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Cost & Time Savings

The summaries below highlight noteworthy cost and/or time savings documented in the Triad Project Profiles. Click on a project name to view the full project profile.

Under the conventional sampling approach, soil, soil gas, and groundwater samples would have been analyzed for a full suite of chemicals, resulting in unnecessary analytical expenses. Source area soil and groundwater samples were initially analyzed for a comprehensive list of compounds. After the first phase of sampling, compounds that were not detected were excluded from further sampling and analysis. Without the use of Site Characterization and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) Cone Penetrometer Test / Membrane Interface Probe (CPT/MIP), monitoring wells would have been installed 'blind' without knowledge of solvent-impacted hydrogeologic units and detailed stratigraphic data for optimal well screen placement. Substantial cost savings were recognized by first developing the hydrogeologic CSM through the use of CPT/MIP coupled with direct sampling ion trap mass spectrometry (DSITMS). If the conventional approach of installing step-out monitoring wells was used, the site would have remained uncharacterized because the wells would not have revealed the full extent of the complex, multifaceted plume. The high-resolution data provided by the CPT/MIP results revealed that the VOCs followed preferential stratigraphic pathways and migrated deeper in the aquifer than previously expected. Through the use of SCAPS with CPT/MIP, there was an overall reduction in the number of soil and soil gas samples and monitoring well installations than would have been required by the conventional approach.

The project team identified cost and time savings associated with a real-time dynamic work strategy (DWS) using CPT/DSITMS for soil and groundwater analysis. The use of CPT/DSITMS instead of conventional drilling technologies with off-site laboratory analysis was estimated to represent a 30% realized cost savings.

The Site was characterized using inexpensive FAMs during a single field sampling event, thereby saving costs associated with multiple sampling events. The cost of the incremental investigation using the Triad Approach was estimated at $30,000 versus the approximate conventional investigation cost of $400,000 estimated for previous data collection activities at the Site. (The costs to implement the Triad would have been greater if the data from the conventional investigation were not available.) By using principles of the Triad Approach, the estimate for remedial action costs were lowered from initial estimates of $14.35 million to $0.76 million, a reduction of 94% of the total costs.

The investigation, remediation, and site close-out activities were compressed into one field deployment that lasted several days. The work resulted in a very precise removal of contaminated material, providing the site owner with significant disposal cost savings by minimizing waste streams. The project team estimates that the use of real-time measurement techniques resulted in an analytical cost savings of more than 50%.

Overall, using the Triad Approach resulted in about $80K in direct cost reductions and an estimated $450 K in cost avoidance. Time savings was estimated to be approximately two years.

The Navy estimated an analytical savings of $165,000 using the DOE's efficient hexagonal grid sampling system.

Savings for thermal treatment at former NAS Barbers Point versus off site transport and disposal were estimated at $24 million.

More than 44,500 cy of contaminated soil from 82 sites was excavated, treated, and placed back on site as clean fill in less than 2 years.

A consolidated remediation verification report (RVR) for most sites associated with thermal treatment of PCB-contaminated soil and concrete is being developed. The report consolidates information from seven previously prepared RVRs, resulting in time and cost savings to the Navy.

Although no quantitative estimates of cost or time savings have been developed by the project team, there is general concurrence among the stakeholders that the Triad produced a cheaper, faster, and better PA/SI than the conventional approach could have produced. Unlike many PA/Sis, the project was performed in a single mobilization, with a significant reduction in analytical cost due to the small number of samples shipped to the fixed laboratory for off-site analysis.

Although no quantitative estimates of cost or time savings have been developed by the project team, there is general concurrence among the stakeholders that the Triad produced a cheaper, faster, and better remedial action than the conventional approach could have. Cost and time benefits were assessed even after accounting for the additional upfront systematic planning, Work Plan preparation, and the DMA that were performed under the Triad. The increased costs and longer remediation timeframes for the conventional approach were projected to include additional mobilizations to the Site with accompanying sampling and analysis plans. Moreover, because the exclusive use of fixed-base laboratory methods under a conventional approach would have produced higher per sample costs, the project team might have had to base remedial decisions on lower data densities. Lower data densities in combination with longer laboratory turnaround times would have resulted in higher disposal costs, given that contaminated areas of the Site would have been defined at a lower level of resolution, and that downtime or additional mobilizations would have been incurred in waiting for results. The conventional approach would have resulted in higher site uncertainty, therefore, more likely leading to overestimates of excavation areas to reduce the risk of an incorrect disposal decision (that is, leaving contaminated material in place).

