Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center


Chart showing Contaminant Mass Removal Rate and Greenhouse Bas Emitted per Mass Removed over time



The goal of optimization efforts is to maximize the effectiveness of the remedial actions and removal actions used to clean up a contaminated site while minimizing the cost to achieve site closeout without sacrificing data quality and the ability to make environmentally protective decisions.

As more sites progress further in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) process, the Environmental Restoration (ER) Program will transition its focus from “assess, design, and remediate” to “monitor, adjust, and return to service.” This focus requires a commitment to the ongoing optimization of remedy performance and monitoring to assess progress towards meeting remedial action objectives (RAOs). 

Several options are available to modify or optimize remedial systems and monitoring programs to ensure that RAOs are met and site closeout is achieved in a timely and cost-effective manner.  Optimization may include activities such as improving existing remediation systems, utilizing scientific advances to select a more innovative remedy, and/or streamlining monitoring programs based on a more targeted analyte list and reduced sampling frequency or locations.





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Optimization Roadmap for CERCLA Projects

An optimization roadmap has been prepared which concisely summarizes relevant Navy policies, guidance, and tools applicable to the optimization of each CERCLA phase.


Click here to visit the Optimization Roadmap Webpage




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Optimization is important throughout the ER process to help to ensure that the most appropriate remedies are screened, evaluated, selected, designed, and properly operated and maintained.  Clearly defining the conceptual site model (CSM), establishing remedial action objectives (RAOs), and identifying target treatment zones will help to optimize the remedy selection stage by ensuring that the most appropriate alternatives are evaluated in the Feasibility Study.  Optimizing the remedial design should include preparing performance objectives for treatment technologies and remedial action exit strategies to maximize treatment effectiveness, while minimizing life-cycle costs.  Optimization during the Remedial Action and Long-Term Management (LTMgt) phase is then carried out to ensure adequate progress is made over time toward achieving remediation goals for the site.  More information on key optimization steps is provided below.

More detailed information on how to carry out specific optimization efforts throughout the CERCLA process can be found in the Navy policy and guidance section of this Web site.

-----Defining a CSM.  An important optimization component is the development of a well-defined CSM.  A CSM is a professional interpretation of site data that serves as a systematic planning instrument, a communication device, and an optimization and decision support tool.  The CSM is the basis for defining the RAOs, determining the restoration potential of the site, and evaluating the effectiveness of the existing remediation systems.  More information can be found in the publication-“DON Guidance for Optimizing Remedy Evaluation, Selections, and Design, NAVFAC ESC UG-2087-ENV (9 Mar 2010)”.

-----Establishing RAOs.  RAOs are site-specific project goals that are formed based on the constituents of concern (COCs), the impacted media, fate and transport of COCs, the exposure routes, and the potential receptors identified in the CSM. To the extent possible, the RAOs should represent a flexible approach towards the cleanup goals and should not be fixed and quantitative in nature.  More information can be found in the publication-“DON Guidance for Optimizing Remedy Evaluation, Selections, and Design, NAVFAC ESC UG-2087-ENV (9 Mar 2010)”.

-----Identifying Target Treatment Zones.  The target treatment zone is the volume or area at which the remedial action is determined to best apply. The selected target treatment zone has an important impact on the life cycle costs of the remediation project and often influences the length of time needed to achieve response complete at a given site.  More information can be found in the publication-“DON Guidance for Optimizing Remedy Evaluation, Selections, and Design, NAVFAC ESC UG-2087-ENV (9 Mar 2010)”.

-----Preparing Performance Objectives and Quantifying Green and Sustainable Remediation (GSR) Metrics.  Performance objectives are criteria that measure the operational efficiency and suitability of a particular remedial technology. They are typically distinct from RAOs because they take into account typical engineering performance and the limitations of the individual technology.  GSR metrics should also be considered taking into account a given technology’s impact on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, resource consumption, ecological impacts, air emissions, community impacts, and worker safety/accident risk.  More information can be found in the publication-“DON Guidance for Optimizing Remedy Evaluation, Selections, and Design, NAVFAC ESC UG-2087-ENV (9 Mar 2010)”.

