At the end of May, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) issued draft Green Remediation guidance for public review and comment. The comment period ends June 25, 2021.
Ecology will include the green remediation guidance as an appendix to Ecology’s 2017 publication on Adaptation Strategies for Resilient Cleanup Remedies.
The green remediation guidance identifies a process for selecting BMPs based on site-specific considerations. As proposed, green remediation would have five metrics and associated goals. The metrics are: (1) energy; (2) air; (3) materials and waste; (4) water; and (5) land and ecosystems. As an example of green remediation goals, for the energy metric, one related goal is to minimize the use of non-renewable fuels.
To facilitate the selection of BMPs, the guidance contains three Tiers based on site needs and complexity. Each Tier is associated with a process for identifying BMPs that are “best suited” for the site.
Depending on the Tier, Ecology also recommends the use of a Green Remediation Environmental Evaluation Numeric (GREEN) Tool for evaluating the efficacy of the BMPs. The guidance contemplates the use of environmental footprint analytical tools, including Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis and SiteWise, as an alternative to the GREEN Tool for complex sites. The guidance identifies additional green remediation resources, which users of Ecology’s guidance may wish to consult as well.
Ecology’s green remediation guidance is reflective of a general trend toward sustainable remediation practices, which seek to evaluate and address the environmental impacts of cleanups in a holistic fashion. EPA, for example, has developed a package of green remediation resources to consider as part of the Superfund program. The Sustainable Remedial Forum, a nonprofit group, also seeks to increase the use of sustainable remediation practices.
 Ecology will also consider green remediation BMPs in remedial action grant decision-making.
 According to WAC 173-322A-100(24), the term “highly impacted community” means “a community that the department [i.e., Ecology] has determined is likely to bear a disproportionate burden of public health risks from environmental pollution.” Ecology is considering revisions to its Cleanup Rule that would further refine the definition of highly impacted communities and how they should be involved as part of the cleanup process.
 Ecology plans to retitle the Adaptation Strategies for Resilient Remedies publication to Sustainable Remediation.
 At the federal level, green remediation efforts may take on new significance in light of President Biden’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gases and promoting environmental justice.