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Natural Resource Damage Assessments

The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process promulgated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) calculates the monetary cost of restoring injuries to natural resources that result from releases of hazardous substances.

Damages are evaluated by identifying the functions or "services" provided by the resources, determining the baseline level of the services provided by the injured resource(s), and quantifying the reduction in service levels as a result of the release of contaminants. By developing realistic estimates of risk, the uncertainty and conservatism of cleanup levels are reduced, resulting in more cost-effective remedial solutions.

The collective experience of Geosyntec's practitioners has shown that a "removal first" approach to addressing impacted sites is not always cost-effective, has often failed to address the actual risk from contaminants of concern, and may ultimately result in more ecological harm to the environment. Geosyntec's approach is to identify the risk and develop an adaptive management strategy to address this risk through a combination of monitored natural recovery, removal, capping, and institutional control measures.

We also recognize the importance of restoration in addressing remedial impacts as well as providing value through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. This comprehensive approach provides a cost-effective solution and addresses the true risk, thereby resulting in effective remediation.

The complexity of sites regulated under CERCLA and OPA, and the need to focus on risk both to support investigation and selection of remedial methods as well as potential NRDA claims, requires an excellent technical reputation and working relationship with regulators. While the federal government's mandate is to focus on risk mitigation, at the local level it is often a challenge to build the consensus for innovative remedies.

Geosyntec personnel have the experience necessary to work with state regulators and federal officials to develop logical and effective remedial approaches that cost-effectively and efficiently mitigate current and future site risk. Our experience allows us to approach sediment sites with a proven approach that is acceptable to regulators.

We offer clients a hands-on understanding of the NRDA process that addresses potential restoration opportunities during the remedial alternative evaluation phase. We also possess the ability to tackle both common and emerging risk drivers, including microbial and radiological effects, chemicals, metals (lead, arsenic, etc.), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.