U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Reducing Cost Risk in Remedial Action Budgets Using Supplemental Analyses

Sponsored by: Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Denver Post, SAME Philadelphia Post, and US EPA

Archived: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
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The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Denver Post and Philadelphia Post along with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are hosting a series of webinars based on talks given at recent Design and Construction Issues at Hazardous Waste Sites (DCHWS) Symposiums. The mission of the DCHWS symposiums is to facilitate an interactive engagement between professionals from government and the private sector related to relevant and topical issues affecting applications of engineering and science associated with cleaning up hazardous waste sites. The symposiums also serve as a platform to facilitate the exchange of information, encourage dialogue, share experiences, and build and enhance communication among design and construction professionals.

The topic for our prior DCHWS West presentation was reducing cost risk in remedial action budgets using supplemental cost estimating analyses. As discussed during the presentation, the cost estimates for selected remedies in Records of Decision (RODs) that are used for remedial action budgeting often use simplified information (such as scope of work activities and related quantities) as opposed to remedial action (RA) construction cost estimates developed during remedial design. Remedial action budgets developed from the ROD selected remedy cost estimates have inherent limitations due to the use of the estimate (i.e. selecting a remedy through comparisons of alternatives). Due to differing stakeholder perspectives and potential overreliance on the selected remedy cost estimates developed during the ROD, there can be confusion about why the RA cost estimate prepared during Remedial Design is different than the cost estimate in the ROD. Differences between the selected remedy cost estimate in the ROD and the RA cost estimate can lead to difficulties with project execution including the need to request additional funding and/or schedule delays. Based on prior CERCLA project experiences, CDM Smith has developed tools consistent with cost estimating industry standards and EPA guidance that can be used to communicate the reasons for these differences in estimates including Basis of Estimate documents and ROD cost comparison tables. The additional information will focus on case studies and lessons learned from CERCLA projects that led to the development of these tools and explain how they help show the actual differences in remedy scope and related costs as the level of project definition increases during remedial design, for example why cost items that at first glance appear to be similar ("apples to apples") could actually differ ("apples and oranges").

Upcoming Design and Construction Issues at Hazardous Waste Sites (DCHWS) Series Webinars

Design and Construction Issues at Hazardous Waste Sites (DCHWS) Series Archives

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A photograph of Gary HazenGary Hazen, CDM Smith
Gary L. Hazen is a principal environmental engineer at CDM Smith with 25 years of professional experience in remediation of hazardous waste sites and cost estimation supporting remediation. Mr. Hazen is the current President of the Kansas City Section of the Association for Advancement of Cost Engineering International.

A photograph of Abhay SonawaneAbhay Sonawane, CDM Smith
Abhay I. Sonawane is a civil engineer at CDM Smith with 15 years of professional experience in remediation of hazardous waste sites and cost estimation supporting remediation, civil construction, as well as military construction (MILCON) type projects.


A photograph of Jean BalentJean Balent, U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division ( or 202-566-0832)
Ms Balent is on the staff of the EPA's Technology Innovation and Field Services Division where she has worked to collect and disseminate hazardous waste remediation and characterization information since 2003. Ms Balent manages the Clean Up Information Network website and actively supports online communication and collaboration resources available to EPA. She formerly worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Engineering Division in the Buffalo District. Ms Balent was also a member of the SUNY-Buffalo Groundwater Research Group where she constructed and tested large scale models of groundwater flow. Ms Balent has also conducted research relating to the Great Lakes, environmental remediation, and brownfields re-development. She holds a Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from SUNY-Buffalo and a Master's degree in Information Technology from AIU.

Webinar Slides and References:

Additional Resources:

  • These materials will be available by Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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If you have a suggested topic or idea for a future CLU-IN internet seminar, please contact:

Jean Balent
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0832 | Email:
Michael Adam
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0875 | Email: