Long-term groundwater monitoring is a requirement of the majority of site cleanups, necessary to verify remedy effectiveness. It is also expensive, with a large fraction of the Department of Defense’s (DoD's) annual costs for managing sites going toward long-term monitoring. Many long-term monitoring programs are essentially continuations of monitoring done for investigation programs, which is not ideal given that the purposes of site investigation and remedy monitoring are different. The disconnect between monitoring networks for site investigation and those for remedy monitoring has long been recognized, and the DoD has funded development of tools to assist with optimizing remedy monitoring networks. MAROS is one such tool. Features that distinguish MAROS from other software include: i) ability to complete optimizations without specific statistical expertise or advanced computer skills, ii) statistical methods that are transparent and easy to understand, and iii) incorporation of qualitative decision-making in developing a final monitoring plan. MAROS provided a mechanism to address both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the long-term monitoring optimization process, facilitating communication with site stakeholders. MAROS was developed in several phases over the 1998 to 2012 time frame. Unfortunately, because of changes in Microsoft’s platform over the last 10 years, MAROS no longer functions reliably. Meanwhile, the computing environment has evolved dramatically, resulting in significant advancements in statistical capabilities and data visualization.
For this project, MAROS will be used as inspiration for a new, free, web-based groundwater monitoring optimization toolbox that includes the most popular features of MAROS while adding new functionality to make it easier to understand and visualize site data, and help site managers, consultants, and regulators make better use of groundwater monitoring data not only for post-remedy monitoring, but also for other stages in project lifecycles.
The web-based toolbox will be programmed using the R Shiny framework. R Shiny is a powerful new technology platform used to build interactive websites, and is particularly useful for dashboards and processing/display of geospatial data. It is envisioned that the toolbox to be developed in a step-wise fashion that will result in discrete modules and software work flows. Priorities of tool development are to i) include modules for data display and key statistical functions including individual well trend statistics and plume-level statistics, and ii) provide intuitive navigation and data visualizations.
Long-term monitoring costs at DoD sites currently exceed $100 million annually. Reducing inefficiencies in monitoring programs can substantially reduce these costs. MAROS has historically been employed at many remediation sites across the country, including DoD sites, commonly achieving savings of 30 to 50% in annual groundwater monitoring costs. Additional benefits of the MAROS tools include facilitating regulatory consensus on how remedies are monitored and evaluated. In years past, MAROS was considered the most widely used monitoring review program available but use has been in decline because the aging Microsoft Access platform makes it difficult or impossible to run. Shifting to a web-based platform with modern coding techniques should not only restore key functions that are not available with other software, but add features to better visualize data, streamline the optimization process, improve reporting capabilities, and support stakeholder communication efforts.