Sustainability Report 2016

Case Study

Highlights 2016

Leading the way in sustainable remediation

As society seeks to become more sustainable in all facets, our clients have been looking closely at ensuring their processes for managing contaminated sites are robust and meet both regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations.

In this changing context, remediation – the act of mitigating risks and/or treating contamination – needs to take into account a range of economic, environmental and social factors. Through innovative approaches with our clients, we are building a leadership position in the area of “sustainable remediation.”

ERM participates in organizations that are developing sustainable remediation guidance (e.g., the Sustainable Remediation Forum in various countries and the Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe). We contribute at many conferences focused around contaminated site management, and this year ERM specialists presented at SustRem 2016 in Montreal, Canada, and the 2016 Chlorinated Conference in Palm Springs, US, among others.

ERM’s life cycle approach to sustainable remediation includes the use of advanced characterization tools to understand a given site at sufficient resolution to  inform management decisions. Additional techniques can facilitate an understanding of the chemistry and molecular biology of the subsurface and the extent to which contaminants may degrade naturally. With such tools, often visualized using 3D modeling, ERM can develop conceptual site models that map out the presence, concentration and migration of contaminants and their relationship within the detailed geological and hydrogeological setting for the site.

Detailed characterization and understanding have helped many of our clients to make risk-based, sustainability-focused decisions around remediation. A thorough understanding of the extent and behavior of contaminants, as well as the setting in which they exist, can prevent unnecessary or poorly focused and inefficient remediation. Where remediation is necessary, we seek to select and implement solutions that are technically effective and address a wide range of social, environmental and economic factors.

In this way, we are able to support our clients across sectors to achieve environmental, economic and social benefits (e.g., reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing costs and addressing local community concerns), while meeting regulatory guidance and corporate objectives for the protection of human health and the environment.