Innovation leads to significant cost savings in Superfund investigation / remediation

Confidential Eastern U.S.

Project highlights

Client challenge: 
A Superfund site associated with a former foundry required remedial investigation, design, and implementation to address lead-contaminated soil at and surrounding the site. As part of early cleanup efforts, the foundry buildings and several row homes in proximity to the site were demolished and major soil excavation conducted throughout an area generally within and immediately surrounding 700 feet of the former foundry. A new phase of the cleanup began in 2001 to determine just how far contamination from the former foundry had spread.

Our approach:
Haley & Aldrich first needed to determine the extent of contamination directly related to historical foundry operations, and then remediate those areas in the most efficient, safe and cost-effective manner. We knew that a conventional approach of field investigation/remediation would not provide the most effective solution, given that lead contamination was widespread in areas surrounding the site—not all of it attributable to former foundry operations based on the history of the site and non-foundry activities that took place in the surrounding areas. Our team of civil, geotechnical and chemical engineers, geologists and scientists therefore employed an unconventional approach to uncover other potential sources of contamination.

We formulated a Source Analysis Methodology that could distinguish with a significant amount of statistical certainty between lead contamination related to our client’s historical operations versus that from other sources. The Source Analysis Methodology combined findings from a review of historic drawings, aerial photographs, wind direction information, spatial distance and, more importantly, a comprehensive forensic analysis employing fingerprinting techniques.

The Source Analysis Methodology, along with a phased investigation approach approved by the EPA, determined that less than 25% of soil lead contamination at properties surrounding the site was attributable to the client’s historical operations. The client remediated just these properties, thereby saving significant resources, time and money. The remaining 75% of the lead contamination was attributed to automobile lead particulate emissions, construction and demolition activities, the use of lead-based paint, and other such sources. These properties were remediated by the EPA.

In addition to soil investigation and remediation, Haley & Aldrich is currently completing groundwater, surface water and sediment investigation at the site.

Value delivered:

  • Haley & Aldrich delivered significant project cost and time savings for a complex Superfund program by applying extensive investigation into other possible sources and use of our innovative “Source Analysis Methodology” coupled with a phased soil investigation approach. The cost to the client was approximately 25% of what it would have been had conventional methods been adopted.
  • We maximized efficiency and minimized costs through our rapport with EPA Region 3 and the US Army Corps of Engineers—who provided field oversight for EPA—which resulted in a phased cost-saving approach for investigating soil contamination.

For more information on this project, contact:

Santhosh Thadigiri