Risk management and decision making in remediation option selection
S. Colombano, C. Merly and H. Gaboriau

The overall objective of EURODEMO is to accelerate market confidence in, and acceptance of, soil and groundwater remediation technologies, by means of demonstration projects in Europe. In recent years, enormous efforts have been invested in research into and development of promising innovative soil and groundwater technologies. Despite all these efforts, only a very few technologies have received recognition by the market. In practice, conventional technologies such as ‘dig and dump’ still prevail.

Risk management in remediation is the current approach adopted across European Union Member States (CLARINET and NICOLE)1. Risk management is a three-stage process, including:

1. Risk assessment.
2. Selection of remediation options.
3. Implementation of the remediation strategy.

This paper focuses specifically on the second stage, namely the selection of remediation options.

The first part of this paper presents a review of existing practices in Europe in remediation technology selection. It includes analysis of decision-making processes dedicated to technology selection; identification of key actors in the decision-making process; identification and preliminary classification of key decision-making criteria; and identification of decision-support tools (DSTs). The review enables a better understanding to be gained of the processes which currently lead to the selection of remediation options, and to the identification of barriers to the implementation of innovative technologies, which is a key step towards the definition of best practice in decision making in the field of contaminated land management.

Further to the outcomes of the review, the second part of this paper proposes best practice in decision making for technology selection. In this context, a basic (i.e. non-comprehensive) procedure for technology selection is developed, based on key parameters and steps to be considered in the decision-making process. This basic procedure offers some flexibility, as it can be adapted and implemented by EU members with respect to their specific national or local conditions.

Key words: decision making, decision-support tools, remediation options, selection of remediation

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 17 (3-4), 345-353 (2009)

DOI 10.2462/09670513.946

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Article code 946