For more information on Optimization, please contact:
Technology Integration and Information Branch
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Optimizing Site Cleanups
National Strategy to Expand Superfund Optimization Practices from Site Assessment to Site Completion
- For more information about the National Optimization Strategy, visit the Strategy web page.
Remediation Optimization: Definition, Scope and Approach
This document provides a general definition, scope and approach for conducting optimization reviews within the Superfund Program and other remedial programs or regulatory frameworks.
This report provides analysis of progress toward implementation of the site-specific independent optimization review recommendations at Superfund sites. This summary report describes implementation of optimization recommendations during calendar years 2010 and 2011.
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This web page is a resource for the EPA’s National Strategy to Expand Superfund Optimization Practices from Site Assessment to Site Completion (National Optimization Strategy). It provides information on the EPA’s National Optimization Strategy, as well as technical resources for those seeking to implement optimization reviews and processes for their cleanup sites.
- Investigation Stage: Applies to any part of the remedial process before the remedy is selected, and is also appropriate when revisiting investigation and the CSM. Optimization during site assessment and remedial investigation (RI) focuses on developing an improved conceptual site model (CSM) to facilitate identification of data gaps as the basis for recommending effective sampling and analysis strategies and technologies. Investigation stage activities focus on increasing data density, usability and reliability; minimizing project costs through reduced mobilizations and report generation; CSM development; and supporting the evaluation and selection of remedial alternatives. Click to learn more.
- Design Stage: Optimization during pre-design, design or redesign evaluates the selected remedy prior to implementation and operation. It considers the goals of the remedy, the conceptual site model (CSM), available site data, performance considerations, protectiveness, cost-effectiveness and site closure strategy and suggest possible efficiencies in the remedial action implementation. Click to learn more.
- Remedy Stage: Optimization during remedy implementation (Remedial Action [RA] and Long-term Response Action [LTRA] in the Superfund Program) uses existing data to update the conceptual site model (CSM), compares actual remedy performance to design expectations and optimizes performance monitoring programs. Recommendations are provided to improve protectiveness, reduce cost, suggest exit strategies and facilitate site closure. Click to learn more.
- LTMO Stage: Long-term monitoring optimization (LTMO) (Remedial Action, Long-term Response Action [LTRA] and Operations and Maintenance [O&M] in the Superfund Program) involves comparing actual remedy performance to design expectations and or the optimization of performance monitoring programs. Recommendations are provided to improve protectiveness, reduce cost and facilitate site closure. Click to learn more.
- During a remedy stage optimization review, all aspects of remedy implementation and operation are evaluated in the context of remedial goals, technical performance and costs. In addition, optimization reviews focus on specific remedy components, equipment and processes, and their associated resource efficiency. From the assessment, potential issues and solutions, as well as possible cost-saving alternatives, are identified. Click to learn more.
- A site exit strategy is a formal plan for guiding a site from characterization through remediation to closure or reuse. An effectively designed exit strategy supports active decision-making throughout the remediation process to maximize the opportunities to optimize remediation and monitoring efforts. A comprehensive exit strategy addresses unique and interdependent issues at various levels (including organizational, programmatic, site- and stakeholder-specific, technical and administrative) to demonstrate that performance goals have been achieved, response objectives have been met and remedial activities can be terminated. Click to learn more.
- Monitoring is conducted after an active, passive or containment remedy has been selected and implemented, and it is used to evaluate the degree to which the remedial measure achieves its objectives (such as the removal of groundwater contaminants or the restoration of groundwater quality). Click to learn more.
- A conceptual site model (CSM) is a representation of the interrelationships of key site information that directly supports project and site decision-making based on a comprehensive understanding of the uncertainty associated with the site information. Click to learn more.
- The EPA’s definition of Green Remediation is "The practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to minimize the environmental footprint of cleanup activities." Green Remediation is synonymous with efficiency, which is a core tenet of optimization and green remediation objectives are evaluated during each optimization review. Click to learn more.
- The principles of the Triad Approach include systematic project planning (SPP), dynamic work strategies (DWS) and use of real-time measurement technologies. The goals of the Triad Approach are in alignment with optimization in that Triad supports ensuring protective and cost-effective remedial strategies. Click to learn more.
- Data management refers to the strategy and methods for collecting, processing, synthesizing, evaluating and communicating data. Managing data effectively enables site teams to process and evaluate data to support efficient project and site decision-making. Click to learn more.
- Optimization in the context of the EPA's National Optimization Strategy is defined as:
“Efforts at any phase of the removal or remedial response to identify and implement specific actions that improve the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of that phase. Such actions may also improve the remedy's protectiveness and long-term implementation which may facilitate progress towards site completion. To identify these opportunities, regions may use a systematic site review by a team of independent technical experts, apply techniques or principles from Green Remediation or Triad, or apply other approaches to identify opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness.” Click to learn more.
- The EPA's optimization review process involves an independent team of experts that evaluates information based on a site's stage within the remediation cleanup process. Optimization involves different tasks for sites in different stages of remediation. Click to learn more.
Information and links to key resources about optimization, how reviews are conducted and the key stages and components of reviews.
Training and Events
Dates and locations of upcoming training events related to optimization, as well as presentations from previous EPA training programs.
Federal and State Links
Links to relevant federal and state optimization web resources.
Search and browse recent and archived site-specific reports by the report type or location.
Current resources and tools available for those conducting optimization reviews, including publications, online resources and guidance.
Available support, including eligibility requirements and contact information for EPA regional technical experts.