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This article was downloaded by: [Ams/Girona*barri Lib]On: 10 October 2014, At: 00:51Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
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Assessing effects of site characteristicson remediation secondary life cycleimpact with a generalised frameworkDeyi Houa, Abir Al-Tabbaaa & Jian Luoba Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge,Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UKb School of Civil & Environment Engineering, Georgia Instituteof Technology, Mason 226, 790 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA, USA30332-0355Published online: 16 Jan 2014.
To cite this article: Deyi Hou, Abir Al-Tabbaa & Jian Luo (2014) Assessing effects of sitecharacteristics on remediation secondary life cycle impact with a generalised framework, Journalof Environmental Planning and Management, 57:7, 1083-1100, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2013.863754
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2013.863754
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Assessing effects of site characteristics on remediation secondary life
cycle impact with a generalised framework
Deyi Houa*, Abir Al-Tabbaaa and Jian Luob
aDepartment of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ,UK; bSchool of Civil & Environment Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Mason 226,
790 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA, USA 30332-0355
(Received 13 July 2013; final version received 5 November 2013)
The sustainable remediation concept has been broadly embraced by industry andgovernments in recent years in both the US and Europe. However, there is a strongneed for more research to enhance its practicability. In an attempt to fill this researchgap, this study developed a generalised framework for selecting the mostenvironmentally sustainable remedial technology under various site conditions. Fourremediation technologies were evaluated: pump and treat (P&T), enhanced in situbioremediation (EIB), permeable reactive barrier (PRB), and in situ chemicalreduction (ISCR). Within the developed framework and examined site conditionranges, our results indicate that site characteristics have a profound effect on the lifecycle impact of various remedial alternatives, thus providing insights and valuableinformation for determining what is considered the most desired remedy from anenvironmental sustainability perspective.
Keywords: sustainable remediation; life cycle assessment; groundwater remediation;contaminated land
Land contamination is a major challenge to modern society; with an estimated 294,000
contaminated sites in the US (USEPA 2004) and over 300,000 ha of potential
contaminated land in the UK (EA 2005). The land contamination issue can deteriorate
due to other environmental-friendly practices such as recycling (Hou 2011; Hou et al.
2012). Land remediation requires the investment of a significant amount of resources.
The US Superfund clean-up programme alone is spending approximately $1.2 billion
annually in the federal budget; and the requested reinstating of the Superfund tax would
add over $20 billion in funding over the next decade (USEPA 2013). Historically,
remediation was considered to be an inherently sustainable practice because it restores
contaminated land and reduces urban sprawl and greenfield development. Modern green
design standards, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
programme, recognise brownfield remediation as a major credit towards sustainable
development (USGBC 2011). However, remediation operations are also associated with
adverse environmental effects throughout its life cycle. It is only in recent years that
researchers and industrial practitioners have started to examine these secondary
environmental impacts from a sustainability perspective, and using a life-cycle
approach (Ellis and Hadley 2009).
*Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2014 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2014
Vol. 57, No. 7, 10831100, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2013.863754
Sustainable remediation is an emerging field, with its concept first adopted by several
organisations which are sponsored primarily by the industry. These organisations include
the Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe (NICOLE, founded in 1995 in
Europe), the Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments (CLAIRE, founded
in 1999 in the UK), and the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF, founded in 2006 in
the US). Sustainable remediation, or its variant green remediation, is also increasingly
supported by governments (CLARINET 2002; ITRC 2011; USEPA 2010a). Various US
federal agencies, e.g. USACE (USACE 2010), AFCEE (AFCEE 2010), NAVFAC
(NAVFAC 2011) and state governments, e.g. California-DTSC (DTSC 2009), have
developed guidance, protocols and software packages in this field in the past few years.
A number of research studies have been conducted relating to this field, and they have
used life cycle assessment (LCA) (Lemming, Hauschild, and Bjerg 2010; Morais and
Delerue-Matos 2010), multi-criterion analysis (Harbottle, Al-Tabbaa, and Evans 2008;
Sparrevik et al. 2012) and footprint calculators (USEPA 2010b; Lubrecht 2012) in
sustainability evaluation for remedy selection. Several early studies laid the foundations
for conducting life cycle assessment (LCA) in the field of remediation, primarily to
account for secondary impacts in order to support informed decision making (Diamond
et al. 1999; Volkwein, Hurtig, and Klopffer 1999; Blanc et al. 2004). Two review paperspublished in 2010 summarised the findings and challenges based on a review of over 10
remediation LCA studies (Lemming, Hauschild, and Bjerg 2010; Morais and Delerue-
Matos 2010). Since 2010, over a dozen more LCA studies have been published
(Owsianiak et al. 2013). These studies have rendered a wide range of findings and
implications to assist researchers and industrial practitioners in taking a holistic view in
remediation decision-making processes.
As an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardised method,
LCA can be used with other factors, such as cost and performance data, to select the most
appropriate remedial alternative. However, performing an LCA can be resource and time-
consuming (USEPA 2006), and may not be affordable by most remediation projects.
Moreover, the incorporation of sustainability in remediation decision making is a
continuous and iterative process (Holland 2011). As traditional LCA is a relatively static
process (i.e. requiring solid definition of the system), it may need adaptation to
accommodate the unique challenges in sustainable remediation decision making in a
project life cycle where sigificant changes may occur in the system. One of the
challenges is that most existing studies have used highly site specific data, which make it
difficult to extend the implications from these studies to other sites with different site
This study aims to explore the feasibility of using a generalised LCA model to derive
knowledge that can be more broadly applicable than what traditional LCA renders. Four
remediation technologies are assessed in this study: pump and treat (P&T), enhanced in
situ bioremediation (EIB), permeab