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Sustainability: A new imperative in contaminated land remediation

Hou, D and Al-Tabbaa, A (2014) Sustainability: A new imperative in contaminated land remediation. Environmental Science and Policy, 39. pp. 25-34. ISSN 1462-9011

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Land is not only a critical component of the earth's life support system, but also a precious resource and an important factor of production in economic systems. However, historical industrial operations have resulted in large areas of contaminated land that are only slowly being remediated. In recent years, sustainability has drawn increasing attention in the environmental remediation field. In Europe, there has been a movement towards sustainable land management; and in the US, there is an urge for green remediation. Based on a questionnaire survey and a review of existing theories and empirical evidence, this paper suggests the expanding emphasis on sustainable remediation is driven by three general factors: (1) increased recognition of secondary environmental impacts (e.g., life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, energy consumption, and waste production) from remediation operations, (2) stakeholders' demand for economically sustainable brownfield remediation and "green" practices, and (3) institutional pressures (e.g., social norm and public policy) that promote sustainable practices (e.g., renewable energy, green building, and waste recycling). This paper further argues that the rise of the "sustainable remediation" concept represents a critical intervention point from where the remediation field will be reshaped and new norms and standards will be established for practitioners to follow in future years. This paper presents a holistic view of sustainability considerations in remediation, and an integrated framework for sustainability assessment and decision making. The paper concludes that "sustainability" is becoming a new imperative in the environmental remediation field, with important implications for regulators, liability owners, consultants, contractors, and technology vendors. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div D > Geotechnical and Environmental
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:17
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2021 23:01
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2014.02.003