June 3, 2019

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Geosyntec Staff to Present at the 9th Annual AIPG Environmental Risk Management Workshop: Hazardous Substances in Soil, Groundwater, and Vapors

Todd McAlary, Ph.D., P.Eng., P.G., Paul Nicholson (Ontario), Alicia Revezzo (Michigan), Wayne Amber, Ph.D., (Michigan), and Rob Ferree, CPG (Michigan) will be participating at the 9th Annual Environmental Risk Management Workshop on Hazardous Substances in Soil, Groundwater, and Vapors: The New Turning Point at the Ralph A. MacMullen (RAM) Conference Center in Roscommon, Michigan on June 11-12, 2019.

The technical workshop is hosted by American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Michigan Section and Geosyntec is a sponsor of the event. Geosyntec staff will deliver two technical presentations and a technical demonstration. Todd McAlary will be delivering the opening keynote speech entitled "You Say You Want an Evolution: Acceptance and Use of Best Available Science," and he will be assisting with a vapor intrusion question & answer session.

Stop by Geosyntec's booth to meet with attendees and answer questions about vapor intrusion, conceptual site model approaches, and other innovations. Interactive 3-D printed conceptual site models will be on display.

All of Geosyntec's efforts for the conference were coordinated by Wayne Amber, Ph.D. a Senior Professional based in Michigan with over 13 years of experience focused on site investigation and remediation, environmental management, and due diligence. Wayne has also been directly involved in conference organization and his band will be performing for the evening entertainment on June 11.

Todd McAlary is a Senior Principal Engineer based in Ontario with more than 30 years of international consulting experience focused on the evaluation of contaminant fate and transport in soil and groundwater.

Paul Nicholson is Senior Engineer based in Ontario with over 15 years of experience focused on the environmental services industry such as contaminated land remediation, assessment and mitigation of vapor intrusion and the implementation of innovative technologies.  

Alicia Revezzo is a Senior Staff Professional based in Michigan focused on environmental site assessments and site investigations for sites impacted by chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons.

Rob Ferree is a Senior Principal based in Michigan with more than 30 years of professional experience focsued on hydrogeologic investigations; remedial investigations; underground storage tank removal projects; soil and groundwater sampling and sampling plan preparation; surface and down-hole geophysical methods; remediation system design; remedial system installation; slug test and aquifer test performance and analysis; and environmental site assessments.

AIPG represents the professional interests of all practicing geoscientists in every discipline. Its advocacy efforts are focused on the promotion of the role of geology and geologists in society.

Geosyntec Participation

Title: (Opening Keynote) You Say You Want an Evolution: Acceptance and Use of Best Available Science
Presenter: Todd McAlary (Geosyntec Consultants)
Time: 9:15 A.m. on June 11, 2019
The ancient Greek Philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying "change is the only constant in Life." He lived in a time of many gods, when the earth was presumed flat, and a chariot was the fastest mode of human transportation. Yet, his words are still true today. In the context of this workshop, subtitled "The New Turning Point," change is a focal concept worth exploring in some detail. Niccolò Machiavelli is quoted as saying: "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." These two views pose an eternal challenge to the evolution of science. Change must happen, but it must also overcome opposition. How then do we move forward efficiently and effectively as scientists?

History is littered with examples of new inventions that did not live up to their promises. Yet, some of the same individuals that suffered many setbacks are credited with breakthroughs most of us could not live without. Wilbur Wright proclaimed in 1901 "Man will not fly for 50 years," but he and his brother Orville accomplished the first powered aircraft flight just two years later. Today, it is hard to imagine a world without commercial air travel.

When the Superfund Act (CERCLA) was passed in 1980, the complexities of subsurface contaminant fate and transport were poorly understood. Applied research and practical experience resulted in considerable improvements over the past four decades. Some technologies came and went, others made lasting impressions, but few novel or emerging technologies were trusted without considerable testing and comparison to conventional methods. Nevertheless, progress has been persistent, and the approaches used for site investigation and remediation are much more advanced today than in the early years.

The pace of advancement is variable and faces many impediments. Trust in new technologies is earned one precious step at a time but can be rapidly eroded with as little as one misapplication, breakdown, calibration issue, or other failure. Regulatory guidance documents tend to recommend established technologies and are revised infrequently, so there is often a considerable delay between technology development and regulatory acceptance. Some regulators are more willing than others to invest the time and effort required to critically review data from new technologies, but they have little incentive to accept developing technologies in the period between the development and demonstration of an emerging method and the incorporation in regulatory guidance, policy or rules. Examples of successes and challenges will be presented and discussed, with opportunities for audience participation and discussion.

Title: High Volume Sampling for Identification of High-Risk Areas: A Case Study
Presenter:  Paul Nicholson (Geosyntec Consultants)
Co-Authors: Darius Mali, P.Eng ON (Geosyntec Consultants), Matthew Bogaart (Geosyntec Consultants)
Time: 1:00 p.m. on June 11, 2019
Historic releases of chlorinated solvents in various areas of a former manufacturing facility in Michigan resulted in elevated soil, groundwater and soil gas concentrations beneath two former manufacturing buildings. A review of historic site documents and on-site reconnaissance identified numerous potentially impacted areas and exposure pathways including the potential for vapor intrusion from groundwater and soil vapor to the indoor air. At the time of the investigation the buildings were being used for shipping/receiving.

