It is a common occurrence for some environmental investigations to be completed over the course of several years. It is a known rule of thumb in the environmental industry that the longer an investigation takes, the more expensive it is. Additionally, every extra dollar spent to better understand the distribution of impacts results in a multi-dollar savings on remediation activities. It is our goal at EnviroForensics to complete our investigations in a meaningful and efficient manner that provides sufficient data for decision making, while minimizing the amount of time and money required to complete the work.
Last year, EnviroForensics began an environmental investigation at a former dry cleaning business and current coin-operated laundromat located in Indianapolis where historical operations resulted in a release of chlorinated solvents to soil and groundwater beneath the property. In September 2015, EnviroForensics completed a high-resolution, dynamic investigation over the course of only two weeks, which allowed our team of experts to fully understand the nature and extent of subsurface contamination in that short time window. Over 60 borings were advanced and over 450 soil and groundwater samples were collected and analyzed onsite with a mobile laboratory. EnviroForensics was able to evaluate sample data and make real time decisions with regard to locations for additional soil borings and focus the developing investigation to locations that were most appropriate. Most importantly, the project team worked alongside the business owner to complete the work, including advancing 6 soil borings inside the building, in a strategic manner that allowed the laundromat to remain open for business.
In the four months that followed, EnviroForensics installed permanent groundwater monitoring wells and completed vapor intrusion exposure assessments at the Site and nearby properties to determine that no potential for contaminant exposure was present. In February 2016, EnviroForensics staff submitted a Remediation Work Plan to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, including a detailed evaluation of the Conceptual Site Model and an assessment of potential remedial technologies. Because the investigation provided such a dense data set with regard to soil and groundwater contamination, very few assumptions needed to be made when developing the remedial and regulatory closure approach. Often times when insufficient data is available, an overly aggressive remedial approach is prescribed. In this case, the project team confidently selected a remedial strategy best suited to address contamination at the Site and eliminate the potential for future exposure.
EnviroForensics recognizes that many of our clients wish to identify their environmental liabilities and get them resolved as soon as possible. By completing the investigation in an aggressive manner and preparing the Remediation Work Plan in less than one year, EnviroForensics has been able to provide peace of mind to our client, with their knowing that a scientifically sound cleanup strategy will soon be in place. Developing a detailed Conceptual Site Model will also allowed EnviroForensics to more accurately determine the costs associated with the upcoming remediation and closure activities. The extra effort upfront during the investigation is expected to result in a significant cost savings over the life of the project. The shorter than average timing of investigation activities alone likely saved the project hundreds of thousands of dollars.
About the Author
Mr. 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.