-----Optimizing Remedy Performance and Using Treatment Trains.  Optimization may take many forms from simple and common sense steps to more complicated system changes and alterations.  A key optimization concept is that of sequential implementation of multiple remedial alternatives, also known as a treatment train.  For example, a treatment train may combine both an active remedial approach (for source removal) and a passive remedial approach (as a polishing step) in order to achieve cost-effective site cleanup.  The Navy has established the following steps for optimization during the remedial action operations phase: review and evaluate RAOs; evaluate remedy effectiveness; evaluate cost-effectiveness and sustainability; identify potential remedy improvements or alternatives; develop and prioritize optimization recommendations and footprint reduction methods; and prepare an optimization report and implement recommendations.  More information can be found in the publication “NAVFAC Guidance for Optimizing Remedial Action Operation, UG-NAVFAC EXWC-EV-1301 (1 October 2012)”.

-----Using Exit Strategies.  Exit strategies are a means of determining when it is time to stop, modify, or change a particular technology based on the achievement of previously established performance objectives.  It is important to develop sound exit strategies that are based on predictable system behavior and achievable end points.  Exit strategies should incorporate an understanding of typical engineering performance, technology limitations, and the regulatory framework.  More information can be found in the  publication “NAVFAC Guidance for Optimizing Remedial Action Operation, UG-NAVFAC EXWC-EV-1301 (1 October 2012)”.

-----Optimizing LTMgt Programs.  The primary objective of optimizing monitoring programs is to minimize monitoring costs without compromising program quality or effectiveness.  The key is to clearly define the monitoring program goals, identify the key decisions to be made during the monitoring program, identify the specific data objectives, update the CSM, and specify decision criteria to help make decisions and ultimately closeout the monitoring program.  More information can be found in the publication DON Guidance for Planning and Optimizing Monitoring Strategies, NAVFAC ESC UG-2081-ENV Rev1, (November 2010)”.




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  T2 Tools  

Green and Sustainable Remediation (GSR) Tool

This tool discusses the drivers promoting the use of GSR and defines the metrics to be considered when determining the environmental footprint of a remedial alternative.

Print/Text Version

Optimization Concepts Tool

This tool defines optimization and presents the overall concepts used when optimizing remedial actions. The Navy's systematic approach to optimization involves several steps such as developing a conceptual site model (CSM), remedial action objectives, remedial performance objectives, and an exit strategy.

Print/Text Version

SiteWise™ Tool - Developed by the Department of the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, & Battelle

The SiteWise™ tool is designed to calculate the environmental footprint of remedial alternatives. The tool is a series of Microsoft Excel™ sheets and provides an assessment of several quantifiable sustainability metrics including: GHG emissions; energy usage; electricity usage; criteria air pollutants; water usage; and accident risk. In addition to terrestrial sites, SiteWise™ Version 3.2 has been updated for sediment sites.

SiteWise™ 3.2 Files are located in the following .Zip File. Download the file to your computer to use the tool. 

SiteWise™ 3.2


Input Sheet

The input sheet is what is opened first and is the location where all data are entered.  The input sheet has a tab for each of the four Components of a remedy, which may be renamed to typical remedial phases: RI, FS, CMS, RAC, RA-O, and LTM.  It also includes the look-up table as a tab.  The lookup table contains referenced data that are used as the basis for calculating the GSR metrics.  The Input Sheet also includes a Calculations tab, where emissions resulting from custom electricity profiles and material requirements for groundwater monitoring wells may be calculated.  Lastly, it includes a Footprint Reduction tab, where emissions reduction technologies can be applied to the calculation of the remedy footprint.

