The Department of Defense is responsible for remediating and protecting the groundwater associated with military installations. Impacted groundwater is the largest liability in the Defense Environmental Restoration Program. In many cases, past usage and disposal techniques have allowed various organic contaminants to infiltrate groundwater resources. Chemicals used at the ground surface, over time, migrate into groundwater. Once there, it is difficult to measure and remove those chemicals.

Research has identified thousands of military sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents, energetic materials, perchlorate, and other hazardous compounds. All such sites require characterization, remediation and monitoring. SERDP and ESTCP efforts are leading to improved cleanup practices and reduced life-cycle costs.

Since their inception, SERDP and ESTCP have funded research and demonstrations for treatment of contaminated groundwater. Early efforts focused on the development of new technologies for treating contaminated groundwater. Many of these technologies are now used throughout DoD.