Toolkit for Greener Practices: Decision Tree

Purpose of the decision tree

The Decision Tree will help determine options for preventive and more sustainable practices that are appropriate to your site. The options listed in the Decision Tree relate to business operations, site development and site cleanup. These fifteen options were identified by an advisory group made up of MPCA staff and stakeholders. They are grouped according to three scenarios: Cleanup Remedy Selection; Business Practices; Development and Renovation. Because the questions in the Decision Tree are grouped according to these scenarios, you will be able to skip an entire set of questions that does not apply to your site.

To use the decision tree

Before using the decision tree, gather helpful information

Site conditions and circumstances may determine the most feasible options. If you are not already familiar with the site, use this Site Information Worksheet to help collect useful information including ownership, site and environmental history, current or future planned land use, etc.

Now Use the Decision Tree to Narrow Down the Options & Desired Outcomes

Use the Decision Tree below to create a short list of options for your site. Read the information in the Option Detail Sheets, available from links in the Decision Tree, to clarify your desired outcomes and to eliminate inappropriate options. The detail sheets discuss circumstances favorable to the implementation of the particular option and list case studies, resources and pertinent regulatory guidelines. The resources include contacts for regulatory programs and business, technical and financial assistance.

Use the Record of Decision Tree Results worksheet to document your evaluation of options relative to your specific site.

For greatest success, apply the Decision Tree as early as possible in the project design process. For cleanup sites, that would mean early in the site characterization process and again during cleanup as conditions at the site change. The site investigation work plan should incorporate the property's potential end use so that sampling point density, depth and location is adequate for planning high-performance building and site designs or innovative remedies that may involve feasibility pilot studies or modeling. For instance, locating nested wells for a geothermal heat pump or on-site stormwater management features, such as naturally landscaped filtration swales, will depend on good site characterization. Good site characterization is also important for siting constructed wetlands for cleanup remedy.

Then, Incorporate Greener Practices

Make a final decision about whether or not the parties can commit to incorporating greener practices in the project. Consult the contacts listed in the Case Studies and the Resource Referral that you listed in the Record of Decision Tree Results worksheet, if you think doing so will help you answer the following questions:

  1. Does the aim of the option fit the conditions and plans for the site?
  2. Do site-specific circumstances favor implementation of this option?
  3. Do case studies indicate a good fit between the option and the site plans or suggest resources useful to the development or implementation of the P2 or sustainable activity at the site?
  4. Would the regulatory, business and technical resources listed in the Option Detail Sheet complement the ability of the site owner, developer or the party responsible for a site cleanup to develop or implement a project?
  5. In what ways could the regulatory staff assist?
  6. Are the policies and limitations set forth in the Toolkit PDF icon Disclaimers and the PDF icon Policy Checklist acceptable?

Finally, Document the Results

Documented results can help the MPCA plan services and incentives for preventive approaches. This information could also be used to apply for awards and recognition described in the "Learn More About this Initiative" section of this Internet site.

Please tell the contact name below or your MPCA project team if you have used the decision tree, regardless of whether or not you pursued preventive approaches. The MPCA would also like to know about your experiences designing or implementing projects oriented towards preventive or sustainable solutions. We welcome information about lessons learned and cost-differentials to share in case studies or during other projects. The MPCA staff will file the information in the site file or on databases, including the Events Log of the Remediation Programs Database.

MPCA Staff Assistance

  • Need help using the Decision Tree and Option Detail Sheets?
  • Need help identifying the most useful resource referrals and case studies?
  • Uncertain about how regulatory staff or other resources can help you develop your idea?
  • Contact: Cindy Hilmoe, 651-296-7783, cynthia.hilmoe@state.mn.us

Decision Tree

#1 If your site does not require environmental cleanup, then skip to question #8. If your site does not need environmental cleanup and no on-site business exists or is planned, then skip to question #14 for site development ideas.

