Kirk O'Reilly
Kirk O'Reilly, Ph.D., J.D.
Senior Managing Scientist
Environmental & Earth Sciences
  • Seattle

Dr. O’Reilly has more than 25 years of experience investigating the interaction between environmental and biological chemistry, and spent 15 years as an in-house consultant for a major oil company with a focus on improving remedial technologies. He is a recognized expert in environmental chemistry, petroleum source identification, and bioremediation, and has played a significant role in developing the oil industry’s technical response to managing MTBE in the environment.

Dr. O’Reilly was a founding member of Chevron’s Oil Spill Environmental Functional Team and is trained in aspects of spill management, response, monitoring, and remediation. He has responded to spills of both crude oil and refined products, and served as on-site liaison to environmental regulators. Dr. O’Reilly has provided litigation support in toxic tort and property damage suits, and managed projects related to the remediation of soils, sediments, and groundwater, as well as on optimizing industrial wastewater treatment. Specific contaminants studied include crude oil, refined products, chlorinated solvents, wood treatment compounds, pesticides, and fertilizers. He developed innovative methods for monitoring the transformation and assessing the risk of petroleum. He has also conducted toxicity identification evaluations on refinery effluents and managed waste and water issues on offshore platforms. Experienced working within the constraints of the RCRA, CERCLA, and NPDES programs, Dr. O’Reilly promotes the use of strategic site assessments to reduce costs while improving quality. He has participated in collaborative research projects with regulators at the federal, state, and local levels, and taught technical courses sponsored by regulatory agencies, universities, and industrial trade groups. Dr. O’Reilly is a member of the Washington State Bar and chairs the American Bar Association’s Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • J.D., University of Idaho, 2007, magna cum laude
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Idaho, 1989
  • M.S., Biology, Portland State University, 1985
  • B.S., Biology, University of California, Irvine, 1980

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Washington State Bar, #39473

Publications

O’Reilly KT. Article title misstates the role of pavement sealers. Environmental Pollution 2014; 191:260–261.

O’Reilly KT. Reply to letter on “Coal-tar-based sealcoated pavement: A major PAH source to urban stream sediments.” Environmental Pollution 2014; 191:262–263.

O’Reilly KT. Response to authors' reply on “Coal-tar-based sealcoated pavement: A major PAH source to urban stream sediments.” Environmental Pollution 2014; 191:264–265.

O’Reilly KT. Understanding the limitations of technical evidence. ABA Superfund and NRD Litigation Committee Newsletter 2014; 9(1):21−22.

O’Reilly KT. Pietari J, Boehm PD. Author’s reply. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 2014; 10:325–326.

Zemo DA, O’Reilly KT, Mohler RE, Tiwary AK, Magaw RI, Synowiec KA. Nature and estimated human toxicity of polar metabolite mixtures in groundwater quantified as TPHd/DRO at biodegrading fuel release sites. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation 2013; 33(4):44–56.

Mohler RE, O’Reilly KT, Zemo DA, Tiwary AK, Magaw RI, Synowiec KA. Non-targeted analysis of petroleum metabolites in groundwater using GC×GC–TOFMS. Environmental Science and Technology 2013; 47(18):10471–10476.  

O’Reilly K, Pietari J, Boehm P. A forensic assessment of coal tar sealants as a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in urban sediments. Environmental Forensics 2012; 13(2):185−196.

O’Reilly K. Vapor intrusion and CERCLA’s hazardous ranking system. ABA Superfund and NRD Litigation Committee Newsletter 2012; 7(2)15−17.

Brugger G, O’Reilly K. Chlorinated solvents, leaking sewers, and CERCLA liability. ABA Superfund and NRD Litigation Committee Newsletter 2012; 7(3)10−13.

O’Reilly KT, Pietari J, Boehm P. Comment on “PAHs Underfoot: Contaminated Dust from Coal-Tar Sealcoated Pavement is Widespread in the U.S.” Environmental Science and Technology 2011; 45(7):3185–3186.

O’Reilly K, Thorsen W. Impact of crude oil weathering on the calculated effective solubility of aromatic compounds: Evaluation of soils from Ecuadorian oil fields. Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal 2010; 19:391–404. 

O’Reilly K. Restatement § 433A and the chemistry of divisibility. ABA Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee Newsletter 2010; 5(1). 

Chunn Lindsay J, O’Reilly K, Kaetzel R, Roberts M. Limitations of toxicogenomic studies to assess toxic exposures and injury from benzene. ABA Toxic Torts and Environmental Newsletter, Fall 2009. 

O’Reilly K. Science, policy, and politics: The impact of the Information Quality Act on risk-based regulatory activity at the EPA. Buffalo Environmental Law Journal 2007; 14:249–288. 

Johnson EL, Smith CA, O’Reilly KT, Hyman MR. Induction of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)-oxidizing activity in Mycobacterium vaccae JOB5 by MTBE during cell growth on diverse substrates. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2004; 70:1023–1030. 

Smith CA, O’Reilly KT, Hyman MR. Cometabolism of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and gaseous n-alkanes by Pseudomonas mendocina KR-1 grown on C5-C8 n-alkanes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2003; 69:7385–7394. 

Smith C, O’Reilly K, Hyman M. Characterization of the initial reactions during the cometabolic oxidation of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) by propane-grown Mycobacterium vaccae JOB5. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2003; 69:796–804. 