Overall cost savings for the project were estimated at 35 percent when compared to a "conventional approach" to site characterization. The project team assessed these savings even after accounting for the additional upfront SPP efforts, revised Work Plan preparation, and the DMA that was performed under the Triad.

Costs for the conventional approach assumed two mobilizations and accompanying sampling and analysis plans. Lower data density and higher analytical costs were also assumed when using a conventional approach with exclusive use of fixed-base laboratory analyses.

The project team further estimated a time savings of approximately 1 year, assuming that a conventional approach would have required at least two mobilizations performed over two 1-year TBA funding cycles.

The work was accomplished with minimal mobilizations, because the necessary quantity and quality of data were collected in each phase. Reduced mobilizations results in less time needed to plan and fund additional phases.

Cost savings are estimated at 40-50% based on avoiding the likely need to nearly double the number of sampling points required for the Triad Approach if a standard grid was implemented with no adaptive ability to optimize sampling locations based on near real-time data. The time savings is estimated at 1-2 years based on avoiding the need to develop and approve plans for additional field mobilizations and implement contracting for additional mobilizations.

A primary goal of the project was to use EPA's Triad Approach and HRSC methods to increase data density, potentially driving down removal and treatment costs by more effectively defining the source areas requiring aggressive remediation techniques. Triad and HRSC allowed for accurate delineation of contamination, therefore, an accurate evaluation and costing of remedial alternatives was developed with a minimum number of mobilizations to outline a remedial strategy to the satisfaction of the project stakeholders.

The membrane interface probe (MIP) investigation saved an estimated $75,000 in repeated mobilizations.

Cost comparisons were made at the three sites where previous assessments had been performed and multiple data gaps still existed. The three conventional assessments cost $35K, $63K, and $103K. The respective Triad HRSC assessments cost $30K (14% savings), $31K (51%savings), and $31K (70% savings). This corresponds to a total savings of $109K for the three sites compared with funds previously spent to assess these sites. This is a less than perfect comparison since the Triad assessments built on the knowledge gained from the conventional assessments. Thus, it may not be appropriate to equate the conventional to the Triad assessment costs and obtain a cost savings. However, the incongruity in the comparison is somewhat offset by the fact that the conventional assessments left the investigators with uncertainty regarding the CSM, while the Triad-based HRSC tended to remove those uncertainties. For the two sites that did not have previous investigations, the Triad HRSC costs were $25K and $32K. In addition, sufficient data were collected at each site to develop CAPs and move the sites out of the investigation phase, where they had been for more than 10 years.

Comparisons of analytical cost savings were not conducted; however, evaluation of fixed-base laboratory data indicates that soil and water samples were collected at approximately one third of the MIP locations, resulting in significant savings and more efficient use of project resources.

The project team estimated cost savings of nearly $25,000 in analytical costs alone. Substantially more cost savings were likely achieved by reducing the amount of time required to make decisions about when sufficient soil had been excavated. The project team estimated that at least five full days of excavation and backfill operations were trimmed from the project. However, no further estimate was made for the amount of cost savings based on the time saved.

Continuously monitoring the performance of the field-based data against the laboratory methods provided part of the $25,000 in analytical cost savings. When it was noted that the industrial FBAL was overly conservative, the FBAL was revised to reduce cost while still meeting the target RALs. For more detail, see the sections on Dynamic Work Plans and Decision Logic in this Triad Profile.

Cost savings have been estimated as greater than 50% by the Air Force. Costs associated with the investigation and remedial actions have totaled $1.2 million during government fiscal years 2003 through 2007, and the Air Force has estimated that $1.34 million in savings was realized by using the Triad program.

