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[en] This project inquired into the judgments and beliefs of people living near DOE reservations and facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, Tennessee about bioremediation of subsurface contamination. The purpose of the investigation was to identify strategies based on these judgments and beliefs for enhancing public support of bioremediation. Several methods were used to collect and analyze data including content analysis of transcripts of face-to-face personal interviews, factor analysis of subjective perspectives using Q methodology, and statistical analysis of results from a large-sample randomized telephone survey. Content analysis of interview transcripts identified themes about public perceptions and constructions of contamination risk, risk management, and risk managers. This analysis revealed that those who have no employment relationship at the sites and are not engaged in technical professions are most concerned about contamination risks. We also found that most interviewees are unfamiliar with subsurface contamination risks and how they can be reduced, believe they have little control over exposure, are frustrated with the lack of progress in remediation, are concerned about a lack of commitment of DOE to full remediation, and distrust site managers to act in the public interest. Concern is also expressed over frequent site management turnover, excessive secrecy, ineffective and biased communication, perceived attempts to talk the public into accepting risk, and apparent lack of concern about community welfare. In the telephone survey, we asked respondents who were aware of site contamination about their perceptions of risk from exposure to subsurface contamination. Response analysis revealed that most people believe that they are at significant risk from subsurface contamination but they acknowledge that more education is needed to calibrate risk perceptions against scientific risk assessments. Most rate their personal control over exposure as low. Slightly more than half believe that risk reduction should be balanced against cost. We also found that distrust of DOE and its contractors exists, primarily due to the perception that site managers do not share public values; hence, the public is generally unwilling to defer to DOE in its decision-making. The concomitant belief of inefficacy confounds distrust by generating frustration that DOE does not care. Moreover, the public is split with respect to trust of each other, primarily because of the belief that citizens lack technical competence. With respect to bioremediation support, we found that more than 40% of the public has no opinion. However, of those who do, 3 of 4 are favorably disposed - particularly among those who believe that risk is lower and who are more trusting of site management. We presented survey respondents with four alternative participation strategies based on the results of the Q analysis and asked their judgments of each. The public prefers strategies that shifts power to them. The least empowered strategy (feedback) was supported by 46%; support grew as public power increased, reaching 66% support for independently facilitated deliberation. More DOE distrust generates more support for high power strategies. We offer the following recommendations to enhance public acceptance. First, and perhaps most importantly, site managers should pursue robust trust-building efforts to gain public confidence in DOE risk management that meets public expectations. Public trust decreases risk perception, which increases public willingness to defer to site managers discretion in decision-making, which in turn increases public acceptance of the decisions that result. Second, site managers should address public concerns about bioremediation such as its effectiveness in reducing risk, performance compared to other remediation alternatives, costs compared against benefits, time required to start and complete remediation, level of risk that is currently posed by contamination, and scope of application. Third, more should be done to involve the public in bioremediation decision-making. We recommend a two-stage process: independent facilitated deliberation to build trust and address concerns about the motives and competence of site managers, followed by consultation to maintain that trust. Both stages should be inclusive, transparent, and respectful. Participation objectives and roles of participants should be well specified by the participants. A record of discussion should be published that codifies the concerns raised and how they were addressed, which will facilitate progress by averting the need to reconsider the same issues repeatedly. It is most important that the processes convince the public that its participation influences decision outcomes and that participants genuinely (informed and voluntarily) consent to risk exposure.
[en] Microorganisms are ubiquitous in subsurface environments although their populations sizes and metabolic activities can vary considerably depending on energy and nutrient inputs. As a result of their metabolic activities and the chemical properties of their cell surfaces and the exopolymers they produce, microorganisms can directly or indirectly facilitate the biotransformation of radionuclides, thus altering their solubility and overall fate and transport in the environment. Although biosorption to cell surfaces and exopolymers can be an important factor modifying the solubility of some radionuclides under specific conditions, oxidation state is often considered the single most important factor controlling their speciation and, therefore, environmental behavior.
