Remediating environmental contamination by either biological or chemical methods typically results in the generation of temporary chemical intermediates as part of the process. These intermediate compounds may be related to either contaminant degradation pathways or reactions generated from the amendment itself. This article summarizes previously researched pathways and representative case studies discussing the authors' experience in generating relatively high concentrations of acetone and 2-butanone (also referred to as methyl ethyl ketone [MEK]) during both biological and chemical treatments. Experience shows that even relatively high concentrations of acetone and MEK intermediates are quickly attenuated and prove not to be a hazard outside of the treatment area. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.