, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 454–475 | Cite as

Costs and Benefits of Delaying Remediation on Ecological Resources at Contaminated Sites

  • Joanna BurgerEmail author
Original Contribution


The USA and other nations have massive industrial, radiologic, and chemical legacy wastes on numerous sites, for example from the Cold War and industrial activities. Most of these sites will require remediation (cleanup of contaminants). Prioritization is essential to determine the order of cleanup, leaving some tasks for a later time. This paper examines the potential costs and benefits of delaying remediation on ecological resources on contaminated sites. Aspects to consider include those related to management and planning, source term and pathways, risks and resources, and external drivers (regulations and laws, stakeholders). The US Department of Energy was used as a case study to examine the effects of delaying remediation. The conceptual model and tables provided here can serve as guidance or checklists for site managers.


Ecological resources Delaying remediation Department of energy Metrics 



I thank the members of the CRESP and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for valuable discussions about risk, receptors, pathways to exposure, and delaying remediation, including D. Kosson, L. Bliss, M. Gochfeld, A. Bunn, C.W. Powers, C. Jeitner, J. Salisbury, K. Brown, J. Clarke, and H. Mayer. I also thank the Tribes, DOE managers, and scientists at DOE, Washington State, and PNNL. This research was funded by the Department of Energy (DE-FC01-06EW0753) through the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation, Rutgers University, Vanderbilt University, and other participating universities.


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Life SciencesRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA
  2. 2.Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences InsitututeRutgers UnivesityPiscatawayUSA
  3. 3.Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP)PiscatawayUSA

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