A prior blog post and Pepper Hamilton LLP Client Alert discussed the issuance of a new report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) titled " Alternatives for Managing the Nation's Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites." On Wednesday, December 12 at 1:00 p.m. EST the NAS will hold a free public webinar to explore the findings and conclusions of that report.
One of the primary findings of the NAS report is that the effectiveness of groundwater remediation at an estimated 12,000 or more complex contaminated groundwater sites is likely to reach a point of diminishing returns (e.g., the reduction in chemical concentrations in groundwater levels off, but the costs remain significant) at a level above drinking water standards. The NAS recommended that when this occurs, the site should be transitioned to monitored natural attenuation (MNA), other passive or active long-term management, or in certain circumstances where legally permissible, a new remedy be implemented, based on a formal, transparent evaluation using existing remedy selection criteria. The report recommends that the risk from vapor intrusion from groundwater plumes be addressed, sustainability be incorporated into the remedy selection process (where legally permissible), the risk assessment process and five-year reviews be improved, and a comprehensive national groundwater research plan be established by the federal government.
During the webinar, Michael Kavanaugh, chair of the NAS report-authoring committee, will present the report's findings. Pepper attorney William J. Walsh, along with other committee members, will answer questions from members of the public.
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