 

#2 If a soil remedy may be necessary, then consider:

PDF icon Option 1-1 Detail Sheet : In-Situ Treatment
PDF icon Option 3-2 Detail Sheet : Cleanup Remedy Incorporates Development Plan

#3 If a ground water remedy may be necessary, then consider:

PDF icon Option 1-1 Detail Sheet: In-Situ Treatment
PDF icon Option 1-2 Detail Sheet: Innovative and More Efficient Remedies
PDF icon Option 1-3 Detail Sheet: Constructed Wetland Treatment Systems
PDF icon Option 1-6 Detail Sheet: Recyclable or Recovered Environmental Material

#4 If natural habitat replacement or enhancement at the site or at another location in return for environmental damages at the site should be considered as part of the response action plan, then consider:

PDF icon Option 1-4 Detail Sheet: Natural Habitat Restoration, Enhancement or Replacement - Green Space Development

 

#5 If existing buildings or structures must be demolished during implementation of the response action plan, then consider:

PDF icon Option 1-5 Detail Sheet: Deconstruction

 

#6 If there may be byproducts or feedstocks or unused product as a result of the remedial action, then consider:

PDF icon Option 1-6 Detail Sheet: Recyclable or Recovered Environmental Material

 

#7 If the site does not include an existing or new commercial or industrial operation, either related or unrelated to the contaminant release, but site redevelopment or renovation is planned in the near future, then skip ahead to #14. If no on-site business exists and site development is not planned, then skip ahead to #21.

 

#8 If there has never been an assessment for P2/S opportunities at the commercial or industrial operation at the site or if one was conducted greater than 5 years ago, then consider:

PDF icon Option 2-1 Detail Sheet: Pollution Prevention Evaluation

#9 If there are byproducts or feedstocks or unusable raw materials at the site, then consider:

PDF icon Option 2-2 Detail Sheet: Materials Exchange

#10 To evaluate changes that may eliminate the need for a regulatory permit or that may streamline permit requirements, consider:

PDF icon Option 2-3 Detail Sheet: Reduce Regulatory Burden

#11 If the operation might benefit from environmental improvements at an existing operation through quality management principles, then consider:

PDF icon Option 2-4 Detail Sheet: Environmental Management Systems Approaches

#12 If superior environmental performance (and potential cost savings) might be obtained through operation retrofit or if an expansion is planned, then consider:

PDF icon Option 2-5 Detail Sheet: Design for the Environment

#13 If a redevelopment or renovation concept or plan does not exist for the site, then skip ahead to #21.

 

#14 If existing buildings or structures are to be demolished, then consider:

PDF icon Option 3-1 Detail Sheet: Deconstruction

#15 If there is contamination beneath the known or potential building footprints or if site regrading is a possibility, then consider:

PDF icon Option 3-2 Detail Sheet: Cleanup Remedy Incorporates Development Plan

#16 If construction or renovation is planned, then consider sustainable building and site design (e.g., material selection, energy or resource conservation, employee productivity).

PDF icon Option 3-3 Detail Sheet: Environmentally Friendly Building & Site Design

#17 If property management is under consideration, then consider integrating environmentally friendly office or property management techniques:

PDF icon Option 3-4 Detail Sheet: Environmental Friendly Office & Property Management

#18 If stormwater management is required at the site or the developer is interested in on-site management of stormwater to prevent adverse impacts to nearby water bodies and to enhance on-site habitat, then consider:

PDF icon Option 3-5 Detail Sheet: Low/No Discharge Stormwater Management Strategies

#19 If the potential for creating green space at the site (i.e., space devoted primarily to horticultural or native habitat) exists at the site, then consider:

PDF icon Option 3-6 Detail Sheet: Natural Habitat Restoration, Enhancement or Replacement - Green Space Development

#20 If site operations include manufacturing processes and procedures, then consider process designs that result in superior performance or enhanced environmental outcomes:

PDF icon Option 3-7 Detail Sheet: Design for the Environment

 

#21 If some Options appear promising for your specific site, use these questions to help decide which, if any, to pursue.

 

#22 If none of the Options appear promising for your specific site, then the site conditions or circumstances are not favorable at this time. Apply this toolkit again if circumstances change.