Efficient Remediation of Contaminated Sites - A Literature Review
Report, 2017

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is concerned over the slow progress, low level of innovation, and high cost of publicly funded remediation projects in Sweden. More efficient and effective remediation of the estimated 1300 high-risk sites is needed if the national environmental objective, A Non-Toxic Environment, is to be met. Cleanup of contaminated sites, while reducing risks to human health and the environment, are known to have significant negative effects, including greenhouse gas emissions, disturbance to communities, and production of large amounts of waste to landfills. This has led to increased focus in the past decade on the sustainable remediation concept, accounting for the contradictory secondary effects of remediation. A number of sustainability assessment tools and methods are now available to assess the sustainability of remediation alternatives, including the SCORE (Sustainable Choice Of REmediation) method, developed at Chalmers. It is unclear, however, if sustainability assessment leads to increased remediation efficiency and effectiveness. The main objective of the literature review is to study how remediation efficiency and effectiveness are defined in literature and to map out possible indicators to be used in further study. It was found that remediation efficiency and effectiveness can be conceptualized on three levels: technical, project and national. Efficiency indicators focus on productivity in terms of outputs vs inputs, whereas effectiveness indicators focus on reaching specified goals or outcomes. Chosen indicators should include consideration of both risk reduction, time and costs, as well as project specific goals. Comparison of sites of differing size and characteristics with respect to efficiency and effectiveness is likely difficult given indicators considering diverse aspects.

sustainability assessment

effective remediation

sustainable remediation

decision support tool

contaminated land management

efficient remediation


Robert Anderson

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, GeoEngineering

FRIST competence centre

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Environmental Management

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