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LEAN Approaches to the Remediation Process

Jason Dalton, Anna Harrington

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation


As part of our NSF sponsored SBIR program, we investigated over 1000 remediation Manufacturing Definition Put in Remediation Terms

D Defects
sites and conducted interviews with regulators, service providers, researchers, property Information, products, and services that are incomplete or inaccurate “Missing” Contaminants in the conceptual site model that drives the
owners, and engineers, yielding 100s of candid insights about the remediation industry. remediation plan. Results in site revisits.
We set out to learn what processes and patterns in the remediation process could be
O Over Production
Making more of something - making it earlier or faster- than it's needed Pursuing too many sites at once, spreading budgets and attention too
improved and where bottlenecks and frustration centered for all stakeholders. thin.

W Waiting
Areas suggested multiple times for improvement by both consultants and Waiting for information, equipment, materials, parts or people Delays in communication and reporting. Time spent while samples and
regulators: results are in transit.
1. Merging data from different sources is essential but time consuming and not budgeted
N Non-utilized Talent
Not properly utilizing people's experience, skills, knowledge or Scientists and engineers burdened with reporting and modifying data
2. Data is collected too late to influence decisions creativity tables rather than generating insights
3. Projects are almost always over budget (80-100% of time)

T Transport
4. Regulators can’t allocate enough resources to examine and approve process Unnecessary movement of materials, information or equipment Mobilizing and Demobilizing redundant equipment and personnel
5. Cutting corners on site investigation leads to bad decisions
I Inventory
Accumulation of parts, information, applications, etc. beyond what is Equipping states and industry to conduct more remediation investigations
6. 60% of site remedial actions are unsuccessful required by the customer and
7. Industry is slow to accept new technologies

M Motion
8. Charging by the hour doesn’t incentivize efficient success Any movement by people that is not of value to the end customer Coordination of disparate teams, Data archiving and retrieval.
9. There is a lack of confidence in less proven technologies

E Extra-processing
Any steps that do not add value in the eyes of the end customer Steps in the process that add labor and time costs, but do not yield better
remediation results.
We observed that much of the friction and delay described by experts in the remediation
process were analogous to those found in manufacturing processes for efficiency, flow,
and quality are key drivers of success. These concepts can be addresses by adopting
Kanban is designed to reduce waste and maximize efficiency by
making sure any bottlenecks are immediately apparent to all team
(HEIJUNKA) Continuous Improvement offers a
improvement throughout the process.
strategy for finding and implementing regular
LEAN production focuses on increasing quality and decreasing waste. It does this Each region has a large
through the use of methods derived from decades of process improvement in facilities members. It can be implemented in many ways. A simple version is
portfolio of projects.
across the world, although the methods are usually credited to early work at Toyota in the just a ‘dashboard’ showing an entire portfolio, the stage each project is It is inherent in the continuous improvement mindset that there be a well understood and followed
LEAN methods yield better
1930’s and where it is continually perfected today. in, and how long it has been at that stage. process, where throughput and quality can be measured. Only after that can we be certain that
results when focusing on
any suggested changes are actually improvements. An improvement can be a new technology,
INVESTIGATION REMEDIATION fewer projects at once.
LONG TERM eliminating a step in the process, a faster way to disseminate reports, etc. Once an improvement
Download the full industry report Download the full regulator report BACKLOG
CLOSURE Focus on moving projects
REMOVAL IN SITU is found, the people working the process need to be empowered to adopt the improvement.
though the site modeling
Remediation: The biggest problems for Remediation: The biggest problems for
regulators, and what they wish consultants, and what they wish ABC XYZ 123
and remediation, phases
consultants knew regulators knew
Refinery Landfill Corp ASF STU
to get the site into long The Authors are attending
term modeling with the STANDARDIZED PROCESSES
greatest likelihood of Standardized Work focuses on finding best practices for an the conference.
success and move on to organization or process, documenting those procedures, Feel free to contact us:
Manufact. ASD
the next project in the implementing them on a wider scale, and communicating those
tasks or methods to employees. Feedback from our many
queue. Add additional
process teams rather than interviews lamented that there were inconsistent processes in
adding more sites to the different companies, agencies, state, and Federal agencies.
same team. (Compound identifiers, data deliverables, units, definitions) causing
@azimuth1tech duplicate work rather than an industry-wide best practice.