Remediation Process Optimization

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The RPO Team began its work in 2002 by seeking to partner with remedial process optimization (also known as “remedial system optimization” or “remedial system evaluation”) teams from the military services and other federal agencies. An RPO review is a technical and programmatic assessment of an installation’s cleanup system performance and effectiveness to achieve a timely site closeout. The recommendations made following an RPO visit focus on opportunities to optimize cleanup or long-term monitoring by being risk- and cost-protective. An RPO review looks at all processes affecting cleanup effectiveness: cleanup systems, established cleanup levels, established procedures to verify attainment of cleanup goals, and readiness to support a five-year review or any other part of a regulation-mandated process. Sites where groundwater pump-and-treat systems have been installed are obvious targets for RPO reviews.

During 2002, the RPO Team participated in remedial process optimization reviews at six California Air Force bases: Norton, March, Mather, McClellan, Castle, and George. The recommendations flowing from the reviews are guiding the Air Force in improving cleanup system performance.

The team’s 2004 guidance document includes information from various state and federal agencies and on various types of remediation systems, as well as a lessons learned section specifically focused on the needs of regulators who are beginning optimization programs. In 2006, the team issued a series of five documents addressing life-cycle cost analysis; exit strategies; aboveground treatment technologies; data management, analysis, and visualization techniques; and performance-based management. The team has also developed Internet-based training courses, including one on performance-based environmental management.