Selection Process for Choosing Properties for Remediation
IDEQ and its contractors must consider many issues when selecting which properties to remediate next. Some elements that guide the selection process are human health risk level, location within the Basin, weather, how near the property is to repositories, sample results, completion of paperwork and construction management issues.
Of the criteria we control, the human health risk level is the greatest. We identify properties where those people reside who have been found to have a higher level of risk associated with exposure to heavy metals. High-priority properties are inhabited by children age six and under and/or pregnant women. To determine if a property meets the high-priority requirements, a property owner is asked to fill out a Participant Information Form. The form is then evaluated by IDEQ staff and categorized accordingly.
In general, the project focuses on Upper Basin target areas because clean Upper Basin areas will be less likely to (re)contaminate properties lower in the Basin in the event of flooding. However, earlier and later in the season, the project focuses on lower-elevation areas where less snow is likely to be on the ground. We also remediate gravel properties earlier and later in the season because they can be worked when it is too wet for soil and sod.
Another integral piece of the remediation puzzle is sampling. We need sample results for a property to know if it is contaminated with lead or arsenic. If it is found to be contaminated, the sampling results are used to prescribe a remedy, or cleanup plan, that tells the contractor what materials to remove when remediating the property. In addition to sample results, IDEQ needs to have access agreements and other documents signed by property owners to proceed with the remediation. Planning documents like site visit information, maps and construction plans for each property are necessary for remediation.
Lastly, construction management issues are addressed when decisions are made about the order of property remediation. This includes concerns like the number of available contractors, the area they are currently working in; and the availability of labor, equipment, sod, topsoil, and gravel.
Given the complexities of the project, IDEQ’s goal is to get to each property as soon as possible, and to do high-quality remediation work in an efficient and safe manner.