What's the point? The contribution of a sustainability view in contaminated site remediation
Journal article, 2018
Decision support tools (DST) are often used in remediation projects to aid in the complex decision on how best to remediate a contaminated site. In recent years, the sustainable remediation concept has brought increased attention to the often-overlooked contradictory effects of site remediation, with a number of sustainability assessment tools now available. The aim of the present study is twofold: (1) to demonstrate how and when different assessment views affect the decision support outcome on remediation alternatives in a DST, and (2) to demonstrate the contribution of a full sustainability assessment. The SCORE tool was used in the analysis; it is based on a holistic multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach, assessing sustainability in three dimensions: environmental, social, and economic. Four assessment scenarios, compared to a full sustainability assessment, were considered to reflect different possible assessment views; considering public and private problem owner perspectives, as well as green and traditional assessment scopes. Four real case study sites in Sweden were analyzed. The results show that the decision support outcome from a full sustainability assessment most often differs to that of other assessment views, and results in remediation alternatives which balance trade-offs in most of the scenarios. In relation to the public perspective and traditional scope, which is seen to lead to the most extensive and expensive remediation alternatives, the trade-off is related to less contaminant removal in favour of reduced negative secondary effects such as emissions and waste disposal. Compared to the private perspective, associated with the lowest cost alternatives, the trade-off is higher costs, but more positive environmental and social effects. Generally, both the green and traditional assessment scopes miss out on relevant social and local environmental secondary effects which may ultimately be very important for the actual decision in a remediation project.
Contaminated site remediation
Decision support tool