July 25-26, 2012Seattle, WA

Background: The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) are the Department of Defense's (DoD) environmental research programs, harnessing the latest science and technology to improve DoD’s environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities. They fund basic and applied research as well as field demonstration and validation efforts. For additional information, refer to www.serdp-estcp.org.

Sediment contamination remains a significant liability for DoD. In particular, the Navy has 500 sediment sites, with an estimated cost-to-complete of over $800M. Contaminants at these sites include a wide variety of compounds; polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, various metals and metalloids, and military-unique compounds such as munitions constituents. Most of these contaminants tend to sorb and remain in the sediment long-term, resulting in a persistent contamination source to environmental receptors. Environmental restoration and closure of these contaminated sites is a top DoD priority.

Since 1996, SERDP and ESTCP have supported research and demonstration strategies for sediment characterization, site restoration and long-term monitoring to support DoD restoration goals. In 2004, the Programs recognized the need to hold strategic planning sessions to identify and prioritize research needs that could have the greatest impact on sediment site restoration. An Expert Panel workshop was held in 2004[1] that resulted in a five-year plan that identified high priority needs for research and development. The objectives of the first workshop have largely been achieved, with successful projects including new tools for characterizing in-place contamination (e.g., the UltraSeep®), a guidance document for monitored natural recovery, and demonstrations of in situ amendment remedial alternatives that sequester contaminants (e.g., activated carbon). A second planning workshop was held in 2008[2] to determine what work was needed to facilitate regulatory acceptance and field implementation of sediment and soil bioavailability concepts to support risk assessments at DoD sites. Demonstrated bioavailability tools that were developed from the direction of the 2008 workshop included the demonstration of in situ tools (eg., SPME, POM, polyethylene) for measuring bioavailability of PAHs, PCBs and metals and relating those to uptake and biological effects.

A new planning process is needed to address changing DoD sediment site management priorities. In achieving site closure, these sites will be completing feasibility studies, designing and implementing remedies, or be engaged in the long-term monitoring of the success of those implemented alternatives. Any new investigation work will largely be associated with identifying recontamination sources within the local and regional watersheds, and with emerging contaminants.

Objective: SERDP and ESTCP will host a workshop on investment strategies over the next five years to optimize research and demonstration projects that support DoD’s long-term management of contaminated sediments. The objective of this workshop is to summarize the state of work conducted by the Programs to date, review where DoD facilities are in their long-term management implementation of contaminated sediments, and learn directly from the Remedial Program Managers (RPM) what specific tools, demonstration, or information transfer needs they have that will facilitate both long-term management decision making and long-term monitoring of these sites. To that end, this workshop will (1) examine the current state of the science and technology for the long-term management of contaminated sediment sites, (2) review the current and projected future status of DoD long-term management activities, (3) identify data gaps that, if addressed, could aid in the long-term management of contaminated sediments, and (4) prioritize research and demonstration opportunities to help facilitate regulatory and public acceptance of long-term management strategies for contaminated sediment sites.

Approach: Scheduled for July 25-26, 2012 in Seattle, WA, the 2-day workshop will consist of a limited number of formal presentations describing the scope of the problem and directed discussions on the state of the science, followed by sessions focused on determining data gaps. Prior to the workshop, participants will be asked to submit a list of key issues and high-priority research and demonstration needs that, if addressed, can reduce or eliminate the barriers and limitations to achieving remedy decisions, implementing emergent remedial technologies, regulatory acceptance of the current technologies, and long-term remedial monitoring tools and strategies.

Products: This meeting will provide (1) a critical review of the state of the science and technology for the treatment and management of contaminated sediments and (2) a summary and prioritization of the remaining uncertainties that will benefit in future research and demonstration opportunities. Findings will be summarized in a final report that will serve as a strategic plan to guide future SERDP and ESTCP investments.

[1] The final report of the 2004 workshop may be viewed at: http://www.serdp.org/content/download/8240/101236/version/1/file/SedimentsWorkshopReport-2004.pdf

[2] The final report of the 2008 workshop may be viewed at: http://www.serdp.org/content/download/8236/101212/version/1/file/Bioavailability_Wkshp_Nov_2008.pdf