Superfund aims to remediate contaminated sites to render them sufficiently clean for re-use. The types of contamination (e.g., metals, solvents, etc.), degree of contamination, and the type of contaminated media (e.g., soil, groundwater, etc.) differ from site to site. Remedy selection has traditionally been based mainly on these characteristics. The future use of a site, however, may be limited by the chosen remedy; therefore, the future use must also be considered in the remedy selection.
What is the relationship between re-use and remedy? How do the risks, uncertainties, and time frames inherent in remedy selection impact the ultimate re-use of a site?
reveals the nature and extent of contamination that requires remediation
prior to any site re-use. The contaminants may be diverse in their chemical,
physical, and biological character and impacts. The specifics of contaminants
and the levels at which they are present determine the risk attendant
to site re-use. Further, the nature of the media that is contaminated
must be established, because the remediation approach and the subsequent
risk of site re-use also depend on whether the soil or groundwater has
been impacted. A variety of remediation strategies might be
We are investigating
the relationship between reuse and remedy, through the development of
a groundwater flow and solute transport model that will allow us to examine
how uncertainty in monitoring data affects risk and to determine optimal
monitoring methods for successful redevelopment. Simultaneously, we are
creating a method for simulating the development and migration of the
contaminant plume at a specific Superfund site, Emmell septic landfill
in New Jersey. We will then examine various remediation alternatives using
cost as the driver to optimize remediation.
Project lead: Jon Cannon, School of Law
In the initial phase of our research, we examined how perpetual Superfund liability can be managed to support redevelopment. We also evaluated the viability of various management tools such as prospective seller agreements, financing for long-term site management costs, and private trusts to fund monitoring and institutional controls over the long-term.
we expanded our research agenda to focus on the goal of optimization over
time at Superfund sites. We created an analysis of site optimization and
its temporal component-adaptive management-within the legal and policy
framework of the Superfund program. This includes attention to incentives
and disincentives created by existing statutory requirements and agency
policies. We are refining our analysis in conjunction with other Center
faculty to provide a synthesis of the Center's work.
How can site visualization and design assist in re-use? How can information about sites be organized and disseminated to support re-use? How can the remediation process itself be used to re-establish the community's relationship to the site?
This project has produced case study reports on five diverse Superfund sites that are primarily the work of teams of student researchers with extensive input from Center faculty members. The focus of the reports is on the physical characteristics of the sites, planning issues, site histories and regional contexts, but they also consider the nature of the contamination and its implications for remediation alternatives and possible reuses.
We have intensified
our study of one particular site, Central Chemical in Hagerstown, Maryland.
We have developed an extensive body of knowledge about the site and its
context, which we are now using to design reuse alternatives for the Central
Project lead: Frank Dukes, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Site redevelopment requires authentic public involvement and cooperation among diverse interests and institutions, including EPA, state, tribal and local governments, citizens groups, non-governmental advocates, and the private economic sector. We are studying community involvement and collaborative decision-making among these interests and institutions
Key Questions include:
The key project outcome of our assessment will be a written Guide describing best practices for community involvement and collaborative decision-making. This Guide will be informed and legitimized by extensive consultation with all sectors involved in Superfund site redevelopment and by on-the-ground experience at a number of Superfund sites.
Project lead: Bruce Dotson, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning
How do local
and state planning processes and permitting and finance mechanisms impede
or facilitate re-use of sites? How do existing institutions and regulatory policies affect re-use decisions,
and what institutional adjustments might be useful? Have institutional
controls been helpful, or a hindrance for redevelopment? What barriers
in federal policies may inhibit state, tribal and local government, as
well as private sector participation, in Superfund site redevelopment?
We will suggest strategies that non-federal entities might legally pursue
in order to overcome any such barriers.
Potential Impediments include:
Potential Incentives include:
Our key project outcome will be a Guide for state and local governments that will serve as guidance for reviewing current procedures and mechanisms, and suggest ways that improvements can be made.
Our key project outcome will be a holistic model that will assist decision-makers in selecting remedies and reuses for the entire portfolio of Superfund sites around the country. The model will integrate the work of the Center faculty, and will employ a number of techniques from risk analysis including regret minimization and tradeoff studies.
We will identify
and characterize decisions, uncertain inputs, and uncertain outcomes (i.e.)
cost, completion time, and performance) for each of the phases of the
lifecycle of a Superfund site, such as pre-characterization, characterization,
remediation, monitoring and redevelopment. Ultimately, the model will
provide guidance for comparing decision options with respect to uncertain
costs, completion times, and performance across these phases. We intend
also to convey the tradeoffs of short-term investment in site pre-characterization
and characterization versus long-term costs over the remediation/redevelopment
We will conduct sustained involvement in one or more specific sites. This involvement may include charettes and other activities designed to provide a platform for research that will gain insights on how to improve coordination at redevelopment sites and, particularly, what steps state, tribal and local governments can take to strengthen community institutions and encourage cooperative outcomes.
outcomes will include published case studies, including "lessons
learned" and references to other projects' outcomes that would be
transferable to other entities conducting sustained involvement in site
Interdisciplinary investigation of issues surrounding a site or a group or class of sites - including design, science, technology, finance, planning, legal and policy issues. This regularly convened faculty workshop series will review research-in-progress and discuss issues related to this and other agency programs that involve either land re-use or the local application of national standards. We will invite nationally known experts in environmental law and policy and environmental sciences, including present and former agency officials, non-governmental advocates, and regulated community representatives. These seminars will be related to public lectures for University students. We will also host a conference to vet our research among distinguished peers in the field of impaired property redevelopment.
will disseminate the results of its research through research reports.
The Center will conduct research at particular sites and present the results
of that research through case studies that will assist the EPA and communities
facing similar issues.