Table 5-1 Use of Innovative Technologies at DOE Sites Regulated Under CERCLA

Contaminated Medium

Total Number of Sites

Number with Conventional Remedy

Other Remedies




1 natural attenuation




1 institutional controls only




4 soil vapor extractions




1 excavation with ex situ solidification or stabilization




1 cover with clean soil


SOURCE: EPA, 1997.


The DOE's Office of Science and Technology (OST), under which the SCFA operates, has been criticized for failing to organize a research program that leads to significant applications of innovative remediation technologies. However, DOE is not alone in its limited application of innovative remediation technologies. In the cleanup of contaminated groundwater and soil at privately owned CERCLA sites, for example, application of innovative technologies historically has been limited. According to EPA data, innovative remedies had been selected for contaminated groundwater at only 6 percent of all CERCLA sites as of 1995 (EPA, 1996). Innovative technologies other than SVE had been selected for only 26 percent of all soil cleanup under CERCLA (EPA, 1996). DOE's historical problems in deploying innovative remediation technologies thus have parallels in other sectors.

Lack of Demand

A recent National Research Council (NRC, 1997a) study of innovative remediation technologies in the private sector concluded that lack of customer demand was the primary obstacle to more rapid technology development. The NRC attributed this lack of demand to insufficient incentives for the prompt cleanup of contaminated sites. The NRC report concluded, ''A major failing of national policy in creating a healthy market for environmental remediation technologies is the lack of sufficient

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