in order of increasing complexity (i.e., Tier 1 to 3), include the following:

  • Environmental: best management practices (BMPs); green footprint assessment; and life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Economic: incremental cost-effectiveness analysis; economic impact analysis with detailed (e.g., IMPLAN) or complex (e.g., REMI) modeling of economic impacts
  • Social: establishment of a sustainability-focused conceptual site model; qualitative inference of stakeholder values; quantification of metrics in a multi-criteria analysis (MCA); and targeted engagement with elicited values from a broad group of stakeholders


Results/Lessons Learned: Sustainability assessment tools add value for a project; they can effectively provide context and trade-offs for stakeholders and decision-makers. The approach is adaptable; availability of data, time, resources, expertise, and the level of stakeholder engagement may dictate the appropriate complexity of a sustainability assessment applied to any given project. As new data are collected and/or level of stakeholder engagement changes, new assessment tools may be evaluated for their project value. In reality, sites will have differing levels of information and resources for different pillars, and indicators within an assessment may come from different "tiers." Sustainability assessments are thus tailored for the site at hand by applying resources where they are needed to reduce uncertainty, as a continuum rather than in distinct tiers.


Title: Tools for Flood Risk Management & Increased Resiliency in New York City
Date/Time: Thursday, October 20, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. EDT
Presenter: Julia Keay

Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $19 billion in damages in New York City (NYC) alone. Damage from the storm affected tens of thousands of small businesses, and most of these businesses still remain vulnerable to future storms. This presentation will provide an overview of a project aimed at increasing NYC small businesses' resiliency to impacts from flooding and future storm surges. As part of the project, "flood risk resiliency audits" were conducted at 15 NYC small businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy. Findings from the audits, along with results of regional flood and storm surge modeling, were included in flood resiliency audit reports. The flood resiliency audit reports were used to help improve businesses' understanding of their potential risk of flooding and flood-induced damage and also identified potential flood protection measures that the business could implement to mitigate their flood risk. Each of the 15 small business sites also received an "active floodproofing" internet-hosted dashboard, which consisted of an adaptive system capable of autonomously monitoring storm surge conditions and providing warnings. Small business owners are able to access their active floodproofing dashboard remotely to help inform in real-time when flood protection measures should be activated. The 15 small business sites were also ranked, and the highest ranked sites were those that would have the greatest realized benefit from active floodproofing implementation from a feasibility, damage avoidance perspective and from an overall potential impact perspective. The highest ranked small business site is currently in the process of receiving flood protection measures including a removable flood panel barrier system and installation of a sewer backflow preventer. Once the flood panel barrier system is installed, the small business owner will be able to use the active floodproofing dashboard to inform decision making regarding when to activate the flood panels.

More Information

About the event: https://www.aehsfoundation.org/East-Coast-Conference.aspx
About the AEHS Foundation: https://www.aehsfoundation.org/
For consultation regarding sustainability analyses, contact Amanda at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For consultation regarding flood risk management and resiliency, contact Julia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Learn more about Amanda: Amanda McNally, P.E. | LinkedIn
Learn more about Julia: Julia Keay, PE, CPESC | LinkedIn