SUMMARY OF THE REMEDIATION TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPMENT FORUM
ACTION TEAM CO-CHAIR CONFERENCE CALL
April 28, 2004
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. (EDT)
On Wednesday, April 28, 2004, a conference call was held to discuss the status of the Remediation Technologies Development Forum (RTDF) Action Teams. The following co-chairs from the RTDF Action Teams participated in the call:
IINERT Soil-Metals Action Team
Non-aqueous Phase Liquid (NAPL) Cleanup Alliance
Phytoremediation of Organics Action Team
Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRB) Action Team
Sediments Remediation Action Team
|Carolyn Acheson (EPA) and Dave Ellis (DuPont)
Jim Ryan (EPA) and Bill Berti (DuPont)
Bob Maxey (EPA) and Mark Lyverse (ChevronTexaco)
Lucinda Jackson (ChevronTexaco)
Bob Puls (EPA) and John Vidumsky (DuPont)
Nancy Grosso (DuPont)
Also present from EPA were Walter Kovalick, Annette Gatchett, John Quander,
Linda Fiedler, Martha Otto, Ellen Rubin, Rich Steimle, Kelly Madalinski, and
Kathy Yager. In addition, Carolyn Perroni and Peter Riddle of Environmental
Management Support, Inc., and Christine Hartnett of ERG also participated in
the conference call.
PURPOSE OF THE CALL
Walter Kovalick and Annette Gatchett said that the call was being held to revisit the RTDF's principles, obtain a
status report on the RTDF Action Teams, discuss future activities, determine whether certain RTDF teams are ready to retire, and decide whether the RTDF is having a positive impact.
HISTORY OF THE RTDF AND DISCUSSION OF PARTNERSHIP PRINCIPLES
Before launching into a group discussion, Kovalick provided background information on the RTDF, noting that
the idea for the group took root in the early 1990s during a dinner conversation between the EPA Administrator
(Bill Reilly) and Monsanto's Chairman of the Board. At that time, both parties agreed that it would be beneficial
for industry and the government to work together to develop innovative solutions to hazardous waste problems.
Following up on this suggestion, Reilly set up a meeting and invited representatives from industry, academia,
EPA, and other federal agencies to participate. The RTDF was born out of this meeting and Action Teams started
forming to tackle specific topics that were of interest to both the government and industry. To date, Kovalick
said, there have been eight RTDF Action Teams, two of whichthe In Situ Flushing Action Team and the
Lasagna™ Partnershiphave been archived and are no longer active.
Kovalick reviewed some of the original principles on which the RTDF is founded:
- Mutuality of interest. The topics addressed under the RTDF are of interest to industry, EPA's Office of
Research and Development, and EPA Program Offices. The RTDF's goal is to identify innovative
solutions and products that benefit all three parties.
- Transparency. RTDF meetings are open to the public, and meeting and conference call summaries are posted on an RTDF Web site.
- Applied work. While it is important to share information and ideas, Kovalick said, EPA expects the RTDF teams to reach beyond the information-sharing stage and to perform actual field work and produce tangible products, such as technology evaluations and peer-reviewed articles.
Kovalick asked the industry co-chairs to express their thoughts on the RTDF's principles and to comment on
whether they thought the RTDF has been a success. Lucinda Jackson (representing the Phytoremediation of
Organics Action Team) responded by saying that she thinks that the RTDF has been hugely successful, noting
that it has given diverse groups a way to come together, perform field work, and generate large data sets. Dave
Ellis (representing the Bioremediation Consortium) and John Vidumsky (representing the PRB Action Team)
also indicated that they thought that the RTDF has been beneficial. When asked whether the RTDF's principles,
policies, and procedures need to be revamped, Ellis and Vidumsky responded by saying that the existing rubric is
working well and does not require modification.
GROUP DISCUSSION TOPICS
Gatchett led a group discussion and asked call participants to provide input on the following questions:
- Is the RTDF doing enough outreach and are RTDF activities having a positive impact? If so, how does
one document success? Ellis noted that the RTDF serves as an important source of information for the
Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), a group that provides extensive outreach services.
Given this fact, he said, the RTDF should take partial credit for the training programs (delivered to more
than 14,000 people) that ITRC has conducted to raise awareness about innovative remediation
technologies. Call participants said that the Bioremediation Consortium, the Phytoremediation of
Organics Action Team, and the PRB Action Team have all provided materials for ITRC training
programs. In addition, some of these groups have provided information that has been used in ITRC
documents and EPA documents. For example, Jackson said, information generated by the RTDF team was
recently sent to EPA's Steve McCutcheon for inclusion in a new book. Gatchett asked for input on what
could be done to document some of the contributions that the RTDF has made. Two ideas were discussed:
- Add a section to the RTDF Web site called "Success Stories." Bob Puls offered this suggestion.
