Sustainability appraisal tools for soil and groundwater remediation : how is the choice of remediation alternative influenced by different sets of sustainability indicators and tool structures?
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam
, p. 954-966
University of Antwerp
The state-of-the-science in sustainability assessment of soil and groundwater remediation is evaluated with the application of four decision support systems (DSSs) to a large-scale brownfield revitalization case study. The DSSs were used to perform sustainability appraisals of four technically feasible remediation alternatives proposed for the site. The first stage of the review compares the scope of each tool's sustainability indicators, how these indicators are measured and how the tools differ in terms of standardization and weighting procedures. The second stage of the review compares the outputs from the tools and determines the key factors that result in differing results between tools. The evaluation of indicator sets and tool structures explains why the tools generate differing results. Not all crucial impact areas, as identified by sustainable remediation forums, are thoroughly considered by the tools, particularly with regard to the social and economic aspects of sustainability. Variations in boundary conditions defined between technologies, produce distorted environmental impact results, especially when in-situ and ex-situ technologies are compared. The review draws attention to the need for end users to be aware of which aspects of sustainability are considered, how the aspects are measured and how all aspects are ultimately balanced in the evaluation of potential remediation strategies. Existing tools can be improved by considering different technologies within the same boundary conditions and by expanding indicator sets to include indicators deemed to be relevant by remediation forums. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.