ERM were retained to devise and implement a cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable in-situ remedial solution at an active industrial facility. The incumbent proposed remediation scheme consisted of a ‘pump-and-treat’ system designed to remove chlorinated solvents from fractured bedrock, which was planned to operate for a period of up to 10 years at a potential cost of 12M USD.

Our Approach

Given the long term and uncertain nature of pump and treat, especially within this geological environment, the client approached ERM to identify a more time and cost effective solution that would provide greater certainty of meeting the remedial objectives. To achieve this, we implemented a High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC) program to determine the magnitude, flux, and extent of the contaminant plume at the client’s site. ERM used the HRSC data to reevaluate and define source and plume areas, which were then targeted using in-situ thermal and biological approaches, respectively.

Throughout the project, ERM maintained contact with local and corporate stakeholders, and engaged with the UK Environment Agency (EA). The robust conceptual site model developed using HRSC data allowed ERM’s effort-based remedial end goals to be approved by the EA.

Benefits and Value

Using innovative characterization and remediation methodologies, ERM reduced project costs by an order of magnitude and completed construction in a safe, rapid, and sustainable manner. The carbon footprint of the thermal remediation system was 1,611 metric tons CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), compared to an estimated 2,496 tCO2e for the pump-and-treat scheme. The solution devised and implemented by ERM allowed works to be completed on a lump sum basis (for 3M USD), and within an 18-month timeframe, significantly less expensive and faster than original estimates.

The project won the UK Brownfield Briefing Award for ‘Best In-Situ Technology’.