EnviroForensics attended the Indiana Association of Environmental Professionals (INAEP) 3rd Quarter Meeting at the Nature Conservancy on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Attendees included environmental consultants, educators and environmental advocates. A representative of the Indiana Wildlife Federation spoke about preserving Indiana’s wildlife and its habitat, a topic that is important to EnviroForensics as we assist our clients by cleaning up releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment.
INAEP is a not for profit association with a membership consisting of environmental professionals in Indiana who are dedicated to the advancement of this field. The organization promotes professional development through networking activities and quarterly meetings such as this one. Quarterly meetings are typically held in February, May, August, and November. In addition to discussions regarding organization business, these meetings usually include a keynote speaker such as this quarter’s speaker from the Indiana Wildlife Federation.
The Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) is a non-profit organization of individuals and Indiana conservation clubs and organizations dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of Indiana’s natural resources. An affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, IWF promotes responsible use of these resources through educational programs such as National Wildlife Week and the Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
Conservation of our state’s natural resources is important to EnviroForensics. We want to remember wildlife and their habitats may be affected as a result of our environmental remediation work, and we want to ensure that we practice sustainable use of our renewable resources.
We are happy to report that another one of our projects has resulted in a site closure with a “no further action” determination from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). EnviroForensics conducted an investigation for a client in Elkhart County, IN regarding TCE contamination found in the property’s groundwater. The TCE impacts were discovered during a commercial property transaction, and were subsequently reported to the IDEM under statutory obligation to do so. Our client was perplexed since they had never used TCE in any of their operations.
Subsurface investigations began in 2014, which consisted of widespread soil and groundwater testing. The results showed that although TCE was detected in the groundwater, no identifiable sources were found on the site.
The EnviroForensics team of experts was able to demonstrate several lines of evidence showing that this contamination was coming from an unknown up gradient source. In response to these findings, IDEM issued a “no further action” letter to the site in July, 2015. Our client can now move past this incident and refocus fully on their active operations.
EnviroForensics was retained nearly three years ago to assist our client, an owner of a former manufacturing facility turned furniture showroom, with cleaning up old contamination beneath the property. Historical operations conducted by past owners resulted in a release of chlorinated solvents in soil and groundwater. The impacts were great enough to migrate off-site to positions beneath numerous properties owned by others. EnviroForensics has conducted multiple investigations to fully characterize the soil and groundwater contamination and discovered that the source of the contaminant plume lay deep beneath our client’s building. Groundwater samples were collected from multiple aquifers, at depth. Retrieving true samples from the deepest aquifer presented a challenge related to a fear of cross-contaminating a shallower groundwater bearing zone that was not impacted. Extra care also had to be taken to ensure that samples collected were truly representative of the impacted zone, and not a diluted result of intermixing of the two zones. EnviroForensics installed multiple double-cased monitoring wells, two of which were located inside the building. Double-cased wells are a special type, which are installed in such a manner that allows for the precise isolation of depth zones. This lets the environmental professional collect groundwater samples from the intended depth. The problem is that the installation of double-cased wells can be a cumbersome and messy project when working inside a building.
In an effort to preserve the integrity of our client’s newly renovated showroom, EnviroForensics staff isolated the work area diligently and practically encased themselves and the drill rig with plastic sheeting. All contaminated soils and water produced by the hole during drilling activities were quickly retrieved and carefully contained. It can be easy to let drilling activities get messy, but EnviroForensics takes great pride in our ability to diligently complete our investigation work while respecting our client’s concerns and their property. Many of our clients find themselves in the position of juggling the requirement to investigate their environmental responsibilities, while still operating a successful business. EnviroForensics makes it our priority to keep them in business, while keeping our promise to help them take care of their environmental liabilities.
About the Author:
Project Manager at EnviroForensics
Matthew Bono has over 3 years of professional experience in environmental consulting. He has been involved in subsurface investigations and remediation activities at facilities and properties impacted with chlorinated solvents, petroleum products, and other hydrocarbons throughout the state of Indiana. Matt has assisted with data evaluation and reporting on all phases of projects from investigations through closure and has provided project management services including work scope development, budget management, and personnel management. He has provided oversight during remedial plan implementation, incorporating multiple technological approaches including pump and treat systems, soil vapor extraction (SVE), enhanced anaerobic bioremediation, thermal desorption, and soil excavation. Matt also has experience in contaminant transport and groundwater flow modeling. He has worked closely with clients and subcontractors, as well as state and federal regulators.
This spring, EnviroForensics assisted the Blackford County Concerned Citizens (BCCC) and the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) in investigations involving health concerns in Blackford County, IN. The area historically contained numerous glass factories and has recently faced high cancer rates and neurologic diseases cases. Darci Thomas, Project Manager at EnviroForensics, was integral in researching and testing the factory sites.
Darci’s work revealed that soil samples from Little League baseball fields in Montpelier, IN and Southside Elementary School in Hartford City, IN—two sites that had formerly hosted glass factories—contained the same levels of arsenic and lead as typical soil in that part of Indiana, dispelling any concern in those areas. Conversely, Darci’s soil testing helped to identify areas of elevated arsenic and lead concentrations at Hartford City’s Little League baseball field (formerly American Window Glass) and at a private property that was once Johnston Glass Company. Using this knowledge, HEC was able to instruct the private property owner, Hartford City and the parents of Little League players on how to safely use the properties.
These results were much appreciated by HEC. Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director at HEC, and Indra Frank, Environmental Health Project Director at HEC, sent a letter thanking Darci and EnviroForensics for their work on the project. The full PDF of the letter can be found here: Hoosier Environmental Council Thank You Letter
EnviroForensics is honored to have worked on this important study and to have an excellent project manager such as Darci.