Selected Project Experience

 

Environmental Assessment / Wetlands Characterization:

Wetland Banking Sites, Chisago County, Minnesota.

In order to provide wetland habitat necessary to offset unavoidable wetland impacts due to road and urban development, over 300 acres of farmland was assessed and restored into wetland and wildlife habitat. The initial phase of this project required establishing that the site no longer met the technical criteria for wetland. A shallow groundwater and surface water monitoring program conducted over a period of years successfully established the non-wetland status of the property. Hydrological computer modeling, utilizing baseline data collected over the course of the monitoring program, successfully predicted
the post-restoration wetland physical characteristics. Part of the site was enrolled into the private state and federal wetland banking system; the remainder was sold to the state for conversion into a wildlife refuge.


• Wetland Impact and Restoration Feasibility Study, Northern Minnesota.

This study was implemented to document physical changes caused by channelization of a meandering river system, and to provide possible solutions for remedial action. Hydrogeologic exploration helped to quantify ground to surface water interaction, and it was determined that an extensive artesian
aquifer provides water and nutrients to wetland areas. A thorough review of existing documentation through the past century was initiated. Vegetative and hydrogeologic mapping was conducted using historical aerial photography dating back to 1939. Tribal elders were questioned to gain insight regarding pre-channelization conditions. Successful restoration depends on understanding the equilibrium established by groundwater influx and surface water flooding.


• NEPA Environmental Assessments for Proposed Highway Improvement Projects, Minnesota.

In order to meet federal requirements, various options were considered to minimize environmental impact to the project areas. Factors under consideration for each alternative included air pollution, surface water, groundwater, wetlands, wildlife, human social and economic effects, and possible cultural and historical impacts. Mitigation options were considered and recommendations provided on the basis of minimal impact and maximum benefit.


• Phase II Environmental Site Assessment at W.W.II Airman Training Facility, Minnesota.

The initial Phase I Environmental Site Assessment had indicated possible dumpsites, dry wells, and underground petroleum storage tanks in the vicinity of the existing airplane hangars. As a prerequisite to drilling and soil/groundwater sampling activities, a shallow geophysical investigation was performed. Using Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), continuous profiles of the subsurface revealed and defined several underground structures. This information proved
invaluable to the subsequent exploratory drilling program which would a) not have found the buried structures or b) possibly ruptured the structures, thereby releasing contaminants.


• Hydrogeology and Related Environmental Impacts of Pipeline Failure Near Esko, Minnesota.*

In order to define the environmental impacts from the rupture of a subsurface 42-inch pipeline carrying 13 million gallons per day of municipal waste water and paper mill effluent, the hydrogeologic setting was defined within a two-mile radius of where the rupture occurred. Aquifer testing, groundwater elevations, and a survey of all residential wells were performed. Area soil and surface water samples were collected and analyzed. Groundwater modeling to
simulate contaminated groundwater movement through the aquifer also served to define potential environmental impacts.


• Exploration for Landfill Cap Material, Geophysical Investigation, Revision of Landfill Closure Plan, Minnesota.

A study was initiated to locate suitable sources of native material required to cap four landfills. Initial site exploration included review of available soil information, vegetative clues, hand auger sampling, and general observation. This was followed with shallow geophysical exploration (Ground-Penetrating Radar, or GPR) in conjunction with exploratory soil borings. In addition, the landfill perimeters were redefined by locating buried waste using GPR.
A sufficient quantity of suitable clay capping material was located within one-half mile of each respective landfill.


• Hydrogeologic Characterization of Coal Ash Landfill, Stillwater, Minnesota.*

This study was initiated to determine the source(s) of leachate generation and recommend actions to reduce potential future releases. During the course of the study, problem areas were identified and appropriate actions recommended. A new understanding of the groundwater flow regime was gained which served to correct previous misconceptions of the site.


• Hydrogeologic Investigations of Municipal Landfills, Red Lake, Minnesota.*

Preliminary hydrogeologic investigations were performed at a total of four open dumpsites, the purpose of which was to define the site-specific hydrogeology and assess possible impacts to groundwater. Monitoring wells were installed, aquifer tests conducted, and the soils and groundwater analyzed.
The regional setting surrounding each site was also evaluated.