- Prepare a 1-page fact sheet that summarizes the RTDF's contributions. If such a fact sheet were
created, Gatchett said, the Action Team co-chairs could use it to raise awareness about the RTDF
and the benefits associated with it. Linda Fiedler said that the fact sheet should provide
information on the number of people trained, the number of demonstration projects initiated, and
the number of papers that have been written under the auspices of the RTDF. Kovalick
recommended collecting this information by culling the RTDF and ITRC Web sites and by asking
the RTDF co-chairs to provide a list of accomplishments/publications/products.
- Are there other forums that can be tapped into to generate new partners for the RTDF? Kovalick asked
for ideas on how to obtain more participation from industry members. To kick off the conversation, he
asked whether any of the call participants had tried soliciting support for the RTDF from the Petroleum
Environmental Research Forum (PERF), the American Petroleum Institute (API), or the Information
Network for Superfund Settlements group. Jackson said that PERF has been involved with the
Phytoremediation of Organics Action Team, but that interactions with API could probably be
strengthened. She said that she would be happy to try to solicit additional support for the RTDF if
Kovalick and Gatchett provide some ideas on how to accomplish this.
- When is an RTDF Action Team's work complete? When an Action Team's activities are completed,
Gatchett said, she and Kovalick will: (1) write a close-out letter thanking the Action Team members for
their participation and (2) archive the information that is presented about that Action Team on the RTDF
Web site. The question is: How does one determine whether an Action Team's work is complete?
Gatchett and Kovalick said that they would allow the Action Team co-chairs to make this determination.
If a team is inactive for an extended period, though, Kovalick and Gatchett will prompt its co-chairs to
either initiate some new activities or close out the group. In order to justify its continuation, Kovalick
said, an Action Team should be willing to undertake some applied work. If the group is simply holding
annual meetings to share information, he said, it might be better to support such meetings through another mechanism rather than using funds that are allocated to the RTDF.
- Should new RTDF Action Teams be formed? Kovalick identified one topic--using nanoscale particles to clean up ground waterthat might warrant the formation of a new Action Team.
STATUS REPORT ON THE SIX ACTIVE RTDF ACTION TEAMS
Call participants provided information about the short-term goals of each of the following Action Teams:
- The Bioremediation Consortium. This group, which is still very active, is about to launch some work in the area of dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) remediation.
- The IINERT Soil-Metals Action Team. Jim Ryan and Bill Berti agreed to poll the IINERT Action Team members to determine whether it is time to close out this Action Team. To date, the group has focused on scientific research. It would be interesting to know, Berti said, whether any of the team members are interested in assessing field applications or promoting IINERT technologies in the market place.
- The NAPL Alliance. This group, which plans to hold its next meeting in June 2004, is in the process of developing a training program.
- The Phytoremediation of Organics Action Team. This Action Team is still performing field work under the Alternative Cover Assessment Program (ACAP) initiative.
- The PRB Action Team. Vidumsky said that the PRB Action Team has completed its original mission, which was to accelerate the development and acceptance of PRBs. In October 2003, however, interest was expressed in expanding the Action Team's mission and exploring new topics, such as: (1) using zero-valent iron to treat source zones and (2) using nanoscale iron for plume and source-zone treatment. Puls said that field work will be conducted under the auspices of the PRB Action Team in the near future.
- The Sediments Remediation Action Team. Grosso said that the Sediments Remediation Action Team hopes to initiate some field work soon. Once an appropriate site is identified, she said, the team will test different assessment and remediation technologies.
EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation Technology Innovation (OSRTI) provides the funds that support RTDF
meetings, RTDF conference calls, RTDF summary reports, the RTDF Web site, and other communication
materials. Kovalick said that outside groups are performing cost/benefits analyses on OSRTI-funded initiatives
and that the Office might be asked to reduce funding in the future. If cuts must be made, Kovalick said, some of
the support that the RTDF Action Teams currently enjoy might be reduced. Thus, it is important to determine
which activities are the most vital to the RTDF's success, a topic that requires input from the Action Team co-chairs.
Jackson said that it is essential to preserve travel funds for EPA representatives to attend RTDF meetings. Ellis
said that EPA should place priority on meeting the obligations that are outlined in Cooperative Research and
Development Agreements. Some attendees advised cutting back on the funds that EPA contributes to support
RTDF meetings. The following were offered as suggestions for accomplishing this: (1) limiting the number of
meetings that each RTDF Action Team holds per year, (2) asking the Action Team members to set aside funds to
support the meetings, (3) holding RTDF meetings in conjunction with other meetings, and (4) reducing on-site
contractor support. Expanding on the latter, Fiedler proposed asking Action Team members to take the
responsibility of providing on-site conference management support and note-taking/report-writing services.
- Kovalick and Gatchett will let Jackson know if they have any ideas about how to expand collaboration with API and PERF.
- When conducting their next conference calls, the RTDF co-chairs agreed, they will ask for additional suggestions on how the RTDF can improve upon its outreach efforts.
- OSRTI will consider developing a 1-page fact sheet that highlights the RTDF's success. OSRTI will also consider creating a "Success Stories" section on the RTDF Web site.