U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

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CLU-IN's ongoing series of Internet Seminars are free, web-based slide presentations with a companion audio portion. We provide two options for accessing the audio portion of the seminar: by phone line or streaming audio simulcast. More information and registration for all Internet Seminars is available by selecting the individual seminar below. Not able to make one of our live offerings? You may also view archived seminars.

January 2015
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NARPM Presents...Analytical Laboratory Data - Electronic Data Assessment

In Superfund or other environmental clean-up and monitoring projects, data validation is the process of examining analytical data to ensure the data is precise, accurate, and adequate for the intended use. EPA Quality Policy requires that all environmental decisions are supported by data of known and documented quality, thus any data used to support Superfund site decisions should undergo some type of data validation.

Data validation can be expensive and labor-intensive, especially in the traditional format where hundreds of pages of analytical data and associated laboratory quality assurance and quality control information are examined manually by an experienced chemist, who then makes a determination on the usability of the data for the project. Although imperative, the data validation process can delay crucial site decisions and increase costs.

The mission of the EPA Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) is to provide data of known and documented quality for Superfund site decisions. The EPA CLP program uses the Electronic Data Evaluation and Exchange Software (EXES) tool for automated data review and evaluation. The EXES tool is programed to automatically identify potential data quality and usability issues, thus reducing the time necessary for manual data validation. The EXES tool can be adapted to any chemical analytical method. When the EXES tool is used correctly by experienced chemists and data validators, the software can significantly reduce the time, effort, and cost of data validation.

The EPA CLP is working to provide access to the EXES tool to EPA Regional laboratories and other Superfund data validators and end users. This CLU-IN session will provide an overview of data validation, and outline ways that Superfund Remedial Project Mangers, site contractors, data validators, or end data users can incorporate the EXES tool and electronic data assessment tools into their clean-up monitoring projects to increase efficiency and lower costs.

NARPM Presents...The Elements of Analytical Laboratory Data Quality

The Elements of Analytical Laboratory Data Quality is a two hour training course for RPMs, OSCs, data validators, and other users of analytical laboratory data. The course will focus on the critical elements that must be considered when documenting the quality and usability of data produced by the analysis of samples from contaminated waste sites. Critical elements discussed in the course include:

  • Chain-of-custody;
  • Proper sample collection, storage, and preservation;
  • Methods and SOPs for preparation and analysis;
  • Documentation of processes that affect samples;
  • Documentation of the peer review process; and
  • Quality control and data validation guidelines.

Some make assumptions about analytical laboratory data quality, while others leave nothing to chance. The basic process of data review is discussed in detail, and several tools that have been developed and are in use by EPA to enhance and document this process are also presented. The benefits of taking this course include:

  • Understanding the importance of planning for the information and data you need (developing your analytical request);
  • Gaining familiarity with the data elements needed to establish data quality,
  • Gaining awareness of available resources to provide guidance in reviewing data, (i.e., National Functional Guidelines);
  • Recognizing signs of improper laboratory practices,
    • Gaining awareness of data quality tools, including sample management tools such as Scribe, Staged Electronic Data Deliverables (SEDD), performance evaluation samples, and electronic data evaluation software
  • Understanding the importance of documenting data quality through use of qualifiers; and
  • Understanding the use of labels to document the level of review applied to data.

Session I: Biogeochemical Factors Impacting in situ Remediation of Metals and PAH Mixtures

This session, "Biogeochemical Factors Impacting in situ Remediation of Metals and PAH Mixtures" will feature presentations from Michael Unger and Aaron Beck at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, James Ranville at the Colorado School of Mines, Heileen Hsu-Kim at Duke University, and Upal Ghosh at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Their presentation abstracts are presented below.

Researchers led by Michael Unger and Aaron Beck at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are developing new techniques to evaluate and quantify the biogeochemical mechanisms controlling the transport from sediment to water and bioavailability of DNAPLs and dissolved hydrophobic compounds within groundwater and at the groundwater-surface water interface. They are also testing the hypothesis that advection dynamics and seawater intrusion increase bioavailable PAH flux and NAPL transport in permeable cap materials used for in situ remediation at contaminated sites in the Elizabeth River in Virginia.

At Duke University, scientists led by Helen Hsu-Kim are studying sediment dwelling microorganisms that methylate mercury, and identifying factors that may be used to control and reduce toxic methylmercury production. The research is focusing on two critical drivers of methylmercury production: the environmental conditions that promote the growth of sediment microorganisms that produce methylmercury and the processes that influence the bioavailability of mercury for these microorganisms. The researchers are working at Berry's Creek, a hazardous waste site in New Jersey that has historically been associated with mercury contamination originating from the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund site, to implement the research, interpret results, and establish a guiding framework for assessments at specific field sites and the selection of remediation strategies.

