Undoing the Damage: A Guide to Environmental Remediation
There is growing recognition by corporate leadership regarding the importance of environmental remediation and the urgent need to address pollution on a global scale.
Even as governments around the world are ramping up enforcement of regulations aimed at reducing and preventing industrial pollution, the rise in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing is another factor encouraging many companies to proactively address environmental remediation as a way to attract investors.
Whatever is driving your organization to explore environmental remediation, we want to help you make informed decisions. Let’s review what environmental remediation is, the history of laws governing it, then dive into the primary types of environmental remediation. For a guide on approaches and phases of remediation check out this previous blog.
What Is Environmental Remediation?
Environmental remediation is the process of removing contaminants and pollutants from the soil, water, and air in and around contaminated sites. It is a critical process for mitigating the impact of pollution on our environment and our communities.
The history of environmental remediation
The global environmental movement came to prominence in the 1970s with policies aimed at reducing pollution and safeguarding natural resources. These policies were created in response to very real and urgent environmental concerns brought on by the rapid industrialization of post-World War II economies.
The United States established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 and the subsequent passage of environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. In 1973, the European Union adopted the first Environmental Action Programme.
Environmental remediation has always been an integral part of environmental protection and has evolved to include a variety of techniques and technologies.
In the half-century since these policies were enacted, environmental remediation has undergone significant changes in terms of the methods used and the regulatory frameworks in place. Technological advancements have been made in the detection, prevention, and precision remediation of environmental contamination.
Today, environmental remediation is a multidisciplinary field that involves scientists, engineers, regulators, and stakeholders working together to protect human and environmental health.
4 Types of Environmental Remediation
The techniques and technologies used to remediate environmental contamination are continually advancing. These are the primary areas they focus on treating.
Sediment remediation involves removing or treating contaminated sediment in bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and harbors. This is often necessary to prevent the spread of contamination to aquatic organisms and the surrounding environment. Techniques for sediment remediation may include dredging, capping, or the use of chemicals or biological agents to break down contaminants.
Soil remediation is the process of removing or treating contaminants in soil to restore it to its original or safe state. This may involve excavation and disposal of contaminated soil, or the use of chemical, biological, or physical methods to break down or remove contaminants in situ. Techniques for soil remediation may vary depending on the type and extent of the contamination.
Groundwater remediation is the process of removing or treating contaminants in groundwater, which is often a source of drinking water. Techniques for groundwater remediation may include the use of pumps and filters to remove contaminants, or the injection of chemicals or biological agents to break down contaminants in situ.
Surface water remediation
Surface water remediation involves treating or removing contaminants from water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and streams. This may involve the use of chemical, biological, or physical methods, such as aeration or the use of sedimentation ponds. The goal of surface water remediation is to restore water quality and prevent the spread of contaminants to other parts of the environment.
The Long-term Value of Environmental Remediation
The demands of governments and consumers are unifying around the call for better corporate ownership of the environment. Brands that are committed to real environmental action are more likely to be viewed positively by customers.
In a joint study between McKinsey and NielsenIQ, it was found that over a five-year period, products making ESG (environmental, social, and governance)-related claims accounted for 56% of all growth, outpacing their expected trajectory at the start of those five years by 18 percent.
There is a clear benefit to brands shining a light on their environmental history and taking ownership to undo the damage.
Learn more about how Inogen Alliance can help you with your environmental remediation needs.
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