The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Allocating remedial costs at superfund sites with commingled groundwater contaminant plumes

TitleAllocating remedial costs at superfund sites with commingled groundwater contaminant plumes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMarryott R.A, Sabadell D.P, Ahlfeld D. P., Harris R.H, Pinder G.F
JournalEnvironmental Forensics
Start Page47
Date Published10/2010

Remedial efforts at Superfund sites across the country focus on groundwater contaminant plumes that have been produced by contributions from multiple parties. Allocating cleanup costs between the parties in a fair and equitable manner can be a problem of substantial complexity. Considerable time and money may be spent determining the amount of contamination attributable to each party in order to apportion liability. Contaminant plumes that have evolved over long periods of time may affect large volumes of groundwater and require extensive remediation. Pump and treat remedial costs are driven by both the volume of water extracted and the mass of contaminants removed. Allocation methods based solely on the mass of contaminants contributed by each party are inadequate in this setting since they do not account for both components of the remedial costs. This paper presents an approach for equitably allocating remedial costs when addressing overlapping or commingled groundwater plumes. The method accounts for the major elements driving the costs of remediating dispersed contaminant plumes.