Characterization and Monitoring Technologies for Cleaning Up Contaminated Sites
Our technology guides collect information about many types of technologies used to characterize and/or monitor a site before, during or after remediation work. Current initiatives related to site cleanup, websites maintained by EPA and other federal agencies and state organizations, and recent documents are also included on this page.
On this page:
- Technology Selection Tools
- General Technology Resources
- Technical Support Resources
- Email Newsletters
- Clean Up Information Network (CLU-IN)
Technology Selection Tools
This document was prepared for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. EPA. It is intended to provide comparative screening information on analytical and sampling technologies. The goal of the matrix is to ensure that project managers and site stakeholders are aware of the full-range of technology options available to them to assess and characterize contamination at their sites.
Published in 2015, this document, with an on-line presence, synthesizes the knowledge of DNAPL site characterization and remediation acquired over the past several decades, and provides guidance on simultaneous characterization of contaminant distributions, hydrogeology, and attenuation processes.
A summary of research on tools available to reduce the costs of long term groundwater monitoring, focusing on three types of passive samplers, including advantages, disadvantages and performance information.
The Tool Selection Worksheet offers a rapid method of identifying the appropriate tools and information for collecting geologic, hydrologic, and chemical data. An interactive approach to evaluate over 100 investigation tools that can be used to collect the data needed to satisfy the data collection objectives.
A spreadsheet-based to identify methods for use at fractured-rock sites, based on project goals and site description. It includes 30 surface, cross-hole, and borehole geophysical methods.
This resource is intended for use by practitioners who wish to determine the value of including electrical resistivity imaging to achieve project goals, and is designed to have broad utility in industry, teaching, and research.
General Technology Resources
The High-Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC) Focus Area reflects the state-of-the-science for environmental site characterization. HRSC strategies and technologies use scale-appropriate measurement and data density to delineate contaminant distributions in environmental media with greater certainty, supporting faster and more effective remedy selection, design and implementation. This website provides a description of the general concepts and benefits of HRSC and offers resources including case studies for sites where HRSC has been applied, information on practitioner forums, information on available training, and instructions on accessing available support for understanding and applying HRSC.
The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) is the Department of Defense's (DoD) environmental science and technology development program, planned and executed in full partnership with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with participation by numerous other federal and non-federal organizations. Many of SERDP's projects support improvements in investigating and cleaning up contaminated sites. The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) is SERDP's sister program, which supports demonstration and validation of innovative, cost-effective environmental technologies.
Cal/EPA's certification program is a voluntary program that provides participating technology developers, manufacturers, and vendors an independent, recognized third-party evaluation of the performance of new and mature environmental technologies. Developers and manufacturers define quantitative performance claims for their technologies and provide supporting documentation; Cal/EPA reviews that information and, where necessary, conducts additional testing to verify the claims. The technologies, equipment, and products that are proven to work as claimed receive official state certification. The certification program is voluntary and self-supporting. Companies participating in the program pay the costs of evaluating and certifying their technologies.
The Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste: Physical/Chemical Methods Compendium, also known as SW-846 or the Compendium, is EPA's official collection of methods for use in complying with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. SW-846 is organized into chapters providing guidance on how to use the methods and groups of methods, called "series", which are organized by topic. The methods and chapters change over time as updates are published to keep up with evolving analytical and measurement needs. In addition to the methods that are in the official SW-846 compendium, EPA has validated methods. These methods are tested and validated by laboratories and go through extensive review, but they have not been incorporated into SW-846 through the Federal Register process. EPA encourages using the validated methods, if possible, for the most current version of a method.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the use of best management practices (BMPs) as a mechanism for maximizing technical effectiveness and resource efficiency in the execution of site assessment and cleanup projects. This fact sheet is the first in a series of documents that address conceptual site models (CSMs). This fact sheet summarizes how environmental practitioners can use CSMs to achieve, communicate, and maintain stakeholder consensus on site understanding, while satisfying the technical and quality objectives required for each stage of a cleanup project's life cycle. The focus is on defining stages and products of CSMs along with potential applications of CSMs at various stages of a project life cycle. Content herein is presented in a Superfund Program context; however, to the extent practical, text has been written to maximize applicability in other programs and regulatory frameworks. Other agencies and programs may find these concepts useful and environmental cleanup practitioners are encouraged to explore the utility and integration of a project life cycle CSM within their own program requirements and deliverable schedules.
