Remediation Risk Management

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Remediation risk management (RRM) is the process for managing uncontrollable project activities or circumstances that may result in negative consequences to remediation system performance. The project team evaluates the remediation risk and develops plans to facilitate risk mitigation. Managing remedy performance risk is an integral part of a remediation program’s overall management. Today, RRM is recognized as a vital, integrated program-management tool that cuts across the entire program, addressing and interrelating cost, schedule, and performance/operational risks. The goal is to make everyone involved in the program aware that performance risk should be a consideration in the planning, design, and execution of remediation activities.

RRM is a critical component of performance-based environmental management process, but is often considered separately as a system engineering function, cost-estimating technique, or possibly as an independent function distinct from other program functions. There is a need to holistically address remediation risks associated with technology, costs, schedules, performance, and operations that impact achieving site closure.

The RRM Team advances innovative approaches to remediation decision making by educating regulators on the many uncertainties/risks associated with remediation and closure of contaminated sites. The project emphasizes new tools and processes for state regulators to implement or understand during site remediation.

The team developed guidance for recognizing the risks inherent in remediation projects and setting realistic performance goals and expectations, as well as proposed mitigation plans for managing all those risks. The technical and regulatory guidance document entitled Project Risk Management for Site Remediation (RRM-1) includes evaluation of all risks associated with remediation at a site throughout the remediation life cycle. In the process the team developed decision strategies to help reduce uncertainties in decisions related to remedy selection, execution, and completion of cleanup activities. Along with RRM-1, Internet-based training was developed. The first public offering was in April 2011, and several subsequent sessions are planned.