To assess and delineate the extent of solvents in soil vapor below the buildings, a low impact and efficient test method, called High Volume Sampling (HVS), was used. The HVS method was selected over that of conventional sub-slab sampling as HVS was deemed less intrusive and provided a spatially integrated set of data upon which to evaluate conditions below the floor slab. HVS testing was completed at t buildings. Impacts to building 1 were identified in one corner of the building where machine vaults had been decommissioned and filled with concrete, and in select drain pipes long since decommissioned in-place. Remediation of the impacted areas has been implemented at building 1 and performance monitoring results are positive. HVS testing at building 2 was complicated by high water conditions encountered during testing, however useful data was collected. The limited tests at building 2 identified an impact near the middle of the building floor, and provided supplemental evidence that a building footing may be pneumatically isolating soil vapor below the warehouse from that below the adjoining office area.

The HVS tests were completed within a few days, with low impact to building operations. HVS was successful in identifying areas of impact, not originally identified by historical documents, and assessed large spatial areas of soil vapor below the floor slab that could have been missed by traditional sub-slab soil vapor sampling. HVS was also able to collect building specific sub-slab pneumatic data without additional site visits.

Title: Demonstration of New Methods for Evaluating Vapor Intrusion
Presenter: Paul Nicholson and Todd McAlary, P.Eng (Geosyntec Consultants)
Co-Authors: Darius Mali, P.Eng (ON) and William Wertz, P.G. (NY) (Geosyntec Consultants)
Time: 8:40 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. on June 12, 2019
Subslab soil vapor and indoor air sampling and analysis is the most common line of evidence for assessing human health risks associated with subsurface vapor intrusion to indoor air for volatile organic compounds; however, conventional subslab sampling methods have generated data that show substantial spatial and temporal variability, which often makes the interpretation difficult. Various new methods of monitoring and sampling have been developed to add alternatives to the traditional approach and develop multiple lines of evidence. These methods are complimentary to each other and the additional lines of evidence generate a more robust understanding of the risk from vapor intrusion without much more effort.

High volume sampling (HVS) is based on a concept of integrating samples over a large volume of soil gas extracted from beneath the floor slab of a building to provide a spatially averaged subslab concentration. This approach minimizes the risk of failing to identify the areas of elevated soil vapor concentrations that may exist between discrete sample locations. Transient analysis during HVS involves monitoring the extraction flow rate, static vacuum field and transient vacuum response for mathematical analysis. This approach helps interpret the subslab pneumatics to create a better understanding of the potential for vapor intrusion and to support an optimal design for any subslab venting system that may be needed. Long term cross-slab and cross-building differential pressure can be used to evaluate the driving force of vapor intrusion and the effects of building construction. Data collection is easy, informative and can aid in understanding of when to collect representative samples or improving mitigation system design. A new method is also presented for calculating a building-specific subslab to indoor air attenuation factor for use in assessing subsurface vapor intrusion to indoor air. The technique uses data collection already described above, along with air exchange rate and building height to develop a volumetric flow of soil vapor into the building and a ventilation rate, which can be used to develop a building specific attenuation factor.

A demonstration of new vapor intrusion tools will be conducted, and data will be discussed. The objective of this demonstration will be to provide attendees with hands on experience with the vapor intrusion sampling methods. The demonstration will guide attendees through the implementation of HVS, how to collect the various data points, how to interpret results and how to collect a robust data set for VI interpretation. The demonstration is directed to owners, regulators and consultants who want a better understand of vapor sampling methods, data interpretation and modelling of subsurface pneumatic properties.

Title: Innovations in Visualizing Conceptual Site Models: Two Case Studies
Presenter: Alicia Revezzo (Geosyntec Consultants)
Co-Authors: Bryan VanDuinen, P.E.MI; Jamey Rosen, M.Sc., P.Geo. ON; Chapman Ross, P.E. MA;
and Andrew Higgins (Geosyntec Consultants)
Time: 2:10 p.m. on June 12, 2019
Understanding, visualizing, and presenting conceptual site models (CSMs) can be challenging, particularly for sites with complex geology, a high resolution of data, or multiple constituents of concern (COCs). Traditional reporting methods necessitated producing multiple plan-view and cross-sectional figures and multiple tables of data, and they required the reader to synthesize multiple pieces of information to form a mental image of the CSM.

Geosyntec has developed new data visualization tools to portray CSMs in a more coherent, complete, and interactive way for technical and non-technical audiences alike. These tools were utilized for two sites that each have a complex release history, complex hydrogeology, and complex distribution of impacts.

For one of the sites, a secure, web-based, interactive map ("webmap") was developed that accommodates over three decades of site data. The webmap allows users to navigate around the site, select viewable layers, filter and view associated data, display time series charts dynamically, and print annotated views. Complex site geology was addressed through a webmap-based tool that allows users to generate on-demand, interactive cross sections that visualize both geological and analytical data. A second webmap-based tool that allows users to view the extent (in plan and profile view) of screening level exceedances of site COCs, for a user-specified timeframe, was implemented to improve analysis and visualization of the multiple COCs at the site. For the second site – a Superfund site with complex geology that lies along a major river – a physical, desktop-scale CSM was produced using 3-D printing. The 3-D printed CSM depicts the site's geology and the distribution of non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL). The model can be taken apart, reassembled, and otherwise interacted with to view NAPL distribution and geology at various depths and locations. The 3-D model was used to communicate the CSM and the proposed remediation approach to a wide range of stakeholders.

These state-of-the-art visualization tools, individually or collectively, can be used to facilitate analysis, discussion, and understanding of a CSM among multiple stakeholders for sites with challenging features.

More Information

About the event: http://mi.aipg.org/workshop.htm.
For consultation regarding soil, groundwater, or vapors, contact Wayne Amber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Learn more about Wayne: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wayne-amber-3416b122/
Learn more about Todd: https://www.geosyntec.com/people/todd-mcalary
Learn more about Matthew: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewbogaart/
Learn more about Paul: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-nicholson-6599313/
Learn more about Alicia: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alicia-revezzo-96184684/