Application of Field-Based Characterization Tools in the Waterfront Voluntary Setting



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United States Environmental Protection Agency Technology Innovation Office


Voluntary action to redevelop potentially contaminated property operates under vastly different market constraints than mandated corrective action programs. Pressures exist that impact the time scale, cost/benefit ratio, priorities, and resources that allow the action to transpire. Non-market pressures, usually in the form of regulation, also affect decisions over the course of redevelopment. Together, these forces also determine the technologies and methods used to characterize the property, as well as the media sampled. The waterfront voluntary setting provides added value to property owners, potentially providing a greater incentive to sink costs and invest in field portable technologies to characterize contaminated sites. Previous case studies have shown that such tools are not only faster, but more cost effective in the long run, despite a high initial sticker price. However, while the information barrier concerning field-based soil assessment technologies continues to decline, and their application increases, assessment of common property resources, particularly aquatic sediment, remains infrequent without a clear cost recovery mechanism. This report will investigate the reasons behind that and detail the current level of field-based characterization tool application at 115 waterfront brownfield and Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) sites.


67 pages; available for download at the link below.


assessment, remediation, hazardous waste site remediation, environmental protection