On October 5, 2009, Executive Order (EO) 13514 was signed by President Obama. This EO expands on the energy reductions and environmental performance requirements of Federal Agencies established by EO 13423 signed earlier by President Bush. EO 13514 lays out the several numerical and non numerical targets for Federal Agencies to achieve. Therefore, every aspect of operations, including remediation and restoration should be evaluated for opportunities to meet these targets.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) also promotes the use of innovative cleanup technologies that meet remedial goals and promote environmental stewardship by selecting or optimizing remedial strategies that minimize negative environmental impacts. This methodology has been termed “green remediation” or “sustainable remediation” and State and Federal agencies have been encouraging this design for environment approach at new remediation sites and sustainable remedial process optimization at existing sites.
While sustainable remediation principles have recently grown in popularity nationwide, the experienced staff at BB&E has been applying these principles for years. BB&E has an experienced staff that can identify green and sutainable remediation opportunities while meeting Remedial Objectives (primarily the protection of human health and the environment) by conducting a thorough examination of the six core elements of green and sustainable remediation. These six core elements are: Air; Water; Materials & Waste; Energy; Land & Ecosystems; and Long-Term Stewardship.
A sustainable remediation evaluation can be an excellent tool for optimizing remedial systems to create a more sustainable remedy and capture sustainability metrics in unexpected operations. It is also critical to define the boundaries of the evaluation. These types of assessments often weigh the environmental accounting of one alternative versus another and can create an extensive web of Life Cycle Analysis trails where much effort is spent mining data that may be incomplete. Ultimately the exercise demonstrates that every environmental aspect (activity, product, or service) has an environmental impact to be considered.
Our Sustainable Remediation Evaluations (SREs) have resulted in recommendations that reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 50%. BB&E has recommended the use of innovative cleanup technologies that can achieve remedial goals and promote environmental stewardship, primarily by selecting or optimizing remedial strategies that minimize negative environmental impacts without sacrificing remedial action objectives. Our engineers have cost-effectively driven the sustainable remediation process by setting reasonable boundaries, conducting life cycle cost analyses, and providing multiple options for consideration to improve remedy sustainability and achieve remedial objectives.
The results of BB&E’s SRE have been so well received in the Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC) that BB&E was invited to participate on behalf of the ANG in the beta test of the AFCEC’s Sustainable Remediation Tool (SRT). BB&E was able to successfully provide corroborating analysis back to AFCEC on the output of the SRT during its beta test. Later, BB&E was requested by AFCEC to perform a beta test on its CleanSWEEP software designed to determine the feasibility of integrating renewable resources into remedial systems.