“Effective Site Characterization and Remediation Decision Making: The Value of Information" by Dr. Michael C. Kavanaugh, Dr. David A. Reynolds and Dr. Kevin G. Mumford
Site characterization is a process of reducing uncertainty, with the eventual aim of developing an accurate conceptual site model (CSM) that is appropriate for the remedial objectives of the site. The economic cost of a CSM is highly variable, and little in the way of formal guidance exists on balancing the production of data with the ultimate benefit to achieving remedial goals more cost effectively. A similar lack of guidance exists for understanding which elements of site characterization translate to the highest value data for remediation planning and the prediction of long-term effectiveness of applied remedies. SERDP’s DIVER project (ER-2313) has developed technical guidance on decision making based on applying value of information (VOI) concepts in site characterization and remediation contexts. The VOI concepts are based on assessing detailed field data, empirical evidence gathered from some of the most successful practitioners in the field, highly detailed virtual site investigations, and stochastic approaches to quantifying the value of additional information for three hypothetical chlorinated solvent impacted sites. This project supports DoD’s efforts to develop decision support methodologies that ultimately reduce uncertainty in site characterization and lead to cost-effective and efficient remediation outcomes. This presentation described the VOI methodology and will outline a framework for the optimization of the site characterization process, such that the total cost of investigation, the cost of achieving remedial goals, and the risks of failure of remedial approaches are minimized.
Dr. Michael C. Kavanaugh is a Senior Principal with Geosyntec Consultants in Oakland, California, and Principal Investigator of SERDP Project ER-2313. He is a registered professional engineer in California, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE), a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (2013) and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (1998). He has over 40 years of consulting experience advising private and public sector clients on water quality, water and wastewater treatment, and hazardous waste site remediation projects. Dr. Kavanaugh is also a Consulting Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. David A. Reynolds is a Senior Principal with Geosyntec Consultants in Ontario, Canada with responsibility for Geosyntec’s Australia and New Zealand operations. His current areas of research include value of information in site investigation and long-term management, electrokinetic applications to remediation of low permeability soils, and treatment of dilute saline plumes. Dr. Reynolds has been both an academic and a consultant over his 20 years of practice. He has served as a member of several recent ITRC teams, as Principal Investigator or Technical Leader on five SERDP/ESTCP projects and was a member of the National Research Council (NRC) subcommittee on fractured rock. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and Master’s and doctoral degrees in Environmental Engineering from Queen’s University.
Dr. Kevin G. Mumford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University. His research focuses on the study of multiphase flow in porous media and its application to the remediation of non-aqueous phase liquids in soil and groundwater, with emphasis on the behavior of gases in contaminated groundwater systems including in situ thermal remediation, bubble-facilitated transport, and the numerical simulation of gas migration and mass transfer. Dr. Mumford received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a doctorate in Civil Engineering from McMaster University.