Time savings were estimated as 18 to 24 months (three to five times the total length of the 5-month Triad program).

  • Cost savings - the cost of Color-Tec® analysis per sample was $10, for an estimated total expense of $14,500 for 1,300 analyses. If these samples were sent to a fixed-base laboratory, CVOC analysis costs would have been approximately $100 per sample totaling $130,000 (and this cost does not include surcharges for fast TAT results).
  • Time savings – the estimated time from sample collection to results available is 10 minutes for Color-Tec®, and is no less than 10 to 14 days for fixed-based laboratory analysis.

Additional cost and time savings were realized from the use of Color-Tec® by reducing or avoiding other project efforts such as 1) preparation and validation of fixed-based laboratory analytical data packages, 2) preparation of Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) and Work Plan Addenda for follow-on investigation activities, and 3) additional field mobilizations and fixed-base laboratory costs associated with follow-on investigations to address data gaps. Color-Tec® data cost is 10% or less of the cost of fixed-based laboratory data and can further reduce or eliminate costly future additional investigation phases.

Cost and time savings have not been estimated at this time. However, a primary goal of the project was to use the Triad Approach to perform a DWS sampling program using multiple DSTs to increase data density, driving down ultimate removal costs by more effectively isolating and removing those contaminants requiring high cost disposal.

  • Cost: The Cr6 laboratory analysis cost $160/sample. With nearly 600 samples the total cost could have run as high as $96,000 for laboratory analysis alone. The use of FP-XRF allowed the team to make decisions based on only 100 laboratory analyses for an analytical cost savings of $80,000 (over 80%).
  • Time: Time saved from the investigation includes turnaround time from fixed-base laboratory versus field-based analysis. FP-XRF allowed the team to conduct quick statistical assessments and submit appropriate samples for laboratory analysis all within sample holding times. Without this screening ability, costly additional sampling efforts would have been necessary to achieve adequate characterization.

The cost savings using this approach are estimated at 50% relative to traditional methods involving discrete and repetitive geology and hydrogeology investigations at specific IRP sites and AOCs.

Millions of dollars have been saved and years of effort eliminated as a result of Triad-based program management. Following a less regimented process has allowed phases of work to be combined or completely eliminated at various sites, dramatically compressing the long-term schedule. On-board reviews conducted at the partnering table helped accelerate field schedules and allowed quick resolution of issues that might otherwise have been discussed for months via formal correspondence.

Rapid delineation saved $60,000 and six months. Life-cycle cleanup cost savings were $1.8 million and 12 years over the existing pump-and-treat system. Forward First Planning (F2P) accelerated remediation savings were $200,000 for new construction.

Using the Triad Approach resulted in cost savings estimated at $3 million and a schedule savings of approximately 6 years compared to a conventional approach.

Cost and time savings have not been quantified by the project team. Team consensus, however, was that the HRSC approach using the ROSTTM in conjunction with other collaborative tools provided the high-density data collection needs for the site much more efficiently and with greater overall accuracy than would be possible with a conventional drilling and sampling program.

Without the on-site laboratory, the field team would have needed quick turnaround analysis from off-site laboratories to keep the expensive removal equipment operating. Based on financial data obtained from the Air Force, the use of an on-site laboratory saved more than 50 percent of the project’s potential analytical costs for off-site laboratories (actual total analytical cost was approximately $730,000 versus total estimated cost of $1,560,000 using an off-site laboratory). Since the total cost of OU-13 was almost $15,000,000, the on-site analysis alone saved 5 percent of the total project cost.

In addition, using a Triad Approach provided the Air Force with further cost savings because OU-13 required ecological restoration after the soil excavation was complete. Early in the remediation process, the project team found that the flexibility provided by the on-site laboratory allowed it to modify the general restoration plan in real-time to fit the remedial excavation activities and begin the restoration efforts almost in tandem. Although the team originally planned to do the remediation in two construction seasons and the restoration in the third season, the restoration was actually completed with the removal activities in the second construction season saving a year in time and additional mobilization and labor costs. Because remediation of the entire site cost about $15,000,000 for less than two full seasons of work, if a third season had been required, the project would have likely cost at least another $5,000,000.

