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Understanding the complexity of subsurface geologic conditions is paramount in improving DNAPL site characterization. This guidance document reviews the current knowledge of DNAPLs and their subsurface contaminant behavior. Using an integrated site characterization (ISC) approach, under which data of adequate resolution are collected to fully characterize a site, this new guidance describes how data can be aligned on contaminant distribution with site geologic heterogeneity and groundwater flow conditions at a spatial resolution appropriate to the site-specific remedial objectives. Thus, with the current understanding of subsurface contaminant behavior, both existing and new tools and techniques can be used to measure physical, chemical, and hydrologic subsurface parameters to better characterize the subsurface.

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This guidance document is a resource to inform regulators, responsible parties, other problem holders, consultants, community stakeholders, and other interested parties of the critical concepts related to characterization approaches and tools for collecting subsurface data at DNAPL sites.