Q&A: Sustainable Remediation
Q: What makes a sustainable remediation project successful?
A: If the objective of remediation is to improve the environmental health of a site, isn’t that inherently sustainable? Not quite. In actuality, improving a site’s environmental health is only part of the equation. Economic and social aspects must also be examined when developing a truly sustainable project. Project teams should look to implement a remedial technology that not only effectively protects the environment but also provides cost-efficient solutions that consider the impact on the local community.
It’s important to consider these elements beyond the act of remediation, keeping them top of mind when performing site investigations, design, implementation, operation, monitoring, and, ultimately, closure. As an industry, we often work hard to protect a site’s environment by implementing a remedial strategy, but then fail to consider the greater impact of our actions on the surrounding area and community. For example, site investigation and monitoring activities can potentially contribute significant waste to local landfills in the form of tubing, bailers, sampling bladders, macro core sleeves, and used gloves, none of which are sustainable.
Striving for zero waste and zero emissions is a primary goal of sustainable remediation … but it shouldn’t stop there. Successful projects also involve taking a holistic look and making small adjustments throughout to develop a more environmentally, economically, and socially friendly project.
About Matthew Ambrusch, PE, MBA
Matt Ambrusch is a Senior Project Engineer specializing in in-situ remediation, and is experienced with multiple phases of site remediation including site investigation, remedial design, and remedial action. He has direct hands-on experience performing field pilot studies for air sparging, soil vapor extraction, sub-slab depressurization, and chemical oxidation for projects throughout New Jersey and New York.
Ambrusch served as the immediate past president of The Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF). As president, he was responsible, along with the other SURF Board members, for shaping the direction and furthering the mission of SURF, which is to provide a forum for representatives of government, industry, consultancy, and academia to find ways to incorporate societal and economic considerations into environmental cleanup projects.