Environmental Remediation: Expense Vs. Investment

An environmental remediation project can be challenging to track and quantify. Site cleanup is a key part of the contaminated land redevelopment process, but unlike the plot of land or the new construction itself, the results of the cleanup and the return on investment (ROI) of cleanup are not always clear-cut as a success story. Especially when costs are not capped at the outset of the project it can be difficult to even begin remediation.

Understandably, stakeholders want to know exactly what is being paid for when they receive an invoice from their environmental remediation company. After spending significant sums on a remediation project, what exactly did their money get them? To ensure that all parties involved understand the bang for their buck, it’s important to continually quantify what is happening, even when the results cannot always be seen or touched.

Why is it so difficult to quantify an environmental remediation project?

Environmental remediation clients find themselves in a position where they must constantly justify the often-unpredictable costs attached to the project. (This is especially true if the client is not using a fixed-price program such as EWMA’s SECUR-IT®). Value must be demonstrated to multiple parties on an ongoing basis. However, when so much work is conducted out of sight beneath the earth’s surface, it can be difficult to show a stakeholder what their money bought them, or even to justify the hefty price tag altogether.

Take a soil cleanup, for example. Hauling away contaminated materials can be observed, and the moment the trucks arrive is an easy benchmark to hit. A certain dollar figure was spent to hire crew and equipment to dig up the contaminated material, and to hire trucks to haul it away. That type of information is clear-cut, easy to convey, and most importantly, shows exactly what was bought.

Other in situ cleanup strategies, such as groundwater, are conducted out of sight. Everything takes place underground, where nobody can really observe with certainty what is happening or see when a change occurs. That makes it difficult for insurance carriers, investors, and other stakeholders to understand where all that money is going and if the remediation is actually working.

Which metrics should your environmental consultant provide?

The developer or property owner should ask the environmental remediation team to regularly provide data which can measure how the cleanup is going. The remediation team should be willing to regularly communicate results that best explain and track progress and pitfalls during the remediation process. Reputable and trustworthy remediation specialists will be happy to provide the data necessary to justify the big investment you’re making toward environmental cleanup.

This information is crucial when quantifying the remediation expenditures with investors and other stakeholders. Facts and figures, when presented to your team, easily sum up the progress being made in a way that everyone can understand, digest, and quantify. This data is also important for environmental regulators who will evaluate and confirm compliance with rules and regulations prior to redevelopment.

Time and money: The most important metrics

Technical metrics are certainly important, but the right environmental consulting firm integrates business metrics as well. Developers have budget and scheduling obligations to maintain, and when a cleanup can easily run up both quickly, time and money can either make or break a smooth and successful land development deal. Therefore, it’s crucial that environmental remediation projects are associated with time and money incentives to ensure that all parties deliver on schedule, and without overspending.

That’s why EWMA developed SECUR-IT®. This program determines a guaranteed fixed-price remediation so developers can properly estimate and control costs in an unpredictable environment. Under this program, a single contract can cover all areas of concern at a project site, predetermines how long the remediation will take, how much it will cost, and provides a scope and a regulatory path to closure. All of this clearly defines what needs to be done, which objectives will be met, and most importantly, when and for how much it will be completed. Importantly, EWMA ties scope to performance indicators to further ensure that goals are met as planned.

EWMA prides itself on going beyond key technical issues. Sure, we’ll give you the nitty-gritty science of your remediation, but what’s most important is our commitment to your time and money. By integrating key environmental metrics with business metrics, we can ensure that the time and money you invest in your remediation is not only working, but worth it. We are moving the needle on a dollar-to-dollar basis, reinventing the value and future development investment.


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