Calculation Sheets (Components 1-4)

The worksheets representing Component 1, Component 2, Component 3, and Component 4 are referred to hereafter as calculation sheets.  These are linked to the input sheet such that they receive the data that were entered by the user into the input sheet.  The calculation sheets contain activities related to material production, transportation of personnel and materials, equipment use (pumps, electrical equipment, earthwork, and other miscellaneous equipment), and residual handling.  All activities are set up as different tabs of a worksheet.  The calculation sheets are not for data entry and are available to provide the user with an option to go into the backend of the tool to see how calculations are being done by SiteWiseTM (discussed further in Section 5.6). In addition, reviewing the calculation sheets allows the user to obtain detailed information about what specific aspects of the remedy are contributing the most to the remedy footprint.  For example, the user can see the footprint associated with each consumable and each piece of equipment.


The summary sheet can be used to review outputs from the different calculation sheets.  The summary sheet also has an extra tab that compares the components of the remedial alternative and helps identify the activities that result in the greatest footprint.  Summary sheets of the different remedial alternatives are linked to the final summary sheet that compares the different remedial alternatives.

Final Summary

The final summary file in the tool is for comparative analysis of multiple alternatives inputted into the tool.



SiteWise User Guide

SiteWise™ User Guide Version 3.2 (August 2019)

SiteWiseTM is designed to calculate the environmental footprint of remedial alternatives. The tool is a series of Excel sheets and provides a detailed assessment of several sustainability metrics.



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     Policy & Guidance           Publications         RITS             Related Sites    



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Policy and Guidance

Topics Title and Description

NAVFAC ER,N Program Directive for Quality Document review (QDR) of DON Installation Restoration Program (IRP) Sites (June 2018)



NAVFAC Guidance for Optimizing Remedial Action Operation, (October 2012)

This guidance document focuses on the most significant ways to design and optimize RA-O in order to maximize cost efficiency and minimize the remedy footprint, while maintaining effectiveness.  This guidance includes detailed explanations of the RA-O optimization process, technology-specific recommendations, and lessons learned from case studies.


DON Policy for Optimizing Remedial and Removal Actions at all Department of Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration Program Sites (April 2012)

The updated policy clarifies when optimization reviews are necessary and provides effective remedial strategies to meet remedial action objectives. It mandates the following actions be performed on DON sites: 1) green and sustainable remediation (GSR) be incorporated into the optimization process; 2) Perform a remedial alternatives analysis (RAA) to ensure sites have been effectively optimized; and 3) Ensure use of the SiteWise™ tool in all GSR actions. Finally, the policy recommends the use of the Management and Monitoring Approach (MMA) for DON sites to facilitate the documentation of effective monitoring efforts during the optimization process.


NAVFAC Remedial Alternatives Analysis (RAA) Guidance, Rev 4 (April 2012)

This guidance document describes the requirements for RAAs, the procedures for RAA preparation, and the review process for RAAs.


NAVFAC Remedial Alternatives Analysis (RAA) Template, (April 2012)

This document provides an editable version of the RAA template that includes information on the conceptual site model (CSM), risk summary, constituents of concern (COCs), remedial action objectives (RAOs), remedial goals, target treatment zones, and more.


DON Guidance on Green Sustainable Remediation, Rev.1 (April 2012)

This guidance document provides an overview of key GSR concepts. It includes a discussion of GSR metrics and how the Navy recommends incorporating these metrics into the ER process. A step-wise approach is discussed for the application of GSR techniques for projects in all phases of the ER process. Methods and tools for evaluating remedy footprint are discussed, along with case studies and recommended strategies for footprint reduction.


NAVFAC Guidance on Toolkit for Preparing CERCLA Records of Decision(September 2011)

This letter provides direction for the preparation of Navy decision documents using a new document titled Toolkit for Preparing CERCLA Records of Decision.  (See ROD Toolkit (2011) in Documents section of this Web site)


NAVFAC Tiered Approach for Developing Sampling and Analysis Plans, (June 2011)

This letter provides guidance for the use and development of sampling and analysis plans using a tiered approach and employing a systematic planning process.


