Evaluation of the environmental impact of Brownfield remediation options: comparison of two life cycle assessment-based evaluation tools

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  • This article was downloaded by: [East Carolina University]On: 30 August 2013, At: 00:14Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    Evaluation of the environmental impact of Brownfieldremediation options: comparison of two life cycleassessment-based evaluation toolsValrie Cappuyns a & Bram Kessen aa Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability(CEDON), Warmoesberg 26, 1000, Brussels, BelgiumAccepted author version posted online: 08 Mar 2012.Published online: 23 Apr 2012.

    To cite this article: Valrie Cappuyns & Bram Kessen (2012) Evaluation of the environmental impact of Brownfield remediationoptions: comparison of two life cycle assessment-based evaluation tools, Environmental Technology, 33:21, 2447-2459, DOI:10.1080/09593330.2012.671854

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2012.671854


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  • Environmental TechnologyVol. 33, No. 21, November 2012, 24472459

    Evaluation of the environmental impact of Browneld remediation options: comparison of twolife cycle assessment-based evaluation tools

    Valrie Cappuyns and Bram Kessen

    Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability (CEDON), Warmoesberg 26,1000 Brussels, Belgium

    (Received 15 December 2011; nal version received 28 February 2012 )

    The choice between dierent options for the remediation of a contaminated site traditionally relies on economical, technicaland regulatory criteria without consideration of the environmental impact of the soil remediation process itself. In the presentstudy, the environmental impact assessment of two potential soil remediation techniques (excavation and o-site cleaning andin situ steam extraction) was performed using two life cycle assessment (LCA)-based evaluation tools, namely the REC (riskreduction, environmental merit and cost) method and the ReCiPe method. The comparison and evaluation of the dierenttools used to estimate the environmental impact of Browneld remediation was based on a case study which consisted of theremediation of a former oil and fat processing plant.

    For the environmental impact assessment, both the REC andReCiPemethods result in a single score for the environmentalimpact of the soil remediation process and allow the same conclusion to be drawn: excavation and o-site cleaning has amore pronounced environmental impact than in situ soil remediation by means of steam extraction. The ReCiPe method takesinto account more impact categories, but is also more complex to work with and needs more input data. Within the routineevaluation of soil remediation alternatives, a detailed LCA evaluation will often be too time consuming and costly and theestimation of the environmental impact with the REC method will in most cases be sucient. The case study worked out inthis paper wants to provide a basis for a more sounded selection of soil remediation technologies based on a more detailedassessment of the secondary impact of soil remediation.

    Keywords: energy use; excavation; soil remediation; soil contamination; steam extraction

    1. Introduction1.1. Environmental impact of soil remediationApproximately 250,000 sites in Europe require cleanup,while the European Environmental Agency estimates thatnearly 3 million sites are potentially polluted [1]. Indus-trial activities are responsible for over 60% of Europessoil pollution (the oil sector accounts for 14% of this total).Among the most common harmful contaminants are heavymetals (37%) and mineral oils (33%) [1]. Although sev-eral EuropeanUnion (EU) directives support the preventionand cleanup of soil contamination (e.g. EU Directive onEnvironmental Liability, EU Waste Framework Directive,EU Water Framework Directive, EU Integrated PollutionPrevention and Control Directive), there is no general Euro-pean directive with regard to soil remediation and cleanup.Because the cleanup of all historically contaminated sites tobackground concentrations or levels suitable for all types ofland use is not considered technically or economically fea-sible, cleanup strategies are more and more designed to usesustainable, long-term solutions, often using a risk-basedapproach to land management

    Corresponding author: Email: valerie.cappuyns@hubrussel.be

    The cleanup level, the time required for the remedia-tion, economic resources and the best available technologiesare the most important factors that are traditionally takeninto account when a soil remediation technique has to beselected. More and more, the environmental impact of theremediation process itself is also taken into account. Ideally,to be more sustainable, remediation and/or cleaning of soiland groundwater should be performed in a closed-loop sys-tem, with conservation of landscape characteristics, to min-imize the environmental impact of the remediation projectand to achieve the goal of sustainable use of soil. Bothsoil and groundwater can be considered valuable resources.

    Therefore, besides primary impacts, associated with thestate of the site, and secondary impacts, associated withthe site remediation itself [2], contaminated site manage-ment should also account for tertiary impacts, associatedwith the eects of the reoccupation of the site [3]. The termgreen or gentle remediation techniques, is closely relatedto sustainable remediation, as green remediation tech-niques are dened as remediation techniques with a lowerenvironmental impact and a lower associated consumption

    ISSN 0959-3330 print/ISSN 1479-487X online 2012 Taylor & Francishttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2012.671854http://www.tandfonline.com




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    Table 1. Literature overview of LCA-based case studies where the environmental impact of soil remediation technologies was evaluated.

    Ref Case study Impact assessment method or tool

    [22] - REC (uses value functions method for assessment ofenvironmental merit)

    [23] Site contaminatedwith Pb, As, Cd, polyaromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs)

    Calculation of potential impact indicators

    [8] Analysis of six generic remediation options Multimedia Maclkay model Solid Waste Burden (SWB) +useable land area

    [17] Site contaminated with mineral oil, PAHs and Cr Use of disadvantage factors[24] - Pollution factor (PF) is calculated, and expression of

    environmental impacts in dimensionless environmentalimpact units (EIUs)

    [21] Industrial site contaminated with sulfur No impact assessment but ranking of productivity resources[18] Spent pot lining (SPL) landll contaminated with Cd and Cu EDIP97+ simulation of contaminant transport in groundwater,

    using site-specic data[2] Diesel-contaminated site EDIP97[20] Landll sites in Switzerland Procedure for estimating heavy metal transport in soil within

    a current LCIA[25] Old landll Specify method for impact assessment transport of heavy

    metals[26] Former manufactured gas plant site Characterization method adopted from Umweltbundesamt

    (2000)[27] Mixed industrialresidentialcommercial area with BTEX

    and THP contaminationIPPC Tier Two methodology

    [28] Browneld contaminated by human activity in railway sector IMPACT2002+[10] Diesel-contaminated site US-EPA TRACI[29] Industrial site with 300 industries involved in chemical and

    petro-chemical productionsDEcision Support sYstem for REhabilitation of contaminated

    sites (DESYRE).[19] Outdoor shooting range and gasoline station Decision support tool (DST) based on REC[30] Site contaminated with chlorinated ethenes GaBi4 LCA software and EDIP97 impact assessment method

    (Lemming et al. [30])[16] Site contaminated with diesel Global warming potential (GWP), acidication potential

    (AP), eutrophiation potential (EP) and photo oxidantcreation potential (POCP)

    [13] Agricultural elds contaminated with dieldrin RNsoil and economic inputoutput LCA[31] Dioxin and furan contaminated sediments in a fjord ReCiPe impact model[15] Area of 700 km2 contaminated with Pb, Cd and Zn Global warming potential (GWP) of CO2[12] Previous oil depot ReCiPe- EPD[11] Industrial site with distribution centre for cars REC


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