At the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Upal Ghosh leads a research team to develop an empirical model of the factors influencing mercury and methylmercury bioavailability in contaminated areas. Using this model, they plan to identify biogeochemical characteristics that make sites suitable for remediation with sorbent remediation approaches, such as activated carbon amendments. The researchers will also design sorbent amendment/thin capping strategies that reduce methylmercury bioavailability. The main study site is a salt marsh in Berry's Creek, N.J., where they are conducting a field trial of in situ sorbent remediation using activated carbon and also evaluating the relative efficacy of a wider range of black carbons.

Researchers led by James Ranville at the Colorado School of Mines are developing and refining techniques — including environmental molecular diagnostics and stable isotope assays — used to detect, assess, and evaluate the bioavailability of metals that occur in mixtures and can be taken up by aquatic organisms, including nickel, zinc, copper and cadmium. They will test these approaches in a metals-contaminated stream at the North Fork Clear Creek Superfund site in central Colorado. This project will improve knowledge on the risks posed by mixtures of contaminant metals.

Session II: Biogeochemical Factors Impacting in situ Remediation of Chlorinated Contaminants

This session, "Biogeochemical Factors Impacting in situ Remediation of Chlorinated Contaminants" will feature presentations from Edward Bouwer at Johns Hopkins University, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen at the University of California, Berkeley, Jay Gan and Daniel Schlenk at the university of California, Riverside, and Frank Loeffler at the University of Tennessee. Their presentation abstracts are presented below.

Researchers led by Edward Bouwer at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering are evaluating a novel technology — a flow-through barrier containing granular activated carbon coated with anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms — to see if it can completely break down chlorobenzenes and benzene contaminants, which are known or suspected carcinogens. The researchers seek to understand the environmental processes and conditions that influence interactions among contaminants and the barrier to improve its effectiveness in contaminated groundwater. Laboratory and field tests are being conducted at the Standard Chlorine of Delaware, Inc. Superfund site where dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) chlorobenzene contamination is present in wetland sediments and groundwater.

Jay Gan and Daniel Schlenk lead a project at the University of California, Riverside to develop a simple method for measuring and accounting for contaminant aging in risk assessments and remediation. They will apply the method to sediment samples collected from various depths (reflecting deposition at different historical times) and location (reflecting different sediment properties) at the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund site off the Los Angeles coast. Sediments at this site contain high levels (up to 200 mg/kg) of DDTs and PCBs deposited from as far back as 60 years ago.

At the University of Tennessee, Frank Loeffler and his research team are designing and validating the B12-qChip — an innovative, high-throughput quantitative PCR tool — that can be used to recognize when the bioavailability of nutrients called corrinoids limit the ability of chloroflexi bacteria to dechlorinate solvents such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) and TCE. Using samples from Third Creek, a polluted creek in Knoxville, Tennessee, they are conducting detailed studies that combine cultivation-based approaches, high-throughput sequencing, bioinformatics analyses, and state-of-the art analytical procedures to reveal the best biogeochemical conditions for bioremediation.

Scientists led by Lisa Alvarez-Cohen at the University of California, Berkeley are using a combination of molecular, biochemical, and analytical tools to evaluate how microbes used for trichloroethene (TCE) bioremediation interact with co-existing organisms in various geological, chemical, and biological conditions. The researchers are constructing simplified groups of microbes living symbiotically that they will expose to stresses such as changes in pH and salinity as well as the introduction of potential competitive electron acceptors to the system (e.g., sulfate ions) to see how TCE bioremediation is effected. They will also combine intercellular data gained from both microarray and RNA sequencing techniques to develop mechanistic models that describe the effects of geochemical parameters on bioremediation.

Military Munitions Support Services - Advanced Classification

This will be a Military Munitions Support Services seminar with subject matter experts discussing the latest developments in advanced geophysics classification at munitions properties.

Military Munitions Support Services - Planning for a Munitions Project

This will be a Military Munitions Support Services seminar with subject matter experts discussing the planning strategies and tools used to investigate or remediate munitions properties.

Military Munitions Support Services - Decision Making for a Munitions Project

This will be a Military Munitions Support Services seminar with subject matter experts discussing the strategies and tools used to enable sound remediation decisions at munitions properties.

