Adaptation Strategies for Contaminated Site Management

  • Plantings
  • Evapotranspiration cover modification
    • Replacing existing vegetation with a plant mix more tolerant of long-term changes in precipitation or temperature, and/or soil addition will increase water storage capacity.

  • Construction at grade
    • Designing a new containment system to be built at the surface, instead of belowground, will minimize potential contact between groundwater and targeted waste (or an engineered liner) and prevent contamination.
  • Deposition controls
    • Engineered structures, such as dams, will control the flow of flood-related deposition in settings where increased underwater deposition enhances remedy performance.
  • Dewatering well system
    • Installing extraction wells at critical locations and depths will prevent or minimize groundwater upwelling into the waste zone of an aged landfill, waste consolidation unit, or lined engineered landfill.
  • Flare enclosure
    • Putting industrial-strength protective material that surrounds equipment used to ignite and combust excess landfill gas will help prevent contamination from escaping.
  • Flood controls
  • Leachate extraction upgrades
    • Installation of additional wells (and aboveground pumps) for leachate extraction in vulnerable areas will help prevent contamination from entering the water table.
  • Pipe burial
    • Installation of pipes below rather than above ground surface where feasible, particularly for landfill gas transfer, will reduce exposure to potential damage.
  • Power from off-grid sources
    • Constructing a permanent system or using portable equipment provides power generated from on-site renewable resources, as a primary or redundant power supply, that can operate independent of the utility grid when needed so the system can keep running even if power is lost.
  • Renewable energy system safeguards
    • Building extended concrete footing for ground-mounted photovoltaic systems, adding additional bracing for roof-top photovoltaic or solar thermal systems, and adding additional masts for small wind turbines or windmills will help protect the systems from damage. For utility-scale systems, safeguards to address climate change vulnerabilities may be addressed in the site-specific renewable energy feasibility study.
  • Retaining wall
  • Run-on controls
    • Building one or more earthen structures (such as vegetated berms, vegetated swales, or stormwater ponds) or installing fabricated drainage structures (such as culverts or French drains) at vulnerable locations will prevent stormwater accumulating at higher elevations from reaching a landfill/containment system and causing damage.
  • Tie down systems
    • Installing permanent mounts that allow rapid deployment of a cable system extending from the top of a unit to ground surface will hold structures in place in extreme weather events.
  • Well-head housing
    • Building insulated cover systems made of high-density polyethylene or concrete will protect control devices and sensitive equipment situated aboveground for long periods.

  • Alarm networks
    • Integrating a series of sensors linked to electronic control devices that trigger a shutdown of the system, or linked to audible/visual alarms that alert workers of the need to manually shut down the system, when specified operating or ambient parameters are exceeded will help prevent contaminants from leaving the system.
  • Hazard alerts
    • Using electronic systems that actively inform subscribers of extreme weather events or provide internet postings on local/regional weather and related conditions will inform managers when risk is high and they need to implement protective measures.
  • Modeling expression for MNA
    • Incorporating additional subsurface parameters and sampling devices in monitoring plans will gauge the potential for re-suspension of contaminated sediment under more extreme weather/climate scenarios.
  • Remote access
    • Integrating electronic devices that enable workers to suspend pumping or selected activities during extreme weather events, periods of impeded access or unexpected hydrologic conditions can prevent contaminants from being released from the system.
  • Weather alerts
    • Electronic systems actively inform subscribers of extreme weather events or provide internet postings on local/regional weather and related conditions to help prepare the system in the event of extreme weather.

  • Amendment settling enhancement
    • In situ placement of amendments through techniques such as broadcasting the material in a pelletized form or using a thicker layer of coversand will accelerate material settling.
  • Armor enhancement for in situ cap
    • Adding additional or deeper layers of stone and/or gravel above a sand base layer will help withstand scouring forces of ice jams.
  • Utility line burial
    • Relocating electricity and communication lines from overhead to underground positions will prevent power outages during and after extreme weather events.

  • Armor
    • Placing fixed structures on or along the shoreline of flowing inland water will help mitigate effects of erosion and protect site infrastructure. Soft armor may comprise of synthetic fabrics and/or deep-rooted vegetation while hard armor may consist of riprap, gabions and segmental retaining walls.
  • Armor enhancement for in situ cap
    • Adding additional or deeper layers of stone and/or gravel above a sand base layer will help withstand scouring forces of ice jams.
  • Amendment settling enhancement
    • In situ placement of amendments through techniques such as broadcasting the material in a pelletized form or using a thicker layer of coversand will accelerate material settling.
  • Coastal hardening
    • Installing structures will stabilize a shoreline and shield it from erosion, through "soft" techniques (such as replenishing sand and/or vegetation) or "hard" techniques (such as building a seawall or installing riprap).
  • Concrete pad fortification
  • Containment fortification
    • Placing riprap adjacent to a subsurface containment barrier located along moving surface water will help minimize bank scouring that could negatively affect barrier integrity. For soil/waste capping systems vulnerable to storm surge, installing a protective vertical wall or armored base to absorb the energy of the surge to prevent cap erosion or destruction.
  • Entombment
    • Enclosing vulnerable equipment or control devices in a concrete structure will prevent exposure to outside factors that could damage it.
  • Ground anchorage
  • Slope fortification
    • Anchoring a slope through the placement of concrete or rock elements against a slope and installing anchors and cables to secure the elements, or containing a slope through the placement of netting will hold back rock and debris to prevent damage to the system.
  • Tie down systems
    • Installing permanent mounts that allow the rapid deployment of a cable system extending from the top of a unit to the ground surface will hold structures in place in extreme weather events.

Source Documents

These strategies are adapted from The Climate Change Adaptation Technical Fact Sheet Series. For more information please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document.