In the past decade, officials responsible for clean-up of contaminated groundwater have increasingly turned to natural attenuation-essentially allowing naturally occurring processes to reduce the toxic potential of contaminants-versus engineered solutions. This saves both money and headaches. To the people in surrounding communities, though, it can appear that clean-up officials are simply walking away from contaminated sites.
When is natural attenuation the appropriate approach to a clean-up? This book presents the consensus of a diverse committee, informed by the views of researchers, regulators, and community activists. The committee reviews the likely effectiveness of natural attenuation with different classes of contaminants-and describes how to evaluate the "footprints" of natural attenuation at a site to determine whether natural processes will provide adequate clean-up. Included are recommendations for regulatory change.
The committee emphasizes the importance of the public's belief and attitudes toward remediation and provides guidance on involving community stakeholders throughout the clean-up process.
The book explores how contamination occurs, explaining concepts and terms, and includes case studies from the Hanford nuclear site, military bases, as well as other sites. It provides historical background and important data on clean-up processes and goes on to offer critical reviews of 14 published protocols for evaluating natural attenuation.
National Research Council. Natural Attenuation for Groundwater Remediation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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