The project team estimates that this small project (the soil delineation and excavation program cost only $9,000) yielded approximately $15,000 in cost savings and a minimum of approximately 3 weeks in time savings relative to a traditional phased approach, primarily because the number and length of mobilizations were minimized, and the time between the mobilizations was also minimized.

No formal cost comparison was performed; however, cost avoidance based on system optimization and reduced lag time between data collection and decision-making is expected to be significant.

The project team estimated that use of the Triad Approach for site characterization resulted in a 30 percent cost savings compared with an equivalent conventional characterization approach. In this estimate, the conventional approach is assumed to involve additional mobilizations and fixed-base laboratory analytical methods. In addition to saving costs, use of the Triad Approach and HRSC increased the density and quality of the data set used to make decisions about the site. A conventional approach would not, for example, have been cost-effective for collecting a density of data comparable to that obtained using the PDB samplers, which allowed evaluation of groundwater discharge to surface water every 25 feet over a quarter mile stretch of the river.

No cost savings evaluation was developed. However, the compressed time frame of the Triad investigation (see the "Triad Project Benefits" section) would be expected to produce significant cost savings relative to a multiphase investigation process.

Cost and time savings were not quantified. However, it is believed the Triad Approach helped to reduce the overall project cost by saving time and money in the following ways:

  • Real time measurements (coupled with QC procedures to ensure accuracy) allowed the collection of a large, high-resolution data set with high site coverage (that is, high "data density") in a single mobilization.
  • Pre-excavation data sets supported a fixed price contract for excavation work based on a high confidence in the underlying contaminated soil volume estimate.
  • Rapid data analysis allowed remedial design and remedial action to proceed in a relatively short time period with only limited additional data needs.

In the assessment of the project team, the use of real-time field tools under the Triad Approach significantly reduced overall analytical costs and delays by minimizing the number of samples requiring expensive alpha spectroscopy analyses for radionuclides at off-site laboratories.

The project team assessed a verifiable cost savings of $300,000 based on estimated versus final soil excavation volumes. The lead potentially responsbile party (PRP) further estimated that the project saved them approximately $30 million in anticipated liability based on the buyouts received from other potential PRPs for the site.

Based on past experience at Avon Park and other similar USAF installations, the approximate cost of conducting a SI would have been $250,000 per site. Since all four sites included in the initial Triad implementation at Avon Park would have required an RI, the cost per site would have increased by $500,000. The programmatic budget to completely delineate all four sites would have been between $3.1-3.3 million (estimated).

Contractor expenses for the work actually completed at the time this profile was written was approximately $1.42 million. When government oversight and participation is added in at an estimated rate of 10%, the total cost of the project using the Triad approach is estimated at $1.6 million. Based on above programmatic budget estimate of $3.1 to $3.3 million, the cost of implementing the Triad Approach at Avon Park is therefore estimated to have resulted in a 50% reduction in the cost of a SI and RI using more conventional investigative procedures.

In addition to a significant cost savings, the consensus of the project team is that implementation of the Triad approach at Avon Park advanced progress at the four sites by approximately 3 years. Compressing the SI and RI investigations into one mobilization eliminated a whole phase of data interpretation, document production, and review resulting in lower project costs in a shorter timeframe.

No formal cost comparison was performed. Because the high-resolution, Triad-based approach minimized the number of mobilizations necessary to characterize the site, it is estimated that months of time and thousands of dollars were saved.

No formal cost comparison was performed for the project as a whole because comparative costs for a "traditional" cleanup were difficult to estimate. The project team estimated an analytical cost savings of approximately $5,000. In addition, the Triad approach helped to reduce the overall cleanup cost by saving time and money in the following ways:

  • Real time measurements determined when construction was complete. Once FPXRF samples passed the decision criteria, no additional excavation was required in the area, contingent on ICP analysis.
  • Increased data densities from the FPXRF refined the cleanup volumes to limit or avoid over-excavation.
  • Quicker buyoff on the cleanup was obtained from the regulatory agency upon project completion.

