Historical Reconstruction of Chemical Releases

Exponent helps determine responsibility for historic chemical releases due to industrial or chemical manufacturing.

Identify liable parties, apportion responsibility, and allocate costs to remediate and/or compensate for environmental harm

Determining responsibility for historical chemical releases brings a host of complex scientific challenges, and scientific rigor and accuracy are imperative for high-stakes environmental damage. Leveraging more than 90 technical disciplines, including expertise in industrial operations and environmental forensics, Exponent is uniquely qualified to provide historical chemical release reconstruction consulting.

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

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.