Streamlined and Innovative Assessment

Specific methods used for expediting complete assessment and to combine assessment with other phases are summarized in the examples below. Earth Systems has used these methods for individual sites of special concern and for a group of sites simultaneously. Special techniques for fast-track project completion won’t work unless the management team rises to the occasion with special effort. Earth Systems personnel have a track record of providing the extra effort necessary for successful use of these specific techniques.

School Assessments

Earth Systems completed quick response site investigations to determine the magnitude of and student exposure to soil and groundwater impacts at 40 schools in Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, Monroe, Lee, and Collier counties. The challenge was to complete the assessments over a 3-week holiday break to minimize disruptions at each school.

Earth Systems methods for shortening the timeframe to complete the assessment phase included:

  • Mobilizing multiple field crews simultaneously to compress the study schedule.
  • Using strong subcontractor relationships to get multiple efficient drilling crews and the best equipment devoted to the project.
  • Using communication skills and long-term alliances with labs to achieve efficient bottle ware delivery scheduling and rapid sample analyses.
  • Extensive communication and coordination with school district superintendents, principals, school board representatives, and county environmental case managers for streamlined site access, community notification, and refinement of schedule and scope as needed as the site work progressed.

Immediate bonus pay for staff who rose to the occasion with special effort.

Panama City Property Transfer

Earth Systems completed expedited assessment and cleanup at a former petro-chemical terminal in Panama City, Florida. This project epitomizes effectively moving into different phases and combining different phases to reduce the time and funds required to complete the cleanup process.

Hess was attempting to sell a former petroleum bulk storage terminal, which had been de-commissioned in the late 1960s. During a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, a prospective buyer identified soil and groundwater contamination at the site. Rapid site closure was necessary for the sale to occur. As always, cost effectiveness was required. Less than a year after receipt of authorization to proceed, Earth Systems completed site assessment and cleanup activities and obtained a Site Rehabilitation Completion Order (SRCO) for the property. Work provided under this expedited cleanup included:

  • Upon notification of the circumstances, Earth Systems contacted DEP and advised that an Alternative RAP was being prepared for submittal. An Alternative RAP was submitted within two weeks and approved by DEP without comments four weeks thereafter. Use of Alternative RAP guidelines enabled commencement of in-situ treatment before completion of assessment, shortening the closure timeline.
  • Immediately following Alternative RAP approval, Earth Systems expedited system installation by using one of our AS/VE trailer-mounted remediation systems.
  • At system startup, source area groundwater contained 1,200 µg/L total Volatile Organic Aromatics (VOAs). Five months after initiation of the Alternative RAP, Earth Systems submitted the completed assessment report. Groundwater data collected during site assessment indicated dissolved contaminant levels had been reduced to below Natural Attenuation (NA) Monitoring Levels, but remained above Groundwater Cleanup Target Levels (GCTLs). Only smear-zone contamination was identified in the soil. The assessment report was approved by DEP without comment.
  • Despite aggressive, focused AS, dissolved hydrocarbon levels remained slightly above GCTLs for the next three months of remedial action.
  • Based upon the stabilized dissolved hydrocarbon levels and the need to reach GCTLs, Earth Systems performed a limited source removal excavation of 100 tons of smear-zone soil eight months after Alternative RAP implementation.
  • Following receipt of the remedial action/source removal report, DEP waived its requirement that the site maintain cleanup target levels for two consecutive quarters and issued an SRCO for the site. Subsequently, the property transaction was completed.

Multi-Site ARRA Project

The ARRA project was funded with stimulus money from the EPA and directed by the FDEP Bureau of Petroleum Cleanup. This project put the spotlight on FDEP because the EPA needed shovel ready projects on which to spend the money productively in two years. To justify the spending, extra documentation was required to determine if the project saved and create jobs and was good for the citizens of Florida. FDEP selected their top four cleanup contractors and asked them to turn the projects around quickly.

Earth Systems finished assessment, pre-RAP conferences, and invoicing for our sites in an average of 60 days. Our documentation was in order and demonstrated the benefits of the stimulus spending. The other three companies – all global companies – all finished well after we did. FDEP and the Bureau of Petroleum Cleanup were praised by EPA for making Florida one of the fastest states to productively spend the funds.

The other companies knew how to do the work, we were more flexible and more motivated to get it done.