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Midwestern States Environmental Consultants Association   

Conference on Environmental Liabilities,
Risk Assessment, and Remediation

A conference dedicated to advancing the professional competence of attendees through education and dissemination of environmental information relevant to the world’s leading businesses.

Takeaways from the Conference:

  • Technical sessions focused on identifying and quantifying environmental liabilities, evaluatingenvironmental risks and effecting remediation and risk management

  • New tools and techniques for site investigation, remediation, and risk evaluations

  • Recent updates to regulatory guidance and statutes

  • Emerging contaminants and how they potentially may be impacting businesses

  • Collaboration with clients, regulators, colleagues, and vendors

Monday, December 10th
    1:00pm - 5:00pm
    Reception to follow
Tuesday, December 11th
    8:00am - 4:30pm

Ritz Charles Event Center
12156 N Meridian St
Carmel, Indiana, USA



Coming Soon

MSECA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support:

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Conference Registration:

Register before November 19th to attende the Conference at following discounted rates:

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Environmental consulting companies can Join MSECA and all employees will receive discounted registration to all our educational events.



Industry Professionals Registration

Related environmental professionals, such as Health & Safety or Environmental Compliance Managers, who wouldn't qualify for Consultant Membership or Associate (Vendor / Supplier) Membership, but would still benefit from the education, are invited to attend the Conference at a discounted rate.


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receive discount on registration.

(Note: Currently IDEM & Indiana Brownfields are both MSECA Members)


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Student Registration

Full time students who join MSECA at our Student Member rate receive a discount on registration.



Presentation Descriptions:

Below is a partial list of the presentations that have been accepted. More will soon be added to the list.

Analytical challenges associated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Nathan Eklund, PMP, Pace Analytical Services

The emerging nature of PFAS sampling and analysis poses challenges in the ability to provide reliable data and meaningful advice to data users. This presentation will include the available analytical methods for different matrices (water, soil, sludge, etc.) for PFAS analysis. This presentation will also focus on the analytical challenges associated with this contaminant of emerging concern. Challenges include varying methods, compound lists, and differing state and federal standards for PFAS. Finally, a brief overview of the existing educational resources from sources including the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) and the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) will be discussed.

At the conclusion of this education, attendees will have a better understanding of:

  • The analytical challenges associated with PFAS
  • Various methods and compound lists associated with varying matrices
  • State and federal certifications and standards for PFAS
  • Sampling challenges associated with PFAS

Eliminating Risk of PFAS Contamination: Low Cost In Situ Remediation with Colloidal Activated Carbon

Brett Hicks, REGENESIS; Scott Wilson, REGENESIS; Jeremy Birnstingl, PhD, Regenesis Ltd; Rick McGregor, InSitu Remediation Services Limited

Colloidal activated carbon is emerging as a low cost in situ method to eliminate the risk associated with PFAS compounds in groundwater. By coating flux zones of an aquifer with colloidal activated carbon a permeable sorption barrier is created in situ, purifying groundwater as it passively migrates. PFAS constituents from up‐gradient source zones are rapidly sorbed to the carbon and removed from the mobile dissolved phase. By removing PFAS from the mobile phase, the route of exposure to down‐gradient receptors is eliminated, thereby eliminating the down‐gradient public health risk associated with PFAS.

Lessons Learned:
Colloidal carbon isotherm, retardation and sorption test data are presented for specific PFAS compounds indicating excellent sorption capability and increased performance with decreasing carbon particle size. The potential for competitive sorption/elution is discussed. Plume modeling is presented indicating longevity of in situ colloidal carbon treatment for PFAS to be on the order of multiple decades before reapplication is required.

Data are presented from a field case site where a single application of colloidal activated carbon resulted in orders of magnitude reduction in PFAS groundwater concentrations to below USEPA health advisory levels. Design considerations for plume management are discussed including amending existing pump & treat systems to reduce project cost and to eliminate down‐gradient risk to public health.

Environmental Liability and Insurance Recovery

David L. Guevara, J.D., Ph.D., Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

This presentation addresses the multifarious ways in which a party may be exposed to environmental liability and how insurance coverage may provide financial support for such liability.

