Groundwater consulting is a core area of expertise in Exponent’s environmental practice. Our scientists have applied knowledge of the hydrogeology of some of the most difficult sites in the US and internationally to investigations of fate and transport of contaminants in the context of remediation and litigation. Our expertise is coupled with state-of-the-art assessment and modeling technologies to provide a clear picture of source areas, contaminant transport, and the ultimate fate of chemical impacts in the environment.

Technological advances have improved our ability to simulate water flow and transport of chemicals through varied environments. We now have a greater understanding of the fundamentals, which has led to more robust computer models that are capable of predicting transport in three dimensions and that account for the physical, chemical, and biological processes that influence transport. Multiple models are often integrated to address specific issues—for example, assessing vapor intrusion (into a building) of constituents that volatilize from groundwater, or determining the contaminant distribution in a surface water body that receives chemical mass loading from groundwater. We have used these models to establish the origin of plumes, to confirm or refute claims by other experts about sources, and to explain the development of plumes under the influence of natural and anthropogenic stresses.

Exponent’s geographic information (GIS) specialists and graphic artists and are skilled in presenting complex hydrogeology and simulation results succinctly and effectively, including in the form of animations. We take care to preserve scientific integrity and to generate defensible illustrations.

Application of Exponent’s hydrogeology expertise has included:

  • Determining source(s) of a contaminant plume in groundwater Allocating cleanup costs among multiple contributors 
  • Estimating cleanup timeframes with and without extraction 
  • Optimizing investigations and remediation systems 
  • Determining the fate and transport of chemicals discharged to the environment 
  • Natural Resource Damage Assessment 
  • Determining the timing of a spill/release, which is often a key question in insurance policy coverage cases 
  • Evaluating transport of chemicals in tidally influenced aquifers.