Site characterization is a set of site-specific activities designed to identify and understand contaminants and contaminant sources at a site.
All sites in the VRP require site characterization, which helps ensure:
Site characterization involves undertaking the following activities to support identification of a site-specific remedy:
DEQ will evaluate the adequacy of site characterization using performance criteria and good engineering and geological practices.
Site characterization performance criteria are drawn from the requirements for preliminary remediation agreements (Factsheet #21 Remedy Selection) and the VRP cleanup standards (see Factsheet #12 Soil Cleanup Levels and Factsheet #13 Groundwater Cleanup Levels).
A site conceptual model is a description of the surface and subsurface of a site and the site environmental setting. This description includes the following:
A Volunteer should create the site conceptual model early in the process using known information about the site and then update it as site characterization moves forward.
The Site Conceptual Model organizes site information in a way that highlights data gaps and focuses site characterization activities.
General expectations for site characterization are negotiated in a preliminary remediation agreement. From there, specific activities are developed in a site-specific characterization work plan that is submitted by the Volunteer for DEQ review and approval.
Site characterization work plans describe the site conceptual model and the specific activities required to complete site characterization, which include:
For more detailed information, please refer to Factsheet #8 Site Characterization.