Faced with decades-old treatment programs with high resource needs and no endpoints in sight, SURF was initiated in late 2006 to promote the use of sustainable practices during environmental cleanup activities with the objective of balancing economic viability, conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and the enhancement of the quality of life in surrounding communities.

Since its founding, SURF has brought together the best and the brightest in the environmental remediation field, and has led the evolution of sustainable remediation from conceptual discussions to standard operating procedure. As with many sectors of industrialized society, we have been rethinking behavior and re-engineering practices to reduce consumption of energy and natural resources.

Our mission at SURF is to maximize the overall environmental, societal, and economic benefits from the site cleanup process by:

  • Advancing the science and application of sustainable remediation
  • Developing best practices
  • Exchanging professional knowledge
  • Providing education and outreach

SURF members were the first to consolidate broad-based institutional knowledge into a exploration of sustainable remediation drivers, practices, objectives, and case studies. This groundbreaking White Paper was published in a special edition of the Summer 2009 Remediation Journal.  SURF has continued to expand on the topics explored in the White Paper, publishing its Framework for Integrating Sustainability into Remediation Projects, Guidance for Performing Footprint Analyses and Life-Cycle Assessments, a compendium of metrics, and a call to improve the integration of land remediation and reuse. SURF’s current efforts focus on Groundwater Conservation and Reuse, the international perspective on sustainable remediation, and ways to capture and evaluate the societal benefits of contaminated site cleanup.

From our humble beginnings as a group of just 20 individuals, SURF now regularly communicates with over 700 green and sustainable remediation practitioners, has held dozens of meetings across the US, and inspired the creation of several international sustainable remediation groups. SURF also promotes and supports student chapters at universities across the US, encouraging the incorporation of sustainability concepts into environmental science and engineering in undergraduate curricula and graduate research, and student participation at professional conferences.

SURF’s ongoing objective is to provide a forum for representatives of government, industry, consultancy, and academia to parse the means and ends of incorporating societal and economic considerations into environmental cleanup projects. We collaborate, educate, advance, and develop consensus on the application of sustainability concepts throughout the lifecycle of remediation projects, from site investigation to closure.  SURF members accomplish these objectives through volunteer working groups.  (Learn more about SURF Committees and Initiatives by clicking here.)

Click here for SURF's current and past Board of Trustees.