Alternatives for Managing the Nation's Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites

Prepublication copies of Alternatives for Managing the Nation’s Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites are now available for download from the National Academies Press.

The report estimates that at least 126,000 sites across the US still have contaminated groundwater, and their closure is expected to cost at least $110 billion to $127 billion. About 10 percent of these sites are considered "complex," meaning restoration is unlikely to be achieved in the next 50 to 100 years due to technological limitations. At sites where contaminant concentrations have plateaued at levels above cleanup goals despite active efforts, the report recommends evaluating whether the sites should transition to long-term management, where risks would be monitored and harmful exposures prevented, but at reduced costs.

Report authors are composed of the members of the National Research Council Committee on Future Options for Management in the Nation's Subsurface Remediation Effort, Water Science and Technology Board, and Division on Earth and Life Studies.