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UB-led research team to focus on Superfund sites

A $796,000 National Science Foundation grant awarded to a University at Buffalo-led research team will fund the development of a new techniques to manage the nation’s Superfund sites, according to an announcement by university officials.

Billed as “a new approach to managing hazardous waste sites,” the research team, which includes faculty from UB and Canisius College, will visit various sites.

There, they will conduct interviews with stakeholders including residents, government and public health officials as well as scientists, officials said. The team also will conduct focus groups, phone interviews and workshops.

New database tools will then be used to help the team draw inferences and develop a more complete evaluation of the sites and their effect on nearby communities.

“We’re not advocating that everyone seal off these sites and walk away from them,” says Alan Rabideau, an environmental engineering professor at UB and the team’s principal investigator. “We will examine emerging concepts that focus on long-term management rather than expensive but ineffective cleanup technologies.

“Our approach will differ from purely technical assessments by integrating community engagement with science, engineering, ethics and policy.”