SRI Webinar Series: Risk Management and Assessing Liability: Helping Communities Pursue Reuse Opportunities at Contaminated Properties

Parties involved in the assessment, cleanup and revitalization of contaminated properties often have questions and concerns about how they may incur liability operating at these sites. This webinar is intended to share two critical resources to guide municipal governments, developers, investors and communities in how to mitigate risk and achieve local land revitalization goals. Presenters will share available information in EPA's Revitalization Handbook — Revitalizing Contaminated Lands: Addressing Liability Concerns and in EPA's Process for Risk Evaluation, Property Analysis and Reuse Decisions (PREPARED) Workbook.

SRI Webinar Series: How to Bring about Ecological Revitalization on Contaminated Lands

Ecological revitalization refers to the process of returning land from a contaminated state to one that supports a functioning and sustainable habitat. While the end use of a contaminated property is typically a local decision made with the site owner, EPA actively supports and encourages ecological revitalization, when appropriate, on sites under its cleanup programs. This webinar will share several benefits of ecological revitalization illustrated by case study presentations of various projects across the country. Ecological revitalization topics will include habitat restoration, soil amendment usage, urban gardens and pollinator habitat development.

SRI Webinar Series: Green Infrastructure: Reusing Contaminated Sites and Promoting Sustainable Communities

This webinar will introduce green infrastructure elements in the context of reusing and revitalizing contaminated lands. Site-specific projects will be used to discuss reuse projects that with green infrastructure elements such as habitat conservation, stormwater management, recreational opportunities and quality of life for communities nearby the contaminated land. The webinar will also share green infrastructure considerations and opportunities for future projects looking to sustainably return contaminated lands to productive and beneficial use for communities.

SRI Webinar Series: Bringing Alternative Energy Projects to Superfund Sites

As communities, towns and businesses across the United States are looking for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower utility bills and use alternative energy sources, Superfund sites and other contaminated properties have continued to garner interest. Nationally, Superfund sites have been put back into beneficial use producing energy from solar, wind, hydro-electric, biomass, and landfill gas-to-energy projects. This webinar will share several site-specific case study examples detailing how the potential for alternative energy was assessed, steps that had to be taken to facilitate the reuse in a way that would also be compatible with the remedy, and any economic or environmental incentives used to fund make these projects fiscally possible.

SRI Webinar Series: Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Perspectives on Superfund Site Reuse

A potentially responsible party, or PRP, is an individual or company that is potentially responsible for contamination problems at a Superfund site. Whenever possible, EPA requires PRPs to clean up hazardous waste sites the PRP may have contaminated. Many PRPs not only perform the cleanup, but also seek ways to return the site to beneficial use for the community and maximize the extent of land use on the site. Presenters on this webinar will include representatives from several PRP groups who have taken an active role in facilitating the beneficial use of sites they manage and who have worked collaboratively with EPA over many years to ensure that both the cleanup and the reuse of the property remain protective of human health and the environment.
Interstate Technology Regulatory Council
Seminars Sponsored by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council

Soil Sampling and Decision Making Using Incremental Sampling Methodology - Parts 1 and 2

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council When sampling soil at potentially contaminated sites, the goal is collecting representative samples which will lead to quality decisions. Unfortunately traditional soil sampling methods don't always provide the accurate, reproducible, and defensible data needed. Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) can help with this soil sampling challenge. ISM is a structured composite sampling and processing protocol that reduces data variability and provides a reasonable estimate of a chemical's mean concentration for the volume of soil being sampled. The three key components of ISM are systematic planning, field sample collection, and laboratory processing and analysis. The adequacy of ISM sample support (sample mass) reduces sampling and laboratory errors, and the ISM strategy improves the reliability and defensibility of sampling data by reducing data variability.

ISM provides representative samples of specific soil volumes defined as Decision Units. An ISM replicate sample is established by collecting numerous increments of soil (typically 30 to 100 increments) that are combined, processed, and subsampled according to specific protocols. ISM is increasingly being used for sampling soils at hazardous waste sites and on suspected contaminated lands. Proponents have found that the coverage afforded by collecting many increments, together with disciplined processing and subsampling of the combined increments, yields consistent and reproducible results that in most instances have been preferable to the results obtained by more traditional (e.g. discrete) sampling approaches.

