A Ten-Year Prospective on Remediation

By A. Dwight Bedsole

AHC Group Senior Associate and former Business Director for the DuPont Corporate Remediation Group Dwight Bedsole offers a stellar view of the importance he sees for the role of remediation in the future of business. Entitled "A Ten-Year Prospective on Remediation," this document helps one realize at once that we have dug deep to correct the mistakes of previous generations in ridding our earth of potentially harmful wastes, spills, releases, and discharges. For this we should be applauded for our significant accomplishments and our efforts to preserve for the here-and-now, as well as our future generations. Today the focus remains on prevention and waste minimization.

But through Mr. Bedsole's "prospective" study, we also glean his "perspective" of what to do with all of our site remediation programs, policies, and new risk management tools. We have grown these topics to include financial assurance, operational risk, retired assets, and sustainable remediation. These challenges, if not faced properly, offer a very real contingency for liability, and with that comes a big price tag.

A number of opportunities to improve the "remediation process" become visible in this perspective, as he points out that there has never been a problem in identifying what not to do. We must begin by learning from our own mistakes. When one realizes that just since the early 1960s, over 90,000 environmental laws and regulations have been imposed upon us, one better understands that the magnitude of the problem is not necessarily the problem itself, but the new rules by which we have to play. In addition, new contaminants are born every day with the development of sophisticated electronics, solar cells, etc. Remediation technologies must meet these new challenges, and the effort will undoubtedly be long-term. Unfortunately, the regulatory process for remediation has focused primarily on the short term.

One thing we don't need to add to the mix is redundancy. As we "prospect" to clean up damages done, we must deal with financial assurance requirements that will mandate that industry bear additional costs for duplicative and unnecessary financial instruments in dealing with the environment. We must be more efficient and effective in our use of resources — whether they be human, natural, or financial. We must revise our laws and regulations to remove what simply does not work, so that we can focus on the purpose of "prospecting" for contaminated soil, groundwater, and sediments in order to remediate. All stakeholders must recognize the value of a working relationship and partnership built on mutual respect and common goals.

Mr. Bedsole shares his perspective based on over 40 years of experience, as he has presented testimony at state, federal, and public hearings, while also having participated in numerous industry forums as a presenter and panelist at the international level on issues related to Superfund, RCRA, Cost/Benefit, Tort Reform, Brownfields, Eminent Domain, NRD, Risk Assessment, Sediments, and Sarbanes Oxley. As DuPont's Corporate Remediation Group Director, Mr. Bedsole was presented with an award for guiding their pledge to meet two key contamination control measures at six DuPont sites. This achievement served as a tribute to Mr. Bedsole's initiatives in having chartered and managed DuPont's CRG.

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Download Mr. Bedsole's prospective as a PDF »

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