The financial consequence of environmental liability is potentially enormous. Indeed, between 1990 and 2040, the cost of cleaning up environmental contamination is estimated to be between $500 billion and $1 trillion. In the United States, a significant portion of these costs are borne directly by the responsible parties themselves. Individuals, privately held companies, and municipalities annually incur significant environmental-liability costs. The sources of environmental-liability costs are various. The primary source is federal and state environmental statutes and regulations. Intriguingly, the regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency exceed those of the Internal Revenue Service. This modern environmental statutory and regulatory scheme was set in motion in the 1970s. At that time, the United States Congress enacted a wide-ranging set of laws directed towards multitudinous environmental concerns.

This presentation focuses on the most significant of these federal statutes: the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). CERCLA identifies four categories of potentially responsible parties who, regardless of fault, must pay to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances: (1) current owners or operators of a site where a hazardous substance has been released; (2) past owners or operators of a site at the time hazardous substances were released; (3) any person who arranged for the disposal, transport, or treatment of hazardous substances released at a site; and (4) any person who transports a hazardous substance to a site from which there has been a release. The case law interpreting CERCLA has enlarged this catalog of liable parties to include successor corporations, lessees of current and former owners, corporate officers who were active in site operations, active shareholders, parent corporations, lenders, and trustees. As a consequence of this broad classification of liable parties, many individuals, companies, and municipalities may find that they are responsible for the costs of investigating and remediating contaminated property, which can amount to hundreds of thousands – and even millions – of dollars.

Individuals, corporations, and municipalities can address the risk of environmental liability through insurance. The Exxon Corporation incurred an estimated $2 billion in environmental cleanup costs associated with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. However, it recovered a significant portion of these environmental liability costs through its insurers. Whether a party who incurs environmental liability costs is a small business or a multi-national corporation, whether the party can maintain solvency upon the incurrence of environmental liability costs is often contingent upon insurance recovery.

Insurance can be an enormous asset to a party confronting a claim against it for environmental liability. This presentation also focuses on the types of insurance that may respond to the vast costs associated with environmental liability and how a liable party may best position itself to obtain insurance coverage to defray such costs.

Petroleum Fingerprinting and Environmental Sleuthing Identifies Archeological Contamination Not Associated with Site Activities... Site Achieves Closure saving Millions

Richard H. Christensen, Jr. PhD & Andrea Jesudian, Acuity Environmental Solutions

An industrial maintenance facility enrolled in the State’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) program following the removal of two 2,000 gallon petroleum USTs. During delineation, additional non-LUST petroleum impacts were identified at the Site. This other portion of the Site was enrolled in the State’s Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP).

Oil skimmers were installed in the new VRP area to access the feasibility of removing the Free Phase Hydrocarbons (FPH). The recovered FPH was extremely viscous and not consistent with expected petroleum impacts associated with an industrial maintenance facility.

High resolution gas chromatography (HRGC), stable isotope analysis (C13) and high resolution mass spectrophotometry (HRMS) indicated there were two source of FPH within the VRP area. Neither source being connected to historical maintenance activities.

Potential remediation strategies were developed ranging from $180,000 for MNA to $3.2M for source area removal.

Investigation of archeological records and historical aerial photographs identified a region-wide source of contamination resulting from fill activities conducted pre-1958 during efforts to fill swampy back-dunal areas associated with dune and swale deposits in the NW Indiana region.

The State concurred and the Site was closed with an ERC on the property. The State issued a “Covenant Not-to-Sue”, signed by the Governor.

