Managing Contaminated Sediments
Sediments contaminated with toxic chemicals such as PCBs, PAHs, metals, metalloids, and military-unique compounds such as munitions constituents can be found in marine and estuarine bays, harbors, lakes, wetlands, and rivers. Aquatic sediments are often the ultimate receptors of contaminants in effluent from military activities on installations. The Department of Defense is responsible for the cleanup of hundreds of contaminated sediment sites.
Sound science and effective tools that are accepted by the regulatory community are needed to characterize, remediate, manage, and monitor these sites in a manner that reduces risks. SERDP and ESTCP investments in this area are guided by the results of three workshops convened to examine the state of the science and engineering and to identify and prioritize research needs. In 2004 an Expert Panel Workshop on Research and Development Needs for the In Situ Management of Contaminated Sediments identified 75 specific research needs. In 2008 an Expert Panel Workshop on Research and Development Needs for Understanding and Assessing the Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments was held to discuss in greater detail the issue of contaminant bioavailability. A subsequent 2012 workshop, Expert Panel Workshop on Research and Development Needs for Long-Term Management of Contaminated Sediments, was held to discuss issues related to long-term management and achieving site closure at contaminated sediment sites.
SERDP and ESTCP investments are addressing a wide variety of issues relevant to managing contaminated sediments in place and assessing the processes that govern ecological and human health risks. Work is supported to advance the science and technology of the following:
Fate and Transport – methods to quantify whether contaminants remain in place, are buried over time, or move through the aquatic system and into ecological and human receptors.
Site Characterization and Monitoring – tools to assess the in situ contaminant concentrations and link those to measures of success for in situ remediation and ecosystem recovery.
Bioavailability of Contaminants – tools and methods to support the selection of appropriate cleanup levels.
In Situ Capping – subaqueous caps with sequestering amendments and various design and implementation options.
In Situ Remediation – bioremediation and other methods to sequester contaminants, and techniques to improve understanding of ecosystem risks and recovery from remedial approaches.
Monitored Natural Recovery – assessment tools and methodologies to predict and monitor natural recovery.
Symposium & Workshop
FY 2013 New Start Project Selections
SERDP and ESTCP Workshop on Research and Development Needs for Long-Term Management of Contaminated Sediments (2012)
Research and Development Needs for Understanding and Assessing the Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments (2008)
Research and Development Needs for the In Situ Management of Contaminated Sediments (2004)