Consideration of Options

  • The paramount consideration for PCB-contaminated sediment sites should be the management of overall risks to humans and the environment rather than the selection of a remediation technology (e.g., dredging, capping, or natural attenuation). Indeed, the lack of consideration of these risks is one of the major impediments to the adoption of a successful management strategy.

  • There should be no presumption of a preferred or default risk-management option that is applicable to all PCB-contaminated-sediment sites. A combination of technical and nontechnical options is likely to be necessary at any given site.

be difficult, not only for the designated decision-makers but also for the other affected parties who will have to implement and live with the decision. Affected parties might assume that the availability of a wealth of site-specific data, well-conducted human health and ecological risk assessments, and a thorough review of the risks associated with potential risk-management options will automatically lead to a determination of the most-effective and acceptable risk-management strategy. However, that assumption is often not the case, because decision-makers are dealing with a multivariate system, which involves a diverse community with differing expectations, interests, risk tolerance, and willingness to pay. This complexity has been a major contributor to the slow progress on risk management at many PCB-contaminated-sediment sites to date. New procedures are needed to accommodate the multivariate complexity at contaminated sites.

In this chapter, the committee summarizes the regulatory environment in which any decision-making process on a PCB-contaminated site must take place, reviews the various components of the decision-making process, discusses how these processes relate to the risk-management framework described in this report, and shows how the process may be facilitated.


The need to comply with various federal and state regulations when managing a PCB-contaminated-sediment site cannot be ignored. The regulations involved in the risk-management strategy for PCB-contaminated sedi-

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