• Hydrogeologic Site Characterization, Foundry Facility, Ishpemming, Michigan.*

The purpose of this study was to determine the possible impacts to groundwater in areas of concern and define the site-specific aquifer characteristics. In addition, surface water, soil, and sludge samples from around the site and constructed wetland area were collected and further evaluated to identify potential sources of groundwater pollution, assess natural attenuation characteristics, and identify possible outside influences.


• City Drainage Study, Gillette, Wyoming.*

The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the City of Gillette should waive its stormwater detention ordinances requiring that runoff not exceed historical flow rates. The study addressed flash flooding conditions and future city development. Recommended “green belt” areas for wildlife and recreational uses were also identified in the study.


• Numerous Environmental Site Assessments (500+) for Commercial and Governmental Clientele.

• Numerous Wetland Delineations (650+), Mitigation Plans, and Establishment of Wetland Banking Sites.

 

Investigation and Cleanup:

• Brownfield Assessment, Investigation and Cleanup; Ham Lake, Minnesota.

A property which had been an automotive salvage yard for over 50 years was scheduled for transformation into a residential development. Following results of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment by Earth Science Associates, The site was enrolled into the state’s brownfield program (i.e., the VIC program, voluntary investigation and cleanup, administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). A workplan was developed for a soil and groundwater investigation. Following results of the investigation, a workplan was formulated for the site cleanup. After the cleanup was completed, the site was developed as planned.


• Emergency Response and Cleanup, Rush City, Minnesota.

At a manufacturing facility, an above-ground petroleum storage tank leaked approximately 150 gallons of gasoline after falling off its stand during the early spring thaw. The spill was confined within soil berms and immobilized using absorbent clay material. Surface runoff was routed around the affected area.
Petroleum product was vacuumed from the water surface and properly disposed of. Contaminated soil was removed and later thin-spread to allow for bioremediation

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• Remedial Investigation and Corrective Action Design, Tama, Iowa.

An economic development property had been impacted by railroad and former filling station activities. Following removal of the sources of contamination, horizontal and vertical plume definition, and a characterization of plume movement, natural attenuation / passive bioremediation was selected as the most feasible option.


• Remedial Investigation and Corrective Action Design, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

An economic development property had been impacted by leaking underground storage tanks abandoned nearly 40 years previously. Following removal of the tanks, horizontal and vertical plume definition, and a characterization of plume movement, capping of the site to immobilize the contaminants was
selected as the most feasible option. Continued monitoring has verified the success of the capping option.


• Multi-Site Hydrogeologic Characterization, Muscatine, Iowa.*

Under contract with the State of Iowa, over 300 soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells were installed on and around 26 filling station sites. The site investigations encompassed determination of the extent of petroleum contamination in soil and groundwater, aquifer tests, and a survey of potential contaminant receptors. In addition, risk assessment in consideration of human health and the environment, as well as recommendations for site remediation, were included.


• Numerous Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, UST Issues, Regulatory Compliance for Both the Public and Private Sectors.

• Regulatory Compliance and Investigation at Gas Station/Convenience Store Sites, Iowa /Minnesota.

A variety of issues were addressed regarding compliance, definition of subsurface contamination from adjacent sites, and resolution of environmental issues.

 

Technical Review:

• Technical Review of Environmental Impact Report and Associated Permit Documents for Proposed Crandon Mine, Wisconsin.

Areas of focus included potential air pollution issues, radioactive contaminants, and waste characterization at a proposed hard-rock mine located on a massive sulfide ore deposit. The impoundment area designed to contain acid-producing wastes and proposed operations and contingency action plans were reviewed. Specific issues potentially affecting human health and the environment were brought to attention.


