Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Environmental Sustainability Division

Projects & Programs

Characterization of Systems// Remediation Decision Support Project


Top: Borehole geologic soil samples.
Bottom: Soil samples.


General conceptual model of Hanford Site subsurface. Click for larger version.

PNNL researchers have been providing an integrated systems approach to the collection, compilation, and dissemination of technical data and conceptual model information for the Hanford Site since establishment of the Hanford Site Groundwater/Vadose Zone (GW/VZ) Integration Project in late 1997. These efforts have facilitated the use of consistent data, parameters, and conceptual models to resolve technical issues and provide scientific support to risk assessments and remediation efforts.

The primary objectives of this work have been to:

  • Consolidate, maintain, and communicate technical baseline information and data to serve as the foundation for all conceptual models and parameter assumptions
  • Facilitate the development of consistent and defensible conceptual models to serve as a basis for organizing and addressing cross-cutting technical issues
  • Provide conceptual model and parameter data package support to specific assessments
  • Facilitate the coordination and integration of field characterization work and assessment modeling approaches.

The data and knowledge developed, consolidated, and managed by PNNL researchers has formed the foundation for defensible environmental assessments that influence decisions regarding Hanford Site operations, waste management, and waste site remediation.

This work has been closely linked with a number of Hanford Site projects, and most recently, has provided direct support to the Soil and Groundwater Remediation Project (managed by CH2MHill Plateau Remediation Company). The project has provided technical baseline datasets, data packages, and conceptual model tools to support environmental assessments and influence cleanup decisions. Project results have also filled data gaps and resolved crosscutting technical issues, and supported the development and configuration management of conceptual models and key parameter data sets for the Hanford Site.

Key accomplishments of the project include:

  • Compiled, cataloged, and developed databases for numerous baseline datasets including: receptor data, atmospheric data, ecologic data, recharge data, inventory data, waste form/release data; geophysical surveys; borehole data; physical, mineralogical, geochemical, and hydrologic properties; aquifer tests; etc.
  • Developed a number of interpreted data sets including: geologic contact data; assessment parameter data sets; and 3D geologic/hydrogeologic models
  • Completed numerous data packages and conceptual model reports to support site-wide and site-specific assessments.
  • Conducted research into a number of technical issues (such as retardation and degradation rates, upscaling and the effects of gravel on hydraulic and geochemical properties)
  • Adapted the Features, Events, and Processes methodology to assist conceptual model development, track assumptions and key issues, and improve completeness and defensibility of risk assessments.

Earth Systems Science External

ESSD Capabilities

ESSD Technical Groups

Related Links

Additional Information