Environmental investigations are performed to characterize conditions of a site and determine if hazardous substances are present to the extent that remediation or cleanup may be necessary. For situations where remediation is likely necessary, it is critical that the data collected can be used to determine the most practical and effective approach to cleanup. Our environmental investigation services fall under two general areas of practice:
Site Investigations and Characterization
Characterization of the nature and extent of contamination is essential to determining the right approach to cleanup. We are experienced with a wide variety of site investigations and contaminants in soil, air, groundwater and surface water. Sites we investigate range from small spills on commercial properties to the largest, most complex mixed radioactive and hazardous waste sites in the U.S. at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site.
Our staff performs comprehensive site investigations and characterization in accordance with applicable requirements for remedial investigations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and state requirements such as the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for Washington, and the Environmental Cleanup Program for Oregon. Investigations are also performed for waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities under the applicable requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Washington’s Dangerous Waste regulations, and Oregon’s hazardous and solid waste management programs for projects in that state.
Site investigation and characterization are comprised of the following components:
- Development and Implementation of Site Investigation Planning Documents
- Field Data Collection
- Laboratory Analysis of Environmental Samples
- Data Management, Evaluation and Interpretation
- Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study Documentation
Our specific expertise in performing activities for each of these components follows:
Development And Implementation Of Site Investigation Planning Documents
Freestone has extensive experience with all aspects of planning and executing environmental investigations. Careful planning goes into a field investigation to ensure that the data to be collected will be representative of environmental conditions and useful for making cleanup decisions.
- CERCLA Remedial Investigation Work Plans
- RCRA Facility Investigation Work Plans
- Data Quality Objectives (DQOs)
- Sampling and Analysis Plans (SAPs)
- Descriptions of Work (DOWs)
- Field Instructions and Procedures
- Statements of Work and Technical Specifications for drilling contractors and specialized monitoring and sampling equipment vendors
- Investigation Derived Waste DQOs and Waste Management Plans for determining a disposition pathway for waste handling, treatment and disposal requirements
Field Data Collection
Our geochemists, hydrologists, geologists and biologists are trained and experienced in use of the most up-to-date methods and technologies for collecting field data from air, soil and water mediums for chemical, radiological, biological and physical properties. They are trained to work safely at sites where hazardous and radioactive conditions may be encountered.
- Soil, vadose zone and aquifer sediments using auger, direct push, cable-tool, air rotary, and sonic drilling methods
- Surface water and hyporheic zone sampling – grab, vertical and horizontal pore water tubes
- Benthic Sediments - grab and core, including boat supported vibracoring and ponar methods
- Groundwater using submersible pumps, bailers, and depth-discrete samplers
- Air and Vapor – active and passive sampling methods
- Building walk-downs, inspection and sampling for hazardous substances
- Field instrumentation and measurement – field chemistry kits, ion-specific probes, FID, PIDs, data loggers, pressure transducers, specialized in-situ instrumentation, single and multiple well tracer methods
Laboratory Analysis of Environmental Samples
Our chemists, geochemists and engineers can set up and operate field labs, and also coordinate sample analyses performed by contracted laboratories.
- Data analysis Contract laboratory coordination, Field lab set up and operation
- Data Quality Assessments, Data validation
- Data Management, Evaluation and Interpretation
Our scientists and engineers are skilled in organizing and managing data, interpretation of data, mapping and modeling techniques, and visualization software applications. We prepare reports that are clear and concise and create visually informative graphics.
- Data management and visualization software
- Geographic Information System (GIS) for spatial data applications
- Groundwater modeling and aquifer property analysis software
Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study Documentation
Freestone staff prepare Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) reports. These RI/FS documents are used as a basis for developing a Proposed Plan (or Cleanup Action Plan), leading to the regulator’s Record of Decision (ROD) for sites undergoing cleanup actions.
The Remedial Investigation report documents the nature and extent of contamination, fate and transport of the contaminants in the environment, potential risks to human health and eco-receptors, and establishes preliminary remediation goals. The Feasibility Study describes remedial action objectives, screens appropriate cleanup technologies, and analyzes the various alternatives for remedial action, including associated costs. We provide technical and regulatory support in interactions with regulators and the public.
Our staff also have experience preparing Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) reports which are used to support decisions for non-time-critical removal actions.
- Remedial Investigation reports
- Feasibility Studies
Environmental Site Assessments for Property Transactions
Environmental Site Assessments, also known as “All Appropriate Inquiry” (AAI) are performed prior to property transfers for the purpose of determining whether hazardous substances or petroleum products have been disposed or released at the site. This is intended to satisfy one element of the innocent purchaser defense to CERCLA liability.
Freestone conducts Phase I and Phase II investigations according to ASTM E 1527 and ASTM E 1903 guidance, respectively.
- Phase I investigations involve research of public records for the property and vicinity, an inspection of the site, and interviews with owners, occupants, surrounding property owners, and local government officials to determine if a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) exists.
- Phase II investigations are performed when a REC is present and of such significance that more detailed and intrusive investigation is necessary. These investigations may involve sampling and analysis of soil, air and vapor, groundwater, building material, waste drums, and USTs to determine the presence of a release of hazardous substances or petroleum, and to determine whether further site investigation and potentially a cleanup action are necessary.
Our reports clearly present the details and findings of the investigation, so that the potential purchaser or lender has unbiased information to make decisions regarding the potential environmental risks of acquiring a property.