FY 2016 STATEMENT OF NEED
Environmental Restoration (ER) Program Area
The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to develop methodologies that can improve our ability to accurately measure, quantify, and/or enhance natural abiotic transformations of contaminants in groundwater, including those in transition zones such as the capillary fringe and deep vadose zone. While some of these abiotic transformation pathways have been studied in detail, their quantifiable impact on contaminant attenuation is still not clear, and it is also not clear whether these transformations can be effectively manipulated or enhanced in situ. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to develop and demonstrate methods to measure these processes and to enhance the natural attenuation capacity by optimizing abiotic reactions. Specifically, the goal was to address the following objectives:
The projects listed below were selected to address the objectives of this SON. Additional information on individual projects can be found by clicking the project title.
Research in this area should lead to improved conceptual site models, by accounting for both biotic and abiotic attenuation processes, thereby providing better and more cost-effective protection of human health and the environment. Further, low-cost enhancements to ongoing natural attenuation processes may allow greater use of passive site management. Such enhancements would typically have low capital costs, minimal ongoing operational and monitoring costs, and be capable of providing long-term protection over large areas if necessary. The information developed under this SON is needed to: (1) obtain regulatory and other stakeholder concurrence that natural or enhanced attenuation is a viable, protective long-term remedial option; (2) support cost-benefit analyses of different methods for enhancing attenuation at a given site, if needed; and (3) account for fortuitous natural or enhanced attenuation abiotic processes.