Demonstration projects were sought for tools, methodologies, or technologies that can reduce the cost of managing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) long term liability associated with contaminated groundwater. Groundwater contaminants of concern included chlorinated solvents, energetic compounds, emerging contaminants of interest to DoD, or mixtures of these contaminants. The primary focus of this topic area was innovative technologies and approaches for managing sites and the associated risks where contamination will persist for a significant period of time after an initial remedy is selected. The following areas were of interest:
The DoD’s Installation Restoration Program has set goals to achieve Response Complete (RC) at 95% of Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites at active installations, and IRP sites at Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) by the end of FY 2021. The Cost to Complete (CTC) at these sites was calculated at $12.8 billion in FY 2010. Of these sites, groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents is often the most intractable problem. Substantial progress has been made in the past 20 years in the development of technologies for remediation of contaminated groundwater; however, challenges remain. Remedial costs are particularly high at sites where (1) contamination is extensive, but concentrations are low, (2) DNAPL is present in the subsurface, (3) site hydrogeology is complex (e.g., fractured bedrock), or (4) site conditions require extensive long-term monitoring. The National Research Council study, “Alternatives for Managing the Nation‘s Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites” reviews and highlights the technical challenges DoD faces in managing these sites.
In August 2013, the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and ESTCP co-sponsored a workshop on long term management of contaminated groundwater sites. This workshop identified high priority research topics related to more efficiently dealing with the long term management and lengthy restoration of complex sites and to identifying options for achieving restoration goals more efficiently over longer periods of time. A more detailed description of these issues can be found in the report from the workshop. Proposers are strongly encouraged to review the workshop report for additional detail.
Technologies and methods are sought that have well-defined demonstration/validation questions to address. Proposed technologies should have completed all required laboratory work, although site-specific treatability work prior to the field demonstration is acceptable. Demonstrations should address technical and/or regulatory issues that inhibit the widespread use of the proposed approach across DoD. ESTCP supports demonstrations at a scale sufficient to determine the operational performance of the remediation technology and to estimate its expected full-scale costs. Full-scale cleanup of specific sites is not performed under ESTCP. Specific DoD demonstration site(s) may be suggested in the pre-proposal, but are not required.
ESTCP has supported the demonstration of a number of technologies designed for protection and remediation of contaminated groundwater. Proposers should be familiar with the ESTCP portfolio of technologies and tools in order to avoid duplication of previous efforts.