2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: petestrauss1@attbi.com
Date: 9 Apr 2003 13:22:31 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Military readiness
Louis and Stella:

We have had our own private conversation about clean-up techniques.  I'd
like to share some of my thoughts.

 While I think that the concept of more efficient/less costly cleanup
technology is one almost all of us who subscribe to CPEO can support, it is
much more difficult getting a new technology accepted by the regulators, the
PRPs and even the stakeholders. I do not think it is a fair representation
to say that the environmental consulting industry is lining its pockets at
the expense of efficiency or the taxpayers.  There are contractual
relationships and oversight that could be improved, for certain, but to a
large degree it is barriers to using new technology that need to be overcome
in order to see the efficiencies and cost savings you have alluded to.
These barriers can be classified in a number of ways.  To put it simply,
each state and federal regulator must be certain that the technology works
as advertised (rightly so), and this is a long process; stakeholders are
often reluctant to be the Guinea Pigs for a new technology (rightly so), and
the PRPs usually want to go with the tried and true method so that they have
some certainty about time and money.  Environmental consultants working for
either group are paid to protect their respective perspective.

That said, there are plenty of people working to overcome these barriers.
One that I work with is the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC).
Although it has plenty of faults, it brings together a large group of state
regulators to transfer experience about innovative  technology from state to
state and from state to federal.  Industry, including the consulting
industry is involved, although I cannot say to what degree.  Stakeholders
are involved to offer their opinions and concerns about innovative
technologies (there are not enough !).  There are many other technical
groups that I suspect work on similar problems.  But all in all, these are
difficult barriers to overcome and we should be realistic about our
expectations.  Acceptance of most innovative technology, whether it be a
computer or an environmental system, is usually a very long process.

Peter Strauss
----- Original Message -----
From: <starcompany@erols.com>
To: "cpeo-military" <cpeo-military@igc.topica.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 12:13 PM
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Military readiness

>  I was 1/3 of the way through Stella's message on military readiness and
> was saying to myself "Stella just has to read this".  About half way
> through, I said to myself, this HAS to be something that Stella has
> written.  Sure enough, there at the bottom was her name.
> Here, here!!!
> When we started our company with the concept of developing,
> demonstrating, and deploying extremely cost-effective and
> technically-successful (and appropriate) site remediation technologies,
> we were operating under a mis-guided concept:  We actually "thought"
> that the environmental industry and its clients (and legal staffs)
> wanted to clean up sites cost-effectively
>  in a relatively short period of time, and with greater technical
> success than they were experiencing using traditional "care-taker"
> approaches such as pump-and-treat technologies.  Boy were we wrong!!!!
> Despite over 15 years of successful remediation projects using
> innovative and cost-effective technologies, the number one obstacle to
> acceptance of our advanced remediation methods, in our experience, has
> been the whole-sale reluctance of site managers and environmental
> remediation consultants to decrease the amount of time that they have to
> spend on projects and the income/revenue (to the consultant) associated
> with these efforts.  I know  of one government facility, for example,
> where we could clean up a major plume in probably 3 years.  The site
> manager has declined to utilize our methods on the basis that we will
> clean the site up too quickly.  I understand from others that his
> intention is to "retire" on this site/project.  I know of
> another job where a plume must be addressed which is under a large
> building.  Despite clear demonstration that we could address this plume
> with minimal impact(s) and in situ remediation technologies, the
> consultant/ contractor has opted for the use of vertical wells and a
> pump-and-treat system.
> When confronted with the obvious technical and economic inadequacy of
> this approach, as well as the obvious negative impacts on the operation
> of the facility, the consultant's response was "The last thing we want
> to do is decrease the amount of time we have to spend at the site or the
> amount of money our client pays us to clean it up!"
> And I know of many, many, many sites where hopelessly inadequate,
> technically inept (if not fradulent) technologies have been deployed,
> usually at high cost and with little success.  My favorite was one which
> failed miserably to address site contamination.  When confronted with
> the poor results, the consultant's response was "Well, I guess it didn't
> take! We'll have to do it again."  Guess what, the client/site actually
> paid the consultant the same amount of money to "do it again".  And,
> guess what, it didn't work the second time either.
> Yes, the DOD, DOE, and/or anyone else who is trying to use the "war on
> terrorism" as a cop-out for obeying environmental laws and regulations
> and addressing soil and groundwater contamination at their site/facility
> has a hidden" agenda:  reallocation of environmental budgets to fund
> other actions/programs and elimination of a lot of environmental cleanup
> headaches
>   But, the greed and incompetence of many environmental consultants, the
> willing complicity of many of the site environmental managers (for
> personal reasons usually), and (in many cases) the technical
> incompetency of both surely has not helped matters much.
> Louis B. Fournier, Ph.D.
> STAR Environmental, Inc.
> 10 Wilmington-West Chester Pike
> Chadds Ford, PA 19317
> Phone:  610-558-2121
> Fax:  610-558-2112
> E-Mail:  starcompany@erols.com
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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