- Featured Initiatives
- Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)
- Range Sustainment
- Energy Assurance and Resilience
- Cleanup Initiatives
- Munitions Response Initiatives
- Green Manufacturing and Maintenance
DoD maintains responsibility for thousands of sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents, heavy metals, energetics, and other hazardous chemicals. Through more than a decade of investment, ESTCP and SERDP researchers have developed cost effective technologies for the characterization, remediation and monitoring of contaminated soils, groundwater, and sediments. Current cleanup initiatives focus on several areas of immediate concern, including the following:
A growing body of evidence suggests that a number of contaminants are less available to cause harm to humans or ecological receptors than is suggested by extrapolating effects based on total soil or sediment concentration measurements. Research and demonstration efforts aim to improve the understanding and assessment of contaminant bioavailability. Such improvements in understanding could establish more technically defensible cleanup goals and more realistic cleanup priorities, while also ensuring protection of human health and the environment.
DNAPL Source Zones
Dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) serve as long-term sources of dissolved-phase contamination. Research seeks to develop a greater understanding of the long-term impacts of DNAPL source zone treatment technologies and to establish technical guidance regarding the selection and use of DNAPL remedial technologies in the field. The ultimate goal is to develop more cost-effective remediation strategies.
The cost associated with long-term monitoring of contaminated sites is substantial. Research focuses on developing more efficient and cost-effective sampling methods.
Molecular Biological Tools
Molecular biological tools include biomarkers, such as specific nucleic acid sequences, peptides, proteins or lipids. These biomarkers provide information about organisms and processes relevant to the assessment or remediation of contaminants in the environment or other engineered systems. They also provide information relevant to technologies that measure microbial activity in situ. Current research focuses on the potential use of these technologies to improve the design, implementation, field performance, and monitoring of remediation technologies.
Perchlorate is used as an oxidizer component in solid propellant for rockets, missiles, and pyrotechnics. It also is present in certain fertilizers, and can be generated by other natural sources. In addition to traditional cleanup, research involves investigating sources of perchlorate, alternatives to perchlorate as a long-term solution, and the toxicology of perchlorate to ecological receptors.
Migration of vapors from chlorinated solvent groundwater plumes into surface and sub-surface structures has become a concern in recent years. Research focuses on developing a better understanding of the vapor intrusion pathway and developing improved sampling methodologies to provide more accurate prediction, monitoring, and management tools.