Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Pankaj Lal

Committee Member

Michael E. Miller

Committee Member

Neeraj Vedwan

Committee Member

Yang Deng

Subject(s)

Hazardous waste site remediation--Evaluation

Abstract

The main objective of the research presented herein is to be a major contributor to the current international initiative to advance sustainability assessments for remediation projects by integrating methodologies from the environmental economics and social science disciplines. More specifically, the study aims to address some of the knowledge gaps related to conducting a comprehensive sustainability assessment for a remediation project. These knowledge gaps include: (1) there are few studies that include sustainability assessments of the variety of techniques and technologies implemented during site characterization; (2) the majority of sustainable remediation publications and assessment tools focus on evaluating the environmental impact of a contaminated site’s life cycle and minimally, if at all, on related socio-economic impacts; and (3) the role of risk perception in stakeholder engagement has not been explored in existing sustainable remediation frameworks. Chapters 2 through 4 presents a societal cost analysis methodology to quantify global socio-economic impacts arising from cleanup activity by monetizing the emissions and energy consumption through the integration of the social cost of environmental metrics. The results of environmental footprint and life cycle assessment evaluations conducted at various stages throughout the project life cycle were used as the basis for the societal cost analysis. Chapter 5 presents a survey developed and implemented to identify risk perception factors that influenced residents’ level of participation in risk management activities conducted by the local health department. Based on the case study evaluations presented herein, it can be concluded that the integration of methodologies from the environmental economics and social science disciplines into existing sustainable remediation frameworks results in a more comprehensive evaluation of triple bottom line impacts, a reduction in emissions and resources consumed during site activities, efficient use of financial resources, and a maximization of benefits to stakeholders, in particular the community.

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