A quantitative evaluation of cost savings was not performed by the project team or stakeholders. However, the Triad approach allowed for the combined site investigation (SI) and remedial investigation (RI) activities (including plan and report preparation) to be compressed into less than a three-month period. Schedule-wise, the project team estimated a time savings of six months to a year. The total costs of the field investigation, including off-site confirmatory analytical samples was $32,727. This investigation was completed over four days.

The success of the brief field program in characterizing the Site without the need for additional mobilizations may have produced significant cost- as well as time-savings over a traditional "phased" approach. Moreover, using lower cost field-based methods allowed for the collection of more samples during the field investigation, which reduced the uncertainty of site characterization.

No cost or time savings have been quantified. However, a conventional SI approach, employing more limited judgmental ("worst case") sampling, may have resulted in the Site being unnecessarily designated for the Superfund Remedial program, which would have had significant cost and time implications.

Characterization, cleanup, and closure were accomplished in a single 4-month field mobilization. The project cost of $589,000 was about half the $1.2 million estimated for a more traditional site characterization and remediation scenario. That scenario would have required multiple rounds of field mobilization, sampling, sample shipment, laboratory analysis, and data assessment. The dynamic approach resulted in substantial savings in the areas of soil analysis and waste transport and disposal.

No formal cost comparison was performed. It is estimated that months of time and thousands of dollars were saved.

Cost avoidance estimated at $2.5 M was realized, and the site characterization and cleanup schedule was reduced by approximately 3 years.

The incremental cost of the field IA program was approximately $24,000, or 16% of the overall investigation cost of $147,000. Cost savings were not the emphasis of this study because 100% of the IA samples were subjected to off-site laboratory analyses in order to generate a collaborative data set. However, the activity demonstrated that the IA in conjunction with site visualization can accelerate nature and extent characterizations for PCBs in sediments. The low relative cost and high data generation rate for the kits further showed how a more accurate CSM can be developed through high data densities and in-field decision-making.

A retrospective analysis of the patterns available at various stages of the investigation (short- and intermediate-term with partial fixed-base laboratory data, and after all data were in hand) suggests that the key CSM questions were answered largely by the field method; that is, patterns were discernible that supported both upstream flow and bank-origin collocated plumes. Numerous prior phases of sampling had been performed that had failed to identify the boundaries of contamination. This sampling finally answered the major CSM questions in a single mobilization largely using field-based methods, and further sampling activities will not be required prior to the design phase of site response.

The cost and schedule savings using the Triad Approach were significant. The Army had spent over $500,000 and 3 years working to arrive at the point where the Triad Approach was implemented. From that point on, the Army spent approximately $75,000 in developing the Systematic Planning Outline and AREE 34 Work Plan, and another $135,000 for the field work, all of which was accomplished in 11 months. Including the final analysis and Summary Report, the total Triad effort cost approximately $260,000 and took 15 months. At the end of this expedited time frame, a tentative agreement on a proposed remedy for the site was reached with the regulators.

As a comparison, had this site continued using the conventional iterative investigation approach used previously, it would have likely taken at least another 3 years and $500,000, assuming the sampling plan successfully resulted in samples being collected in the right places. This assumption is based on the need to put in at least another 26 temporary monitoring wells followed by installation and sampling of an additional 4 to 6 permanent monitoring wells based on the results of the temporary monitoring wells. These costs were avoided by using the Triad Approach as it investigated the designated area quickly and provided high-resolution data that supported CSM confirmation. By eliminating almost 2 years of conventional investigation, the Triad Approach not only saved money on investigative costs, it saved money on project lifecycle costs by reducing the costs of regulatory and Army efforts to manage the site while an extended investigation occurred. In addition, by resulting in a quicker resolution at AREE 34, the regulatory and Army personnel were allowed to focus their time and energy on other environmental cleanup sites.

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