Ruiz-Aguilar GM, O’Reilly K, Alvarez PJ. A comparison of benzene and toluene plume lengths for sites contaminated with regular vs. ethanol-amended gasoline. Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation 2003; 23:48–53. 

O’Reilly K, Moir M, Taylor C, Smith C, Hyman M. Hydrolysis of tert-butyl methyl ether (MTBE) in dilute aqueous acids. Environmental Science and Technology 2001; 35:3954–3961. 

Schroth M, Istok J, Conner G, Hyman M, Haggerty R O’Reilly K. Spatial variability in in-situ aerobic respiration and denitrification rates in a petroleum contaminated aquifer. Ground Water 1998; 36(6):924–937. 

Donaldson J, Istok J, O’Reilly K. Dissolved gas transport in the presence of a trapped gas phase: Experimental evaluation of a two-dimensional kinetic model. Ground Water 1998; 36(1):133–142. 

Istok J, Humphrey J, Schroth M, Hyman M, O’Reilly K Single well, “push-pull” tests for in-situ determination of microbial metabolic activity. Ground Water 1997; 35(4):619–631. 

Donaldson J, Istok J, Humphrey M, O’Reilly K, Hawelka C, Mohr D. Development and laboratory testing of a kinetic model for dissolved oxygen partitioning and transport in porous media in the presence of trapped gas. Ground Water 1997; 35(2):270–279. 

Fry V, Istok J, O’Reilly K. Effect of trapped gas on dissolved oxygen transport—Implications for in situ bioremediation. Ground Water 1996; 34(2):200–210. 

Fry V, Istok J, Sempini L, O’Reilly K, Buscheck T. Retardation of dissolved oxygen due to a trapped gas phase in a porous media. Ground Water 1995; 33(3):391–399. 

O’Reilly K, Crawford R. Degradation of pentachlorophenol by polyurethane-immobilized Flavobacterium cells. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 1989; 55:2113–2118. 

O’Reilly K, Crawford R. Kinetics of p-Cresol degradation by an immobilized-Pseudomonas sp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 1989; 55:866–870. 

O’Reilly K, Kadakia R, Korus R, Crawford R. Utilization of immobilized bacteria to degrade aromatic compounds common to wood treatment wastewater. Water Science and Technology 1988; 29:95–100. 

Rueter R, O’Reilly K, Petersen R. Indirect aluminum toxicity to the green alga Scenedesmus through increased cupric ion activity. Environmental Science and Technology 1987; 21:435–438.


Patents

Patent 6,924,404: Inhibition of Biological Degradation of Fischer-Tropsch Products, 2005 (with M. Moir and D. O’Rear).

Patent 6,849,664: Process for Disposing Biocidecontaining Cooling Water, 2005 (with M. Moir, D. O’Rear, and R. Moore).

Patent 6,800,101: Deactivatable Biocides for hydrocarbonaceous Products, 2004 (with M. Moir and D. O’Rear).

Patent 6,626,122: Deactivatable biocides in Ballast Water, 2003 (with M. Moir, D. O’Rear, M. Buetzow, M. Dorsch, and V. Brian).

Patent 6,569,909: Inhibition of Biological Degradation in Fischer-Tropsch products, 2003 (with M. Moir and D. O’Rear).

Patent 5,236,594: Process for removing toxicants from aqueous petroleum waste streams, 1993 (with J. Suzuki).

Prior Experience

Senior Environmental Specialist, Chevron Energy Technology Company, 1989-2007

Project Experience

Environmental forensics and contaminant source identification– multiple sites

CERCLA apportionment and allocation – complex multi-party sites

Oil spill response – corporate oil spill response team member, incident command system experience - crude pipeline in an agricultural area, gasoline pipeline in wetlands, refinery shoreline

Consulting expert for current and former oil production site litigation- cases in Louisiana and Texas

Led industrial trade group efforts evaluating environmental impacts of oxygenates – MTBE, TBA, ethanol

Manager of water and solid waste issues for offshore oil platforms – California

Managing risk of oil impacted soil in developing countries – Africa, Asia, South America

Negotiation of multiple site NPDES permits with EPA (offshore platforms) and California regulators (emerging contaminants)

Remedial system development and implementation for soil, sediments, and groundwater- PAHs, petroleum, oxygenates, pentachlorophenol, agricultural chemicals

Strategic site assessment development and application – petroleum and chemical sites

Chemical aspects of contaminant fate and transport

Biodegradation and bioremediation consulting

Industrial whole effluent toxicity assessment and wastewater treatment

Product risk evaluation and regulatory negotiations – oxygenates, biodegradable plastics, pavement sealants

Provided training to regulators, lawyers and consultants on a number technical topics through agency-sponsored workshops, professional conferences, and university extension programs

Patented an environmentally sensitive biocide for preserving specialized petrochemical feed stocks

Collaborated with the Department of Energy to retrain Russian biological warfare scientists to engage in environmental research

Evaluated the impact of the Information Quality Act on risk-based regulatory activity of the USEPA.

Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • J.D., University of Idaho, 2007, magna cum laude
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Idaho, 1989
  • M.S., Biology, Portland State University, 1985
  • B.S., Biology, University of California, Irvine, 1980

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Washington State Bar, #39473