The US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management has supported independent technical reviews of soil and groundwater projects at multiple DOE sites over the last 10 years. These reviews have resulted in significant design improvements to remedial plans that have accelerated cleanup and site closure. Many have also resulted in improved understanding of complex subsurface conditions, promoting better approaches to design and implementation of new technologies. Independent technical reviews add value, because they provide another perspective to problem solving and act as a check for especially challenging problems. By bringing in a team of independent experts with a broad experience base, alternative solutions are recommended for consideration and evaluation. In addition, the independence of the panel is significant, because it is able to address politically sensitive issues. The expert panel members typically bring lessons learned from other sites to help solve the DOE problems. In addition, their recommendations at a particular site can often be applied at other sites, making the review even more valuable. The review process can vary, but some common lessons ensure a successful review: • Use a multi-disciplinary broadly experienced team; • Engage the panel early and throughout the project; • Involve regulators and stakeholders in the workshop, if appropriate; • Provide sufficient background information; • Close the workshop with a debriefing followed by a written report. Many groundwater remediation challenges remain at DOE sites. Independent technical reviews have and will ensure that the best capabilities and experience are applied to reduce risks and uncertainties.

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