High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC) using Laser‐Induced Fluorescence (LIF) Technologies: An Adaptive, Real‐Time Approach to Identifying and Delineating NAPLs

Randy St. Germain, Dakota Technologies

Chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons have contaminated subsurface soils and groundwater at thousands of sites all over the world. Traditional methods of determining the presence and extent of light non‐aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) and dense non‐aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) contamination are time consuming and costly, and may not be able to differentiate between contaminant phases. Laser‐induced fluorescence (LIF) employs laser light to excite fluorescent molecules contained in the vast majority of hazardous NAPLs including petroleum fuels/oils, coal tars and creosotes. Additionally, through the use of a new dye‐enhanced LIF technique, standard LIF tooling is now used to detect dye‐labeled DNAPL chlorinated solvents.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the attendees will understand:

  1. Basic Principles of LIF Technologies & Operation
  2. LIF Data Output and Analysis
  3. LIF Interferences & Limitations
  4. Development of LNAPL Conceptual Site Models with LIF Data

Petroleum Forensics: When Standard Methodology Isn’t Enough

Joshua Richards, PG, CHM, Pace Analytical Energy Services

Utilizing environmental forensics for source determination and times of release has been instrumental in tuning remediation activities for site closures and determining proper responsible parties. When applied to the investigation of petroleum products, forensic analysis is useful for proper hydrocarbon characterization, providing methodology for age constraints of release, and differentiating of potential sources. This information coupled with other site information, can provide valuable tools for obtaining scientifically supported, court admissible, evidence in environmental legal disputes saving time and the increasing costs of remediation..

At the conclusion of this education, attendees will know/be able to/understand is how petroleum is characterized, potential pitfalls in dealing with petroleum forensics, and how to better understand the data.

PFAS - the Ubiquitous Suite of Emerging Contaminants

Lawrence L. Fieber, PG, Burns & McDonnell

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a suite of compounds widely used throughout the world, have been found in soil, groundwater and surface water. Water supplies of millions of US citizens contain measurable PFAS. Every week, we see another news article about PFAs.

The objective of this presentation is to provide a solid overview of the PFAS issue by providing an overview of typical uses of PFAS containing materials, summarizing the compounds included in the PFAS suite and challenges of investigating and remediating PFAS affected sites, and presenting the regulatory history and current status.

At the end of this educational presentation, attendees will understand what are PFAS, what materials commonly contained PFAS, how regulators are addressing these substances, and some of the key challenges facing investigative and remediation professionals.

PFAS Remediation Using Active Treatment Technology

Jim Olsta, P.E., HUESKER Inc.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are man-made compounds, some of which are toxic at relatively low concentrations, persistent in the environment and bioaccumulative in humans. Many of the sites of most concern are active/former military bases and commercial airports which conducted jet fuel fire-fighting exercises using aqueous fire-fighting foam (AFFF). Laboratory bench scale trials and pilot projects have shown that certain types of activated carbon and ion exchange resins are effective at removing PFAS compounds from water. For groundwater remediation, these sorbents can used in pump and treat vessels, permeable reactive barrier walls and sediment caps.

The three most important things that attendees will take away from this presentation are:

  1. What is PFAS, what are its risks and where is it likely to be a concern?
  2. What is the effectiveness of various current treatment technologies?
  3. How can these treatment technologies be deployed?

Rapid Chlorinated Solvent Remediation in Groundwater – A Multi-Site Performance Review of Enhanced Reductive Dechlorination

Steven P. Sittler, P.G., Patriot Engineering & Environmental Inc.

This presentation will include an evaluation of performance data from multiple sites where enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD) injections were utilized to rapidly reduce chlorinated volatile organic compound (cVOC) concentrations in groundwater and achieve site closure. At each site, an electron donor/bioaugmentation co-application strategy was successfully implemented, and a discussion on the consistent strategy for success at these sites will be shared. Specific site challenges, conceptual site model development, baseline analysis and injection design, and field implementation will be discussed in detail.

ERD involves co-application of controlled-release electron donors and bioaugmentation cultures of dehalococcoides (DHC), resulting in rapid reduction of PCE/TCE concentrations in groundwater. Sustained reductive dechlorination of daughter products such as cis-1,2-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride) subsequently occurs due to the action of the slow release electron donor along with the increased degradation rates afforded by direct injection of a microbial culture.

