Reconstruct historical chemical releases for clarity on contaminant sources.
Reconstructing past chemical releases — particularly when they occurred and who was responsible — requires accurately determining sources, timing of a release, and whether multiple releases occurred. When past chemical releases are clearly understood, responsible parties can address cleanup and natural resource damage assessments.
Exponent's multidisciplinary, highly specialized team of environmental forensic scientists and engineers is well-qualified and litigation-tested, with expertise in chemistry and geochemistry, hydrogeology, process engineering, and fate and transport modeling in groundwater, surface water, sediment, and air. We address historical chemical release reconstruction questions in industrial settings ranging from a single site (e.g., a dry-cleaning facility), to complex, multiparty Superfund sites with potentially numerous responsible parties and chemicals.
Exponent has consulted on historical chemical release reconstruction projects that include former manufactured gas plant sites, wood-treatment sites, oil refineries, iron and steel works, non-ferrous smelters, brass foundries, battery manufacturers, aluminum smelters, petroleum refineries, pesticide manufacturers, dry cleaning facilities, glass manufacturers, retail gas stations, and multiparty and multi-industry sediment sites.
Our chemical release reconstructions typically include a thorough review of written records, operational histories, and chemical processes, as well as the application of advanced chemical forensics to determine chemical sources, the quantities and compositions of chemicals in the environment (i.e., chemical fingerprint analysis), and degradation or weathering patterns. Our reconstruction analyses weave together multiple strands of information and data that may include:
- Present day patterns of contamination observed at the site
- Site-specific historical operations
- General knowledge of the processes used, chemicals handled, and wastes generated
- Physical setting of the site, including a detailed understanding of the soils, geology, hydrogeology, drainage patterns, and climatology
- Understanding of the chemical fate processes influencing the concentrations and chemical patterns observed at the site
For 50+ years, we’ve thrived on solving unstructured problems that require bespoke solutions. Some of our services include:
• Examining aerial photographs and historical maps, including topographic maps and fire insurance maps
• Reviewing historical patents and contemporaneous trade- or peer-reviewed literature
• Evaluating utility maps and construction records, including historical and current sewer maps
• Analyzing ownership and operational records
• Evaluating permits and violations
• Chemical fingerprinting, including multivariate statistical analyses or chemical source modeling
• Age-dating using chemical techniques
• Fate and transport modeling
Our Capabilities Are Unparalleled
With expertise in over 90 disciplines and hundreds of capabilities, tools, and methodologies — we get to the root of even the most complex challenges and give you the objective answers you need.
Sustainability & Climate Change
Scientific and engineering insights to improve and quantify sustainability practices and secure vital resources and assets.
Water Sciences & Management
Sophisticated water consulting services, helping clients adapt to climate change and sustainability challenges.
Environmental & Regulatory Compliance
Rigorous analyses to help clients overcome complex environmental and regulatory hurdles and meet auditing obligations.
Environmental Assessment & Remediation
Conduct timely, accurate site assessment to identify risks and remediation options.
Industrial Contamination Management
Expert environmental services for a range of complex industrial contamination challenges.
Our global and comprehensive expertise across industries gives us a deep understanding of current challenges, best industry practices, and the implications of emerging technologies.
Office Director and Principal Scientist
Senior Managing Scientist
Senior Managing Engineer