U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in REMEDIATION (Winter 2004) 21-37. DOI: 10.1002/rem.20030


Cost-effective and efficient site remediation and scientifically defensible decisions require site characterizations that are representative of site conditions. The Triad conceptual site model (CSM) is at the center of a continually improving site characterization process that begins during systematic planning and ends after the last data are developed. To gain the full benefit and greatest cost-effectiveness, the process of CSM refinement should be performed in real time. Thus, the use of collaborative data is critical for evolving and maturing the CSM. In the field, through the use of all available data that are of known quality, a skilled and experienced field team can collect sufficient site information to mature the CSM in a timely manner. To facilitate the planning and execution of such a process, an easily understandable framework is needed to structure data quality that supports scientifically defensible decisions and efficient projects. This article explores such a framework.