Vapor Intrusion; Who’s DEFAULT is it?

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics, in Collaboration with Jeff Carnahan, L.P.G., Senior Project Manager, EnviroForensics.

As seen in the March 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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As most drycleaners know, at some time in the not too distant future, you or someone you know will have to deal with the accidental release of perchloroethylene (Perc) or Stoddard solvent.  Even if the release is decades old and unknown to the current owner/operator, soil and/or groundwater contamination may come to light during a property transaction, a refinance or through the course of standard due diligence investigations.  This finding commonly results in a demand by the state environmental regulatory agency to determine the extent of the contamination and if necessary, remediate the contamination. 

Environmental regulatory agencies often prioritize contaminated sites based on whether or not people may come into contact with, or be exposed to toxic chemicals.  The three primary ways (or pathways) that people can come into contact with these chemicals is by getting contaminated soil or groundwater on their skin, eating and ingesting contaminated soil or groundwater, or by inhaling the chemicals that volatilize from the contaminated soil or groundwater.  If it is determined that one of these potential exposure pathways is complete, it becomes a priority to abate the exposure immediately, even before the extent of the impacts have been fully defined.  Continue reading “Vapor Intrusion; Who’s DEFAULT is it?”

Advancements in Fingerprinting Contaminants; Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA)

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., CEO, EnviroForensics

Keith Gaskill, L.P.G., Chief Geologist, EnviroForensics

As seen in the February 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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Among the challenges in environmental consulting is determining responsible parties in comingled plumes.  With so much money and liability at stake, confident determination of contaminant sources (fingerprinting) becomes vital to not only our clients’ personal stake, but to the timely cleanup of potentially dangerous contaminant plumes. 

The first and most utilized fingerprinting method is basic compound analysis.  Generally, it is known what hazardous substances were released to the subsurface and what chemical compounds can be associated with that release.  Analysis is completed by comparing compounds detected.  For example, two drycleaners next to each other are located directly upgradient from a residence where one drycleaner has used Stoddard solvents and one has used perchloroethylene (perc) in the drycleaning process.  When laboratory analysis reveals the presence of petroleum compounds (perc contains no petroleum compounds whereas Stoddard solvent does) in groundwater under the residence, it is determined that the Stoddard solvent plant is likely the responsible party.   Continue reading “Advancements in Fingerprinting Contaminants; Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA)”