Sandia tool speeds up environmental cleanup, reopening of contaminated facilities


A software-based tool, developed by Sandia National Laboratories for managing the collection, visualisation and analysis of environmental sampling data, is now available to potential licensing partners.

Sandia’s Building Restoration Operations Optimisation Model (BROOM) software system was developed to help decision makers - during the planning phase and throughout actual cleanup operations - to speed up reoccupation and return to service of contaminated buildings and facilities.

The tool provides an efficient and scientifically defensible approach to planning and executing sampling and cleanup activities.

To date, there has been no comprehensive system for handling and assisting with this process.

Originally developed for use during cleanup of facilities following a bioterrorism attack, BROOM is easily adapted to other spatial domains where accurate and efficient data tracking, management, optimisation and analysis of samples are needed.

Possible users and/or applications of BROOM include -

  • Environmental cleanup (including Superfund sites)
  • Remediation companies
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Forensics/crime units
  • Incident characterisation
  • Decontamination contractors
  • Health agencies
  • Airports, subways
  • Government buildings
  • Ports of entry
  • Water utilities
  • Gas and electric utilities
  • Chemical plants - and
  • Other critical infrastructure facilities.

BROOM’s integrated data collection, fast and efficient data management and easy-to-use visualisation software, provides the ability to manage information needed to help assess contamination within a facility, most effectively - and efficiently plan operations to remediate that contamination, complete the clean up and restore the facility to operation.

BROOM improves the efficiency of cleanup operations, minimises facility downtime and provides a transparent basis for reopening. The last factor is critical in gaining public and regulatory acceptance for declaring a facility to be “clean” and safe to reoccupy.

The centerpiece of BROOM is a handheld device, which looks like a typical PDA, but packs a large amount of data and information.

The device uses sophisticated algorithms to generate contamination maps and layouts of the location where the responders are collecting samples and to develop statistically based sampling plans and a barcode scanner to track tagged samples.

It also maintains chain-of-custody records and electronic forms to capture information - such as the sample type, surface type and texture, collection method and other important data that is collectively managed by the BROOM software.

During time-sensitive events when sampling data is needed quickly, information can be wirelessly transmitted to a PC or central command station outside the contaminated area in a secure manner. The results can be displayed on a map on both the handheld device and the PC - allowing decision makers to determine if an area is truly clean and to reopen facilities as quickly as possible.