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SERDP and ESTCP Corner: Headlines from the Environmental Restoration Program Area

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In her first “SERDP and ESTCP Corner” column of 2024 (published in Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation on Feb. 2), Haley & Aldrich Senior Technical Specialist and Environmental Engineer Sarah Mass provides key takeaways from a session at the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Energy and Environment Innovation Symposium, the nation’s largest conference focusing on environmental and energy issues.

The most recent symposium took place from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 in Arlington, Virginia, and featured insights related to the DOD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP). As Sarah reports, the “Groundwater Treatment & Management — Challenges & Progress” session showcased speakers who gave their perspectives on the past, present, and future of groundwater management and treatment options.  

In his session remarks, Sarah’s Haley & Aldrich colleague Murray Einarson (service leader, contaminated site management) examined the “paradigm shift” in contaminant hydrogeology, suggesting that mass discharge, rather than concentration levels, may offer a more precise estimation of the environmental impact of contaminants. Murray also discussed the technical and regulatory evolution of site characterization — highlighting some paradoxes — and stressed the need for both groundwater professionals and regulators to reconsider regulatory metrics to better address complex contamination patterns. 

Sarah also summarizes session remarks from Dr. Jerald Schnoor of the University of Iowa and Lila Beckley of GSI Environmental. Dr. Schnoor advocated for using phytoremediation, especially in managing threats like 1,4-dioxane, while Beckley highlighted the need for new web tools to aid in the analysis and visualization of environmental data.  

Sarah notes that 2023’s symposium saw record attendance, indicating a growing emphasis on environmental restoration and management within the defense sector. 

In this quarterly column, Sarah provides groundwater professionals with research updates from the SERDP and the ESTCP’s Environmental Restoration Program Area. 

To read the entire column and review payment options, visit Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation.