A remediation plan is a plan which is formulated to address a case of environmental contamination. The goal of a remediation plan is to identify and treat the contamination so that the contaminated area will be usable again. Environmental remediation is occurring all over the world on a variety of levels, from the massive cleanup projects involved with former military bases to the cleanup of former and current industrial sites which have been identified as sources of pollution. Remediation plans are usually developed through the cooperation of several government agencies, along with private companies which specialize in environmental cleanup and the communities in which the contamination is found.
Developing a remediation plan takes a long time. Once environmental contamination is identified, surveys are conducted to learn more about the contamination and the site. The architects of the plan also meet with local government officials to discuss issues like historical land use, to see if a responsible party for the contamination can be identified. Part of the remediation plan also involves meeting with the community to talk with them about how they would like to see the land used. For example, when a former military base is cleaned up, the land may be converted to a variety of uses including residential housing, public parks, light industrial use, and so forth.
Once the planners know how the site has been used in the past, the extent and nature of the contamination, and how people would like to use the land in the future, they can develop a remediation plan. The plan usually starts with the presentation of a number of options for environmental cleanup, with a discussion of the ramifications of each option. For example, on an industrial site contaminated with dioxins, the community may be presented with the option of sequestering and capping the dioxins on site, or trucking the dioxins to a specialized landfill and backfilling with clean soil. Sequestration may restrict future land use options, while removal may be more expensive.
A great deal of cooperation is involved to establish and enact a remediation plan. There may be conflicts between agencies and within a community about the best options, the timeline, and how the cleanup should be administered. The process can take years or even decades, especially if the contamination is complicated and there are legal issues like pending lawsuits, and it is not uncommon for administrators to come and go several times over the course of the development of a plan and its execution, which can complicate matters even further.
People who live in areas affected by contamination should be aware that they usually have a right to access any and all records pertaining to the development of an environmental remediation plan. They are also entitled to comment on any proposed plans.