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Nanoremediation: Information for Decision Makers from NanoRem

Thematic Page 6: Sustainability Considerations


1. Aim

2. Introduction

3. Additional Resources on the NanoRem Web site

4 Feedback and opinions

1 Aim

he aim of this page is to summarise sustainability considerations from the use of nanoremediation for contaminated soils and groundwater.  More detailed information is available from the NanoRem Tool Box (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/index.aspx#TB1).

2 Overview

Sustainability considerations are increasingly being used in decision-making processes for soil and groundwater remediation, requiring an evaluation of environmental, economic and societal aspects. A number of global initiatives have been set up to provide guidance and tools for sustainability assessment of remediation (http://www.claire.co.uk/projects-and-initiatives/surf-international), and NICOLE and Common Forum published a position statement on “Risk-informed and sustainable remediation” (http://www.nicole.org/uploadedfiles/2013%20NICOLE-Common-Forum-Joint-Position-Sustainable-Remediation.pdf) that indicates both regulatory and industry support for integrating sustainability assessment with risk-based management of land contamination.

Nanoremediation is an emerging remediation technology, and the NanoRem project provided a unique opportunity to assess sustainability characteristics of nanoremediation against established remediation technologies.  As part of the NanoRem project, the sustainability of nanoremediation was debated with a cross-sectoral stakeholder group at a “Sustainability and Markets” workshop and two sites were subject to qualitative sustainability assessment.  A detailed meeting report is available in Annex 2 of DL9.2 “Final Exploitation Strategy, Risk Benefit Analysis and Standardisation Status” which can be downloaded from the NanoRem Tool Box (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/project-deliverables.aspx).

Following on from suggestions made at this workshop the NanoRem project carried out qualitative sustainability assessments, based on SuRF-UK and NICOLE methodologies, for the use of nanoremediation at two sites:

1.      A retrospective assessment for an existing nanoremediation deployment at the Spolchemie I pilot site in the Czech Republic

2.      A forward looking assessment for a potential nanoremediation deployment in the UK.

Assessments were carried out by a small group of remediation professionals from AQUATEST, CL:AIRE , r3 and, for the UK site, Vertase FLI Ltd. This provided a blend of practical experience of remediation, sustainability assessment and knowledge of the site and stakeholders’ views.

The findings from both sustainability assessments indicate that nanoremediation compares favourably with other in situ options. This is an encouraging outcome, despite widely reported concerns over the release of NPs and emerging status of the technology. Further differentiation of the in situ options may be refined by progressing to a more quantitative tier of assessment and/or engaging the opinions of wider stakeholders. Both assessments were contractor-led and are therefore preliminary and, in practice, would be used to support further stakeholder engagement. This has not taken place (yet) at either site owing to site sensitivities and timing, but a further stage of engagement with wider stakeholders would be standard practice. Wider stakeholder engagement may lead to some change to the outcomes, but nanoremediation is still likely to compare favourably with other in situ options, particularly when supported by field test data.

These assessments provide a unique resource that can benefit any technology providers, site owners, regulators and consultants who are involved in future nanoremediation projects by informing them of the potential sustainability benefits and challenges associated with the application of this technology.  This NanoRem work has also provided an opportunity to apply the work produced by key networks in Europe to the sustainability assessment of such an emerging technology. 

The sustainability assessment methodology used by NanoRem can be found in its Tool Box (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/nanoparticles_and_tools.aspx#TB1).  The outcomes of the two case study sustainability assessments can be found in DL8.2 “Generalized Guideline for Application of Nanoremediation” which can also be downloaded from the NanoRem Tool Box (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/project-deliverables.aspx).


3 Additional Resources on the NanoRem Web Site

Comprehensive resources are available from the NanoRem Tool Box, shown below (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/index.aspx


Additional summary information is also available on the following online pages:





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Feedback and Opinions

We are interested in your opinions and your feedback on NanoRem's decision support information. If you have an opinion that you would like to share with us, or feedback about the information provided, please do get in touch. We are interested in all opinions and feedback, from specific technical points to policy or nontechnical issues. You can use the form below to do this. You may also use this form to seek further information from or co-operation with the NanoRem project.

Alternatively you may also contact us directly by e-mail; nanorem@r3environmental.co.uk.

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Taking Nanotechnological Remediation Processes from Lab Scale to End User Applications for the Restoration of a Clean Environment.
This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement No. 309517
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