Environmental Remediation Technology

RT-048 Topic Summary
RT 048


This is CII’s initial research on environmental remediation by investigating reasons for the growth in cost and schedule of remediation projects and identified methods and procedures to control these cost and schedule issues.

The research concluded that: (1) remediation projects differ fundamentally from conventional construction projects because of uncertainties in site characterization, clean-up technology performance, and regulations; and (2) it is the effective management of these factors, rather than technological advances, that can result in the largest cost savings in the near term.

Regulatory factors beyond the control of owner management affect the scope of remediation projects. Early planning, consistent with regulatory requirements, is essential to guide the project outcome. In addition, contingency requirements are typically higher for remediation projects. Management of public participation is also a key factor for remediation projects and must be included in the overall project plan.

Consideration of environmental implications associated with both soil and groundwater contamination is an increasingly important part of project management. Environmental remediation efforts must be driven by the owner, and a high level of owner involvement results in overall positive impacts on the projects. 

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Environmental Remediation Management 8 Step Process

This 8 step process provide a “roadmap” through the remediation process, along with the insights gleaned from the collective experience of the members of the CII Environmental Remediation Technology Research Team. Each step identifies key issues for management consideration. These steps are listed below and details are provided in the research. This environmental remediation process can be applied to any regulatory jurisdiction. (RS48-1, p. 2)

Step 1 - Problem Identification

Step 2 - Preliminary Remediation Planning

Step 3 - Site Characterization/Risk Assessment 

Step 4 - Feasibility Study and Remedy Selection 

Step 5 - Final Site Remediation Plan 

Step 6 - Remedial Design Process 

Step 7 - Remedial Construction Process 

Step 8 - Post Remedial Construction Activities 

Reference: (RS48-1)

2 : Influence of Potential Soil Contamination on Construction Projects

Improper management of soil and water contamination issues can cause disproportionate project delays and cost growth. Project planning must consider the possibility of encountering contaminated soil or water. This research highlights ‘things to consider’ as part of the planning process that limits the impact of environmental site conditions on the project. The planning process will assist the management team in asking the right questions and knowing what to do with the answers. A few examples are listed below, while the research material includes the detailed research findings. (RS48-1, p. 6)

  • Include contingency planning in the project schedule … plan for the unexpected
  • Incorporate response and reporting procedures in the contractor’s scope of work
  • Understand alternatives for handling and disposal of contaminated soil
  • Be aware of cost and risk issues

The planning process includes specific planning suggestions for both:

  • Soil contamination - consider the type of soil, where it can go, and cost to dispose (reference figure below)
  • Groundwater contamination - can add significant expense to your project; avoid groundwater where possible
Reference: (RS48-1)

3 : Owner/Designer/Contractor Relationships

The unusual features of contaminated site remediation projects suggest that non-traditional or innovative management and contracting strategies may be beneficial. This research indicates that Turnkey and Design/Construct management structures are the most effective for remediation projects. (RS48-1, p. 9)
Reference: (RS48-1)

4 : Implementation Tool #1

IR48-2, Environmental Remediation Management: An Eight-Step Process

Identifies the critical steps that should be followed in the remediation process, and the key management issues and actions that should be taken at each step to achieve the goals of the remediation project. Each of the 8 steps includes key management issues, activities, and concepts needed for that step.
Reference: (IR48-2)

5 : Implementation Tool #2

SP48-3, Influence of Potential Soil Contamination on Construction Projects

Provides highlights of a planning process for soil and groundwater contamination that limits the impact of environmental site conditions on the project. This tool includes two key appendices:

  • Appendix A – Procedures for the collection of site environmental information (SP48-3, p. 21)
  • Appendix B – Good environmental practice criteria for construction projects (SP48-3, p. 27)
Reference: (SP48-3)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule

Research Publications

Environmental Remediation Management: An Eight-Step Process - IR48-2

Publication Date: 11/1995 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 118 Status: Tool

Environmental Remediation - RS48-1

Publication Date: 10/1995 Type: Research Summary Pages: 18 Status: Supporting Product

Influence of Potential Soil Contamination on Construction Projects - SP48-3

Publication Date: 12/1994 Type: Special Publication Pages: 88 Status: Tool

Evaluation of Owner-Contractor Relationships in Contaminated Site Remediation Projects - SD-106

Publication Date: 02/1994 Type: Source Document Pages: 151 Status: Reference

Supporting Resources

Education Materials

Environmental Remediation Management: An Eight-Step Process - Instructor's Guide - EM48-21

Publication Date: 08/1997 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product

Environmental Remediation Management: An Eight-Step Process - Participant Handbook - EM48-21A

Publication Date: 08/1997 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product