Comparing Two Remediation Alternatives for Diesel-Contaminated Soil in the Arctic Using Life Cycle Assessment
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Contaminated sites in the Arctic pose risks to the environment and human health, and provide a major challenge to scientists attempting to carry out remediation on these sites. This project examines background information on the Arctic, the unique challenges that the Arctic poses for remediation, the types of remediation technologies that can be applied to the Arctic, and how life cycle assessment can be used to determine the effectiveness of remediation in the Arctic. This information is then applied to a theoretical case study involving remediation of a diesel spill within the city limits of Iqaluit, Nunavut. A simplified life cycle assessment is used to examine the benefits and drawbacks of landfarming within Iqaluit city limits versus shipping contaminated soil south to a landfill. This assessment is accomplished through comparison of toxicity to those involved in the remediation, length of time required for remediation, CO2 output from the remediation itself, and economic benefits to the community. Landfarming was found to be the better technique overall, as it has lower CO2 production and has greater financial benefits to the community of Iqaluit. However, it is a more time consuming process, and may result in higher toxicity due to volatilization of diesel.