October 20, 2022
Potential Effects of Climate Change on Sediment Remedies
TIG Environmental’s Jason Dittman was one of five panelists invited to speak at the session on Climate Change Adaptation and Contaminated Sediments at the AEHS 38th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy. The conference was held October 17–20, 2022 at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. The session was chaired by Miranda Henning of Integral Consulting. Other panelists included Patrick Gwinn, Integral Consulting; Steve Ueland, Langan Engineering; Ann Lowery, Mass DEP; and Jessica Dominguez, USEPA Region 1.
Contaminated sediment sites are often located in coastal areas and estuaries are vulnerable to multiple climate change impacts. Site investigation and remediation programs at many sites have been ongoing for decades with little to no attention paid to the wide range of potential climate-induced hazards for sediment remedies, including sea level rise. As we have come to understand the potentially devastating outcomes of sea level rise, extreme temperatures, extreme precipitation, extreme wind, wildfires, drought, and more, some regulatory agencies have started acknowledging climate-induced effect on site remediation and restoration. In this session, speakers addressed the potential impacts of climate change on sediment cleanup sites and discussed ways the remediation approach can incorporate climate change resilience adaptation. Jason focused his discussion on the potential effects on sediment remedies from climate change and increased withdrawal of water from aquifers causing surface water levels to drop, resulting in exposed and desiccated sediment. He spoke to the effect of sediment desiccation on existing and future sediment remedies such as subaqueous sediment caps, monitored natural recovery (MNR), and enhanced monitored natural recovery (EMNR) and what designers should be giving thought to in the remedial design phase at sediment sites.