• Multi-State Installation Restoration Program and Base Closure Support (ARCS), U.S. EPA Region V, Chicago, Illinois.*

Technical hydrogeologic reviewer for a two-year multi-site EPA contract in Region V of DOD and DOC environmental documents (such as RI/FS and CDAP
reports) for I.K. Sawyer Air Force Base (MI), Scott Air Force Base (IL), Mansfield Air National Guard (OH), Great Lakes Naval Training Center (IL), Fort Sheridan Garrison (IL), O’Hare Air Reserve Force Facility (IL), Glenview Naval Air Station (IL), Chanute Air Force Base (IL), and Wisconsin Steel Works.


• Technical Review of Groundwater Monitoring Networks and Hazardous Ranking System, Hanford Nuclear Facility, Richland Washington.*

The results of various studies and technical documents prepared for the Department of Energy were critically reviewed and summarized.

 

Landfill Assessment, Design, and Closure:

• Environmental Restoration Activities, McMurdo Station, Antarctica.*

A former dump site along the bay at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, was restored to improve aesthetics and minimize environmental impacts. Following the removal of scrap iron, barrels and other debris, a cover system was designed and installed. The cover system included provisions for erosion control
along the ocean front, taking into account tidal fluctuation, frost and wave action.


• Solid Waste Management Plan, Second District of Laguna, Philippines.

As part of a cooperative effort with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Earth Science Associates developed landfill siting criteria and provided training in hydrogeologic characterization. Involvement with the Philippine government and private sector included hazardous waste characterization and well head protection.


• Koochiching County Landfill Closure, International Falls, Minnesota.

In order to meet state and federal requirements, a 40-acre landfill was capped. Following coordination and approval from the regulatory agencies, a contractor was selected and the project implemented. A multilayer earth cap was installed. Features including passive methane venting, methane migration
monitoring, erosion control appurtenances, and drainage diversion were incorporated into the design.


• Landfill Permitting, Design and Construction, Central Minnesota.

The scope of this project encompassed initial inception through final construction of an industrial solid waste landfill. In order to meet the client’s request that the landfill exceed existing state and federal requirements, a state-of-the-art composite liner landfill was designed. The permitting process involved an
extensive hydrogeological/geotechnical investigation and several modifications to the conceptual design. Advanced design and management features were incorporated to minimize leachate generation and the possibility of an environmental release. The net results, in addition to negligible environmental impact, were lower operating costs and minimal expense for future closure and post-closure maintenance.


• Landfill Feasibility Study, Koochiching County, Minnesota.*

The objective of this study was to determine whether a certain location would be suitable for siting and permitting a solid waste municipal landfill. Soil borings were advanced and geotechnical testing performed in order to make a preliminary characterization of the hydrogeologic setting and suitability of the soils for landfill construction material. Other site aspects evaluated were proximity to wetlands, waterways, residential dwellings, and airports. Site accessibility was also considered.


• Landfill Closure Plans and Specifications, Northern Minnesota.

A written closure plan, construction drawings, and bid documents for three open dump sites were prepared in accordance with U.S. EPA subtitle D requirements. The plans included waste consolidation, post-closure monitoring and maintenance, and an estimate of the costs to implement the project. Hydrologic computer simulations of the landfills were performed under pre- and post-closure scenarios to evaluate the effectiveness of possible closure designs and thereby obtain an optimal design for the unique conditions encountered at each site.


• Kummer Landfill, Bemidji, Minnesota.*

For safe completion of construction activities, a site safety plan was created for this project and implemented throughout the construction phase. A
complete methane vapor venting system with vapor monitoring around the perimeter of the landfill was installed. Piezometers and groundwater monitoring wells that were no longer needed were abandoned during closure activities.


• Flying Cloud Landfill, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.*

Vapor venting wells, piezometers, and groundwater wells which that no longer needed were abandoned during closure activities. For safe completion of the construction activities, a site safety plan was created for this project and implemented throughout the construction phase.


• Landfill Closure Modification, Redwood County, Minnesota.*

A previously closed portion of the landfill had settled, causing breaches in the cover and low-lying areas which prevented surface drainage from occurring. Plans and specifications were prepared and construction management performed to remediate the affected area.