UFP-SAP Tier I Sampling and Analysis Plan Template, NAVFAC (Feb 2011)

Enclosure 1 (one of two) to NAVFAC Tiered Approach for Developing Sampling and Analysis Plans (3 Jun 2011).


UFP-SAP Tier 2 Sampling and Analysis Plan Template, NAVFAC (Feb 2011)

Enclosure 2 (two of two) to NAVFAC Tiered Approach for Developing Sampling and Analysis Plans (3 Jun 2011).


DON Guidance for Planning and Optimizing Monitoring Strategies, NAVFAC ESC UG-2081-ENV Rev1, (November 2010)

This guidance document provides information on the planning and optimizing of monitoring programs for ER sites. Part I provides detailed discussion on considerations that are applicable to all monitoring programs.  Part II provides individual chapters that focus on monitoring for specific media types or specific site types including groundwater, sediments, groundwater discharge to surface water, ecological resources, vadose zone, landfills, and land use controls.


DON Guidance for Optimizing Remedy Evaluation, Selections, and Design, NAVFAC ESC UG-2087-ENV (March 2010)

This guidance provides a general overview and explanation of key optimization concepts as they pertain to the Feasibility Study (FS), Record of Decision (ROD), and Remedial Design (RD) cleanup phases, and provides recommendations for optimizing remedy selection and design.


DON Strategy Memo Streamlined Record of Decision Strategy ASN (I&E) (August 2007)

This policy promotes the use of a streamlined Record of Decision (ROD), which utilizes an innovative format and the latest electronic technology to present the remedy selection for a site.


DON Guidance to Documenting Milestones Throughout the Site Closeout Process, NAVFAC ESC UG-2072-ENV (March 2006)

The purpose of this guide is to outline a consistent approach to follow in recognizing and documenting specific milestones for achieving site closeout. This guide identifies the particular documents that are needed at appropriate stages of the closeout process to record agreements and concurrence of regulators. This guidance addresses closeout documentation requirements for varied regulatory frameworks.  Samples of concurrence letters and Record of Decision (ROD) language are provided in the appendices to assist RPMs in preparing concurrence documentation for their sites.




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Topic Title and Description




Environmental Statistics Fact Sheet (September 2019)

This fact sheet provides a condensed selection and discussion of important statistical methods used for the analysis of groundwater and soil data. The following topics are discussed: When is it appropriate to use statistics?, Which statistical methods can be used for groundwater and soil data sets?.  

Groundwater Sampling

Repeatable Multilevel Groundwater Sampling Fact Sheet (September 2019) 

Repeatable multilevel groundwater sampling refers to any mthod of groundwater sample collection from a single location, but at multiple depths below ground surface, repeatably over time. It is an additional tool to help characterize the site.  




Complex Challenges at Light-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL) Sites Fact Sheet (April 2017)

This fact sheet reviews specialized techniques and remediation technologies to address challenging site conditions and light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) sites. These challenges include co-contaminants, highly-heterogeneous conditions, and fractured rock.

Well Maintenance

Production Well Construction and Maintenance Fact Sheet (April 2017)

This fact sheet describes how to maintain the functioning of production wells (including groundwater extraction and reagent injection wells). Production well design is summarized, along with operation and maintenance considerations.



New Developments in LNAPL Site Management Fact Sheet (April 2017)

This fact sheet summarizes new developments in the area of natural source zone depletion (NSZD) and reviews key tools for evaluating the practicability of LNAPL recovery.




Sustainable Long Term Management of Landfills under the Navy's Environmental Restoration Program (April 2016)

Sustainable long-term management (SLM) helps to minimize the lifecycle depletion of energy, material resources, and financial resources. This fact sheet describes SLM strategies that may be suitable for landfills managed under the Environmental Restoration (ER) and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) programs. Issues addressed include passive controls, optimized landfill cap design and maintenance, long-term monitoring, beneficial reuse, clean closure considerations, and shoreline erosion protection issues


Management and Monitoring Approach (MMA) Toolkit (November 2015)



Site Closeout

Remedial Action Completion in the Navy's Site Closeout Process Fact Sheet (November 2014)

This fact sheet clarifies documenting remedial action completion activities supporting National Priorities List (NPL) delisting under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).


