How do I minimize the cost of petroleum assessment and remediation?

Here are some tips for minimizing the cost of petroleum contamination assessments and cleanups at sites like gas stations:

  1. Work with State Trust Funds & Programs – Many states including Florida, administered through the Petroleum Restoration Program offer reimbursement of corrective action costs through a special fund set aside for petroleum cleanup work. Applying for coverage early is key. Some programs in Florida have already been closed, such as the Early detection Incentive (EDI) program. Others like the Abandoned Tank Restoration Program (ATRP), were closed but have been reopened, though your site will need to meet strict criteria to qualify.
  2. Use Risk-Based Closure Strategies – Develop remediation goals based on actual site risks rather than always achieving stringent default cleanup levels. In Florida you can achieve what is called “Conditional Closure” which will force some usage restrictions on the property, but will prevent the high costs required to meet the the target cleanup levels which would not require conditions. This is a really great option for some, but it can impact the value when selling the property later.
  3. Establish Realistic Cleanup Timeframes – Extending remediation time horizons using longer-term attenuation and monitoring approaches costs less than rapid cleanup. You will have to get approval for changes to the time frames from the regulatory body, which would be the local county and then the state.
  4. Employ Passive Remediation Technologies – Consider less energy-intensive methods like bioremediation, phytoremediation, or chemical oxidation which require less equipment expense over time.
  5. Phase Projects Efficiently – Prioritize the highest risk /highest contamination areas first while incrementally investigating other areas over time only if necessary to control costs.
  6. Select Cost-Competitive Contractors – Solicit multiple competitive bids from reputable environmental services contractors and negotiate pricing.
  7. Discuss Cost Saving Options with Regulators – Regulators will often work collaboratively with site owners to achieve regulatory compliance in a flexible, cost-considerate manner. In fact, it is very important to understand that despite how it may sometimes seem, the regulators want to get the property rehabilitated and back to good use as quick as possible. It is important to get them to help you meet your goals by sharing with them your intentions for the property, your cost concerns regarding the standard methods and discussing with them cheaper but equally effective solutions.

With strategic project planning and execution focused on optimization rather than expediency, substantial assessment and remediation savings are possible.

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran grew up in sunny south Florida and lives in Boca Raton. He studied geologist and is a licensed professional geologist. He helps environmental and engineering companies implement software solutions to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and is Senior Geologist at MORAN ROCKS LLC, a boutique environmental consulting firm that uses the latest technology and workflow solutions to deliver personalized service at competitive prices.