This 2-part training course along with ITRC's web-based Incremental Sampling Methodology Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document (ISM-1, 2012) is intended to assist regulators and practitioners with the understanding the fundamental concepts of soil/contaminant heterogeneity, representative sampling, sampling/laboratory error and how ISM addresses these concepts. Through this training course you should learn:

  • basic principles to improve soil sampling results
  • systematic planning steps important to ISM
  • how to determine ISM Decision Units (DU)
  • the answers to common questions about ISM sampling design and data analysis
  • methods to collect and analyze ISM soil samples
  • the impact of laboratory processing on soil samples
  • how to evaluate ISM data and make decisions

In addition this ISM training and guidance provides insight on when and how to apply ISM at a contaminated site, and will aid in developing or reviewing project documents incorporating ISM (e.g., work plans, sampling plans, reports). You will also be provided with links to additional resources related to ISM.

The intended users of this guidance and training course are state and federal regulators, project managers, and consultant personnel responsible for and/or directly involved in developing, identifying or applying soil and sediment sampling approaches and establishing sampling objectives and methods. In addition, data end users and decision makers will gain insight to the use and impacts of ISM for soil sampling for potentially contaminated sites.

Recommended Reading: We encourage participants to review the ITRC ISM document(http://www.itrcweb.org/ISM-1/) prior to participating in the training classes. If your time is limited in reviewing the document in advance, we suggest you prioritize your time by reading the Executive Summary, Chapter 4 "Statistical Sampling Designs for ISM," and Chapter 7 "Making Decisions Using ISM Data" to maximize your learning experience during the upcoming training classes.

Use and Measurement of Mass Flux and Mass Discharge

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Most decisions at groundwater contamination sites are driven by measurements of contaminant concentration -- snapshots of contaminant concentrations that may appear to be relatively stable or show notable changes over time. Decisions can be improved by considering mass flux and mass discharge. Mass flux and mass discharge quantify the source or plume strength at a given time and location resulting in better-informed management decisions regarding site prioritization or remedial design as well as lead to significant improvements in remediation efficiency and faster cleanup times. The use of mass flux and mass discharge is increasing and will accelerate as field methods improve and practitioners and regulators become familiar with its application, advantages, and limitations. The decision to collect and evaluate mass flux data is site-specific. It should consider the reliability of other available data, the uncertainty associated with mass flux measurements, the specific applications of the mass flux data, and the cost-benefit of collecting mass measurements.

The ITRC technology overview, Use and Measurement of Mass Flux and Mass Discharge (MASSFLUX-1, 2010), and associated Internet-based training provide a description of the underlying concepts, potential applications, description of methods for measuring and calculating, and case studies of the uses of mass flux and mass discharge. This Technology Overview, and associated internet based training are intended to foster the appropriate understanding and application of mass flux and mass discharge estimates, and provide examples of use and analysis. The document and training assumes the participant has a general understanding of hydrogeology, the movement of chemicals in porous media, remediation technologies, and the overall remedial process. Practitioners, regulators, and others working on groundwater sites should attend this training course to learn more about various methods and potential use of mass flux and mass discharge information.

Groundwater Statistics for Environmental Project Managers

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Statistical techniques may be used throughout the process of cleaning up contaminated groundwater. It is challenging for practitioners, who are not experts in statistics, to interpret, and use statistical techniques. ITRC developed the Technical and Regulatory Web-based Guidance on Groundwater Statistics and Monitoring Compliance (GSMC-1, 2013, http://www.itrcweb.org/gsmc-1/) and this associated training specifically for environmental project managers who review or use statistical calculations for reports, who make recommendations or decisions based on statistics, or who need to demonstrate compliance for groundwater projects. The training class will encourage and support project managers and others who are not statisticians to:

ITRC's Technical and Regulatory Web-based Guidance on Groundwater Statistics and Monitoring Compliance (GSMC-1, 2013) and this associated training bring clarity to the planning, implementation, and communication of groundwater statistical methods and should lead to greater confidence and transparency in the use of groundwater statistics for site management.

Petroleum Vapor Intrusion: Fundamentals of Screening, Investigation, and Management

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Chemical contaminants in soil and groundwater can volatilize into soil gas and migrate through unsaturated soils of the vadose zone. Vapor intrusion (VI) occurs when these vapors migrate upward into overlying buildings through cracks and gaps in the building floors, foundations, and utility conduits, and contaminate indoor air. If present at sufficiently high concentrations, these vapors may present a threat to the health and safety of building occupants. Petroleum vapor intrusion (PVI) is a subset of VI and is the process by which volatile petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) released as vapors from light nonaqueous phase liquids (LNAPL), petroleum-contaminated soils, or petroleum-contaminated groundwater migrate through the vadose zone and into overlying buildings. Fortunately, in the case of PHC vapors, this migration is often limited by microorganisms that are normally present in soil. The organisms consume these chemicals, reducing them to nontoxic end products through the process of biodegradation. The extent and rate to which this natural biodegradation process occurs is strongly influenced by the concentration of the vapor source, the distance the vapors must travel through soil from the source to potential receptors, and the presence of oxygen (O2) in the subsurface environment between the source and potential receptors.