Five Year Review Toolkit (19 December 2013)



GSR-Integrating Green Sustainable Remediation Metrics within the CERCLA Process during the Feasibility Study (July 2012)

This white paper focuses on Navy GSR metrics and their incorporation into the nine criteria for alternatives analysis during remedy evaluation phase.  An example case study of GSR being incorporated into the remedy selection process is also provided.


Management and Monitoring Approach Presentation (3 May 2012)

This document presents a standardized approach for site management and documentation and optimization of post-Record of Decision (ROD) site management and monitoring.


Management and Monitoring Approach Presentation Attachment-Optimization Tools (3 May 2012)

This attachment to the MMA includes a summary of software tools such as GTS, MAROS, Natural Attenuation Software, REMchlor, SADA, SitewiseTM, Summit, and others.


ROD Toolkit, U.S. EPA (2011)

This document summarizes several communication and graphical tools that can be used to effectively convey information in a concise manner, while presenting the full rationale for remedy selection. It includes sixteen exhibits with recommendations on ways to improve the quality and transparency of data presentation in a streamlined ROD.


LNAPL Site Management Handbook (30 November 2010)

The handbook provides an overview of effective strategies for managing LNAPL-contaminated sites to ensure protectiveness of human health and the environment, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary and prolonged remedial efforts.


Risk Management

Groundwater Risk Management Handbook (25 January 2008)

This handbook provides an overview of challenging site conditions for groundwater plumes and summarizes risk management strategies such as establishing points of compliance (POCs), alternate concentration limits (ACLs), performing mixing zone analyses, and technical impracticability (TI) waivers.


DNAPL Management Overview Handbook, NAVFAC (April 2007)

This handbook provides an introduction on how to manage DNAPL contamination at a site. Because DNAPL sites can be very challenging, this document focuses heavily on the limitations of characterizing and removing DNAPL, and how to make realistic management decisions in the midst of these uncertainties.







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Related Sites

Title and Description

NAVFAC Optimization Roadmap Webpage 
An optimization roadmap has been prepared, which concisely summarizes relevant Navy policies, guidance, and tools applicable for each CERCLA phase.  It also provides tips for the development of optimization and green and sustainable remediation (GSR) strategies throughout the CERCLA process.

NAVFAC Green and Sustainable Remediation Web Page

This Web page is a collection of resources for Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) who are interested in implementing green and sustainable remediation (GSR) practices. The Department of the Navy (DON) GSR metrics are discussed, along with methodologies for determining the environmental footprint of a remedial alternative.  The SiteWiseTM software and associated training materials are also available on this Web page.

NAVFAC Long Term Management (LTMgt) Web Page

This Web page provides links to resources that contain information related to implementing and optimizing LTMgt at IR sites.

NAVFAC Optimization Work Group Page

The goal of the Optimization Work Group is to promote the optimization of remedial actions (including monitoring) with the ultimate purpose of achieving efficient, protective, and cost-effective site closures

FRTR Remedial System Optimization and Evaluation

Remediation Process Optimization (RPO) involves systematic monitoring and evaluation to detect and respond to changes in performance. System optimization offers benefits that include enhanced protectiveness, reduced cost, shortened cleanup times, and the increased likelihood of site closeout.

ITRC Remediation Process Optimization

Guidance documents that address how RPO is used to systematically evaluate and manage uncertainty associated with the remediation process.

USACE Remediation System Evaluation (RSE)

A series of check lists created by USACE to increase the effectiveness of existing long-term remediation systems.

US EPA CLU-IN Remedial Optimization

This Web page is a resource for EPA optimization efforts. It provides information on optimization-related EPA demonstration projects as well as optimization-related fact sheets developed by EPA.


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