BEST PRACTICES FOR
RISK-INFORMED DECISION MAKING
REGARDING CONTAMINATED SITES
SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP SERIES
Dominic Brose, Rapporteur, Workshop 1
Jennifer A. Heimberg, Rapporteur, Workshop 2
Committee on Best Practices for Risk-Informed Remedy Selection,
Closure and Post-Closure of Contaminated Sites
Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs Division
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This summary report and the workshop on which it was based were supported by the Department of Energy under DOE Grant No. DE-EM0001172.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-30305-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-30305-2
Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
PLANNING COMMITTEE ON BEST PRACTICES FOR RISK-INFORMED REMEDY SELECTION, CLOSURE, AND POST-CLOSURE OF CONTAMINATED SITES
Paul Gilman (Chair), Covanta Energy
Patricia J. Culligan, Columbia University
Michael C. Kavanaugh, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
Jeffrey J. Wong, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Dominic Brose, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Jennifer (Jenny) Heimberg, Senior Program Officer, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Kevin Crowley, Director, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Marina Moses, Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Erin Wingo, Senior Program Assistant, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Toni Greenleaf, Financial and Administrative Associate, Nuclear Radiation and Studies Board
NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD
Robert C. Dynes (Chair), University of California, San Diego
Barbara J. McNeil (Vice Chair), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
John S. Applegate, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington
David J. Brenner, Columbia University, New York, New York
Margaret S. Y. Chu, M.S. Chu & Associates, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Michael L. Corradini, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Carol M. Jantzen, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina
Annie B. Kersting, Glenn T. Seaborg Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
Martha S. Linet, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Fred A. Mettler, Jr., New Mexico VA Health Care System, Albuquerque
Lawrence T. Papay, PQR, LLC, La Jolla, California
Daniel O. Stram, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Richard J. Vetter, Mayo Clinic (retired), Rochester, Minnesota
Kevin D. Crowley, Director
Jennifer (Jenny) Heimberg, Senior Program Officer
Orania Kosti, Senior Program Officer
Toni Greenleaf, Administrative and Financial Associate
Laura D. Llanos, Administrative and Financial Associate
Darlene Gros, Senior Program Assistant
Erin Wingo, Senior Program Assistant
ROUNDTABLE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Thomas Graedel (Co-Chair), Yale University
Ann M. Bartuska (Co-Chair), U.S. Department of Agriculture
Wayne S. Balta, IBM Corporation
Steve Bergman, Shell International Exploration & Production Company
Stephen R. Carpenter, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
David Dzombak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Paulo Ferrão, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Technical University of Lisbon
Marco Ferroni, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Neil C. Hawkins, The Dow Chemical Company
Lek Kadeli,* Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Michael Kavanaugh (NAE), Geosyntec Consultants
Jack Kaye,* National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Mehmood Khan, Global Research and Development, PepsiCo Inc.
Suzette Kimball,* U.S. Geological Survey
Steven E. Koonin, Center for Urban Science and Progress, New York University
Francis O’Sullivan, MIT Energy Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prabhu Pingali, Tata-Cornell Initiative in Agriculture and Nutrition, Cornell University
Paul Sandifer,* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Dennis Treacy, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
B.L. Turner II, School of Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University
Michael Webber, Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas
Marina Moses, Director (through May 2, 2014)
Jennifer Saunders, Program Officer
Dominic Brose, Program Officer
Emi Kameyama, Program Associate
Dylan Richmond, Research Assistant
*Denotes ex-officio member
During the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War, the United States created a massive industrial complex to produce nuclear materials and weapons for national defense. This nuclear weapons complex encompassed 134 distinct sites in 31 states and 1 territory, with a total area of more than 2 million acres. Weapons production activities at these sites produced large quantities of radioactive and hazardous wastes that resulted in widespread groundwater and soil contamination. In 1989, Congress created the Office of Environmental Management (EM) within the Department of Energy (DOE) to clean up these sites. The cleanup program is planned to last until 2035 and cost upwards of $300 billion. Even after this program is completed, many sites will still require long-term stewardship and access restrictions to manage residual hazards. The cleanup program is proceeding under hundreds of legally enforceable agreements with federal and state regulatory agencies that specify cleanup remedies, endpoints, and schedules.
DOE anticipates that declining federal budgets for its cleanup program will push completion schedules out by as much as a decade. As a consequence, the agency is reviewing its cleanup baselines to identify more cost- and schedule-effective approaches. DOE is particularly interested in exploring approaches for incorporating sustainability principles into risk-informed decision making about these cleanups.
The National Research Council (NRC) was requested by DOE to organize two public workshops on best practices for risk-informed remedy selection, closure, and post-closure control of radioactive and chemically contaminated sites that present significant difficulty for remediation to site-specific restoration levels as defined by regulatory programs (e.g., un-
restricted release). The workshop series aimed to explore best practices that promote effective, risk-informed decision making and future opportunities to improve remediation approaches and practices.
This report is the result of substantial effort and collaboration among several organizations and individuals. The workshop series was a collaborative effort between two organizations within the National Academy of Sciences of the NRC: the Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program and the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB). Erin Wingo (NRSB) managed the logistics of both workshops and edited early versions of the report. Toni Greenleaf (NRSB) managed the financial reporting for the project. Finally, we wish to extend a sincere thanks to each member of the planning committee for his or her contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project.
This report integrates the indivdual summaries of each workshop into a single volume. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The statements made are those of the rapporteurs and do not necessarily represent positions of the workshop participants as a whole, the planning committee, or the NRC.
Dominic A. Brose
Rapporteur, Workshop 1
Jennifer (Jenny) Heimberg
Rapporteur, Workshop 2
Acknowledgement of Reviewers
This report integrates the summaries of each workshop into a single volume. Each workshop summary, authored by separate rapporteurs, has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. Similarly, the integrated report was reviewed by a subset of the reviewers following the same process. The purpose of these independent reviews is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for clarity, objectivity, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of the workshop summaries:
Rula Deeb, Geosyntec
Mary Fox, Johns Hopkins University
Alan Hecht, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Bruce Means, EPA (retired)
Michael Truex, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Carol Jantzen, Savannah River National Laboratory
Michael Kavanaugh, Geosyntec
David Maloney, CH2M HILL
Michael Truex, PNNL
John Tseng, Department of Energy (retired)
Integrated Final Report:
Michael Kavanaugh, Geosyntec
Bruce Means, EPA (retired)
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review was overseen by Dr. Edwin Przybylowicz (NAE). Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examinations of each summary and this final report were carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the authors and the institution.