The ITRC Technical and Regulatory Guidance Web-Based Document, Petroleum Vapor Intrusion: Fundamentals of Screening, Investigation, and Management (PVI-1, 2014) and this associated Internet-based training provides regulators and practitioners with consensus information based on empirical data and recent research to support PVI decision making under different regulatory frameworks. The PVI assessment strategy described in this guidance document enables confident decision making that protects human health for various types of petroleum sites and multiple PHC compounds. This guidance provides a comprehensive methodology for screening, investigating, and managing potential PVI sites and is intended to promote the efficient use of resources and increase confidence in decision making when evaluating the potential for vapor intrusion at petroleum-contaminated sites. By using the ITRC guidance document, the vapor intrusion pathway can be eliminated from further investigation at many sites where soil or groundwater is contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons or where LNAPL is present.

After attending this ITRC Internet-based training, participants should be able to:
  • Determine when and how to use the ITRC PVI document at their sites
  • Describe the important role of biodegradation impacts on the PVI pathway (in contrast to chlorinated solvent contaminated sites)
  • Value a PVI conceptual site model (CSM) and list its key components
  • Apply the ITRC PVI 8 step decision process to screen sites for the PVI pathway and determine actions to take if a site does not initially screen out, (e.g., site investigation, modeling, and vapor control and site management)
  • Access fact sheets to support community engagement activities at each step in the process
For reference during the training class, participants should have a copy of the flowcharts, Figures 1-2, 3-2, and 4-1 from the ITRC Technical and Regulatory Guidance Web-Based Document, Petroleum Vapor Intrusion: Fundamentals of Screening, Investigation, and Management (PVI-1, 2014) and are available as a 3-page PDF at http://www.cluin.org/conf/itrc/PVI/ITRC-PVI-FlowCharts.pdf

Starting in late 2015, ITRC will offer a 2-day PVI focused classroom training at locations across the US. The classroom training will provide participants the opportunity to learn more in-depth information about the PVI pathway and practice applying the ITRC PVI guidance document with a diverse group of environmental professionals. Email training@itrcweb.org if you would like us to email you when additional information is available.

Environmental Molecular Diagnostics: New Tools for Better Decisions

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Environmental molecular diagnostics (EMDs) are a group of advanced and emerging analytical techniques used to analyze biological and chemical characteristics of environmental samples. Conventional data (e.g., hydrogeological data, chemical, and geochemical analyses) often provide only indirect data regarding the mechanisms and rates of key attenuation or treatment processes. EMDs can complement these data by providing direct measurements of the organisms, genes or enzymes involved in contaminant biodegradation, of the relative contributions of abiotic and biotic processes, and of the relative rates of various degradation processes. The information provided by EMDs can improve estimates of attenuation rates and capacities and improve remedy performance assessments and optimization efforts. Improved understanding of the biological and non-biological degradation processes also can lead to greater confidence in MNA or closure decisions. EMDs have application in each phase of environmental site management (including site characterization, remediation, monitoring, and closure activities), address a wide variety of contaminants (including PCE, PCBs, radionuclides, perchlorate, fuels), and work with various media (including groundwater, soil, sediments, soil vapor).

Although EMDs have been used over the past 25 years in various scientific fields, particularly medical research and diagnostic fields, their application to environmental remediation management is relatively new and rapidly developing. The ITRC Environmental Molecular Diagnostics Fact Sheets (EMD-1, 2011), ITRC Environmental Molecular Diagnostics Technical and Regulatory Guidance (EMD-2, 2013) and this companion Internet-based training will foster the appropriate uses of EMDs and help regulators, consultants, site owners, and other stakeholders to better understand a site and to make decisions based on the results of EMD analyses. At the conclusion of the training, learners will be able to determine when and how to use the ITRC Environmental Molecular Diagnostics Technical and Regulatory Guidance (EMD-2, 2013); define when EMDs can cost-effectively augment traditional remediation data sets; and describe the utility of various types of EMDs during remediation activities.

Training participants are encouraged to review the ITRC EMD Fact Sheets, in particular the Introduction to EMDs fact sheet, before the Internet-based training.