ARCHIVED - Targeted contamination cleanup

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February 02, 2009— Montréal, Quebec

Managers responsible for the containment or cleanup of contaminated sites now have a highly comprehensive database and decision-making tool to help them do the job. They simply enter information about their contaminated site into the Guidance and Orientation for the Selection of Treatment Technologies (GOST) database and receive detailed intelligence on the most effective remediation technologies available.

The GOST database brings together the multidisciplinary expertise of the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the Montreal Centre of Excellence in Brownfields Rehabilitation, and other partners with expertise in environmental remediation. As part of its support for the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, PWGSC provides technical and project management assistance to the government departments that are custodians of contaminated lands. GOST was developed specifically to help manage the contaminated sites that are the responsibility of the federal government.

"One of the most important functions of GOST is to help managers collect the detailed site characterization data that will lead them to the most appropriate remediation technology for that site," says Sebastien Yelle, the project leader at PWGSC. The database provides fact sheets on each technology, the benefits and limitations, case studies where the technology was applied, a list of required laboratory tests, and the estimated costs.

NRC researchers conducted an in situ aerobic biostimulation trial in Goose Bay, Labrador, to clean up petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater. Because this system relies on solar energy alone, it can be used in remote or Far North locations.

NRC researchers conducted an in situ aerobic biostimulation trial in Goose Bay, Labrador, to clean up petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater. Because this system relies on solar energy alone, it can be used in remote or Far North locations.

A team at NRC-BRI developed the environmental remediation technology profiles, applying its expertise in all the areas linked to the remediation of contaminated sites – – microbiology, hydrogeology, geography, geology, chemistry, engineering and agronomy. The Montreal Centre of Excellence in Brownfields Rehabilitation and other partners with expertise in environmental remediation also contributed information for the profiles.

Canada. These sites range from small areas of soil contaminated by fuel spills or leaking batteries to large abandoned mine sites in the North that are contaminated by heavy metals and other dangerous substances.

It was challenging to define the parameters for the database, given all the permutations," says Martin Désilets, who led the team at NRC-BRI. "From an informatics stance, we had to develop the means to distill all the site characterization information provided by the site manager, ensuring that it would bring forth the technology profile information that would be the best solution for that site."

Federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations have identified more than 18,000 contaminated or suspected contaminated sites in urban, rural and remote areas across Canada. These sites range from small areas of soil contaminated by fuel spills or leaking batteries to large abandoned mine sites in the North that are contaminated by heavy metals and other dangerous substances.

The NRC-BRI team not only provided the technology profiles and system architecture for GOST and its Internet site, but it will also keep the information current as new technologies and application data become available.

"Although this tool was created for federal custodians of contaminated sites, it will also be extremely valuable to Canada's environmental remediation industry and university researchers," says Désilets. "We've decided to make it available to everyone."

To learn more about GOST, visit:  http://gost.irb-bri.cnrc-nrc.gc.ca/home.aspx

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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