[en] An increasing number of pesticides have been used in agriculture for protecting the crops from pests, weeds, and diseases but as much as 80 to 90% of applied pesticides hit non-target vegetation and stay as pesticide residue in the environment which is potentially a grave risk to the agricultural ecosystem. This review gives an overview of the pollution in agricultural soils by pesticides, and the remediation techniques for pesticide-contaminated soils. Currently, the remediation techniques involve physical, chemical, and biological remediation as well as combined ways for the removal of contaminants. The microbial functions in rhizosphere including gene analysis tools are fields in remediation of pesticide-contaminated soil which has generated a lot of interest lately. However, most of those studies were done in greenhouses; more research work should be done in the field conditions for proper evaluation of the efficiency of the proposed techniques. Long-term monitoring and evaluation of in situ remediation techniques should also be done in order to assess their long-term sustainability and practical applications in the field.
[en] The projects application goals are to: (1) To understand bacterial stress-response to the unique stressors in metal/radionuclide contamination sites; (2) To turn this understanding into a quantitative, data-driven model for exploring policies for natural and biostimulatory bioremediation; (3) To implement proposed policies in the field and compare results to model predictions; and (4) Close the experimental/computation cycle by using discrepancies between models and predictions to drive new measurements and construction of new models. The projects science goals are to: (1) Compare physiological and molecular response of three target microorganisms to environmental perturbation; (2) Deduce the underlying regulatory pathways that control these responses through analysis of phenotype, functional genomic, and molecular interaction data; (3) Use differences in the cellular responses among the target organisms to understand niche specific adaptations of the stress and metal reduction pathways; (4) From this analysis derive an understanding of the mechanisms of pathway evolution in the environment; and (5) Ultimately, derive dynamical models for the control of these pathways to predict how natural stimulation can optimize growth and metal reduction efficiency at field sites
[en] Enhanced In-Situ Bioremediation (ISB) provides increased degradation of contaminants in the subsurface by indigenous microorganisms present in the soil by manipulating this natural process. In addition, there is reduced worker risk, and decreased waste management costs associated with traditional pump and treat technology
[en] During the summer of 2002, we developed and implemented a ''consensus workshop'' with Idaho citizens to elicit their concerns and issues regarding the use of bioremediation as a cleanup technology for radioactive nuclides and heavy metals at Department of Energy (DOE) sites. The consensus workshop is a derivation of a technology assessment method designed to ensure dialogue between experts and lay people. It has its origins in the United States in the form of ''consensus development conferences'' used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to elicit professional knowledge and concerns about new medical treatments. Over the last 25 years, NIH has conducted over 100 consensus development conferences. (Jorgensen 1995). The consensus conference is grounded in the idea that technology assessment and policy needs to be socially negotiated among many different stakeholders and groups rather than narrowly defined by a group of experts. To successfully implement new technology, the public requires access to information that addresses a full complement of issues including understanding the organization proposing the technology. The consensus conference method creates an informed dialogue, making technology understandable to the general public and sets it within perspectives and priorities that may differ radically from those of the expert community. While specific outcomes differ depending on the overall context of a conference, one expected outcome is that citizen panel members develop greater knowledge of the technology during the conference process and, sometimes, the entire panel experiences a change in attitude toward the technology and/or the organization proposing its use (Kluver 1995). The purpose of this research project was to explore the efficacy of the consensus conference model as a way to elicit the input of the general public about bioremediation of radionuclides and heavy metals at Department of Energy sites. Objectives of the research included: (1) defining the range of concerns of the public toward different bioremediation strategies and long-term stewardship; (2) creating materials and delivery methods that address bioremediation issues; and (3) assessing the effectiveness of the consensus workshop in identifying concerns about bioremediation and involving the public in a dialogue about their use. After a brief description of the Idaho workshop, we discuss the range of concerns articulated by the participants about bioremediation, discuss the materials and delivery methods used to communicate information about bioremediation, and assess the effectiveness of the consensus workshop. In summary we found that panel members in general: understood complex technical issues, especially when given enough time in a facilitated discussion with experts; are generally accepting of in situ bioremediation, but concerned about costs, safety, and effectiveness of the technology; are concerned equally about technology and decision processes; and liked the consensus workshop approach to learning about bioremediation