Incremental sampling methodology (ISM) is a structured composite sampling and processing protocol for soils that provides representative samples of specific soil volumes by collecting numerous increments of soil that are combined, processed and subsampled according to specific protocols. ISM reduces data variability and improves the reliability and defensibility of sampling data.
A project is funded by ESTCP as part of their technology transfer program to develop a resource that maintains the most up-to-date information about environmental restoration technologies. Articles are written by invited experts, edited by leaders in this field, and aim to introduce and summarize current knowledge to environmental project professionals on topics using cross-linked references to reports and technical literature.
The Triad approach to decision-making for hazardous waste sites offers a technically defensible methodology for managing decision uncertainty that leverages innovative characterization tools and strategies. The Triad refers to three primary components, systematic planning, dynamic work strategies, and real-time measurement systems. If you are unfamiliar with the Triad, follow the links to learn more about what makes the Triad different from traditional approaches, key Triad concepts, requirements for successfully implementing a Triad approach, and the benefits one can expect from implementing the Triad.
Technical Support Resources
The Superfund Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) provides analytical services to EPA, the Army Corp of Engineers as well as state, local and Tribal agencies to support Superfund, Brownfields, and other EPA programs. The analytical services section provides guidelines and information about analytical methods available from the CLP on inorganics, organics and low concentration, and non-routine analyses.
EPA's Environmental Response Team (ERT) provides EPA regional and headquarters offices, federal, state and local agencies, and foreign governments with experienced technical and logistical assistance in responding to environmental emergencies, such as oil or hazardous materials spills. ERT also provides assistance in the characterization and cleanup of hazardous waste sites. The (ERT) website offers an array of products to assist environmental practitioners both in the field and in the office. They offer immediate download of items such as software packages, guidance related to a wide variety of environmental sampling procedures, analytical and quality assurance standard operating procedures (SOPs), fact sheets, and bulletins.
The Superfund Technical Support and Resource Centers host information or links to Superfund program research needs, Office of Research and Development research plans and results for Superfund, and sources of technical support for Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action program staff.
EPA established the Technical Support Project (TSP) in 1987 to provide technical assistance to regional Remedial Project Managers (RPMs), Corrective Action Staff, and On-Scene Coordinators. The TSP consists of a network of regional forums and specialized technical support centers located EPA laboratories, and the Environmental Response Team. The objectives of the TSP are to share information and best practices with other EPA programs and other federal agencies.
TechDirect is an information service that highlights new publications and events of interest to site remediation and site assessment professionals. At the beginning of every month, the service, via e-mail, will distribute a message describing the availability of publications and events. For publications, the message will explain how to obtain a hard copy or how to download an electronic version.
The Technology Innovation News Survey contains market/commercialization information; reports on demonstrations, feasibility studies and research; and other news relevant to the hazardous waste community interested in technology development. This report is updated each month.
Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) contains summaries of procurement and contract award notices issued the previous week that pertain to hazardous waste, solid waste, underground storage tank remediation, and other environmental topics. However, it does not necessarily contain EVERY notice on these topics. Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) is published weekly.
Clean Up Information Network (CLU-IN)
A wealth of information is available on characterization, monitoring, and remediation technologies. EPA developed the Contaminated Site Clean-Up Information (CLU-IN) website to provide useful and comprehensive information about innovative treatment and site characterization technologies and to serve as a forum for the contaminated site remediation community. Visit CLU-IN for more information.