The Observational Approach in Environmental Restoration

by J. D. Smyth, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,
R. D. Quinn, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has committed to completing environmental restoration of its facilities within the next 28 years (DOE 1990). To achieve this, DOE must ensure that its restoration activities are both effective and efficient. A key aspect of fulfilling this commitment is recognition and management of the uncertainty that is inherent in waste-site cleanup actions. The DOE Office of Environmental Restoration (DOE-ER) requested Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) to investigate the applicability and implementation of what is known as the 'observational approach' to address these issues. PNL's initial investigation resulted in the positive conclusion that the observational approach could potentially benefit DOE's environmental restoration. In a follow-on effort, PNL, supported by CH2M HILL, has been providing guidance to DOE field offices on observational approach fundamentals, implementation, and application to waste-site remediation. This paper outlines the fundamentals of the observational approach and discusses the progress that has been made in integrating the observational approach in DOE's environmental restoration efforts.

Subject Headings: Ecological restoration | Waste management | Federal government | Waste sites | Mitigation and remediation | Waste treatment | Waste disposal

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