U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in REMEDIATION (Winter 2004) 3-19. DOI: 10.1002/rem.20029


Many individual scientific and technical disciplines contribute to the multidisciplinary field of remediation science and practice. Because of the relative youth of this enterprise, disciplinary interests sometimes compete and conflict with the primary goal of achieving protective, cost-effective, efficient projects. Convergence of viewpoints toward a more mature, common vision is needed. In addition, cleanup programs are changing under the influence of Brownfields initiatives and the needs of environmental insurance underwriters. Investigations and cleanups increasingly need to be affordable, yet transparent and defensible. Disciplinary goals and terminology need to better reflect real-world site conditions while being more supportive of project needs. Yet, technical considerations alone will not ensure project success; better integration of human factors into project management is also required. The Triad approach is well placed to catalyze maturation of the remediation field because it emphasizes (1) a central theme of managing decision uncertainty; (2) unambiguous technical communications; (3) shortened project life-cycles and multidisciplinary interactions that rapidly build professional expertise and provide feedback to test and perfect programmatic and field practices; and (4) concepts from “softer” sciences (such as economics, cognitive psychology, and decision theory) to capture important human factors. Triad pushes the cleanup industry toward an integrated, practical, second-generation paradigm that can successfully manage the complexities of today’s cleanup projects.