The sustained success of this ERD strategy will be highlighted via data from multiple sites showing complete PCE/TCE reduction within 3 to 12 months, followed by sustained reduction of daughter products. A lessons-learned section will be presented which provides details of how to quickly recognize when focused supplemental injections are warranted to reduce the time to cleanup goal attainment and avoid unnecessary monitoring. In addition, a comprehensive cost analysis with comparison to other traditional remediation technologies will be presented.

Rapid Site Characterization of a Chlorinated Solvent Plume using High Resolution Technology and GIS Based Online Tools

Jennifer Williams, AECOM

In January 2017, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) was notified by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) of a potential environmental liability regarding a release or a threat of hazardous substances has occurred at the Site. A third party Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) identified tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in soil and groundwater at the Site.

NSC operations at the site are known to have been minimal and incomplete information was known about potential leaseholder operations on the property. The Phase II ESA (2013) concluded that the suspected source of the volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination was related to on-site activities. However, multiple public reports identified adjacent properties with groundwater contamination and chlorinated solvents detected in monitoring wells surrounding the Site.

From July 2017 to December 2017, NSC conducted site characterization to further evaluate the distribution of dissolved-phase Constituents of Interest (COI) and potential associated exposure risks. A multi-phase approach was completed to define the extent of affected groundwater downgradient of the Site and surrounding offsite properties. In the first phase, screening was completed using the membrane interface probe-hydraulic profiling tool (MiHpt) to provide real-time evaluation of the relative distribution of VOCs in the vadose and saturated zones and an estimation of the hydraulic properties of soil material throughout the apparent affected zones. During the second phase ‘hot spots’ (as identified during the first phase) were evaluated further using grab sampling via direct-push methods and on-site analysis via mobile laboratory to determine the identifications, concentrations and distribution of specific COI. These high-resolution site characterization data were loaded into COLUMBIA Technologies’ SmartData Solutions® decision support system to enable real-time, GIS-supported collaboration as the fieldwork progressed. During the third phase, soil borings and monitoring wells were completed at locations selected based on preceding screening data. Soil and groundwater monitoring were completed to confirm the nature and extent of affected soil and groundwater verify the conceptual site model and evaluate potential exposure risks. This approach allowed for the average 2 year field preparation and investigation program to be completed within 6 months.

  1. Attendees will be able to understand how LLMiHpt tool can provide real-time evaluation of VOC distribution
  2. Attendees will be able to understand how to use GIS based online tools to make real time field decisions
  3. At the conclusion of this education, attendees will be able to understand technology options while working with the community and agency

Scale Appropriate LNAPL Investigations Tools

John Sohl, Columbia Technologies

A critical step in minimizing risk, reducing costs, and closing recalcitrant UST and LUST sites combines proper assessment of residual hydrocarbons and the impact of soil behavior on petroleum storage and transmissivity. Historically, addressing LNAPL problems at complex sites has been both challenging and expensive. During this presentation, the author will discuss best-practice use of advanced technologies that address these challenges through high resolution mapping of LNAPL and soil permeability to improve the confidence of decision makers. He will discuss case studies including LNAPL distribution assumptions and how proper data on LNAPL and permeability can be used to develop an effective conceptual site model, leading to more cost-effective site closures.

At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will:

  1. Understand the importance of using a scale-appropriate approach to manage LNAPL investigations,
  2. Be able to describe the appropriate use of advanced technologies for achieving high resolution contaminant and matrix data, and
  3. Be able to determine the appropriate application of advanced technologies for their own LNAPL sites to advance cost effective site closure.

TCE Toxicity Battlefield During 2018 – New Challenges, Risk Management Strategies, and Toxic Tort litigation

David Gillay, Barnes & Thornburg

The war rages on in connection with risk-based decisions surrounding potential non-cancer endpoints for TCE. Trump’s EPA and recent appointments heighten public scrutiny on this ubiquitous chemical. Nationally, many science and science policy efforts are underway attempting to implement effective regulation of these endpoints. These efforts have illustrated the need for an enhanced understanding of non-cancer toxicological assessment, exposure quantification and non-cancer risk characterization for purposes of risk management. For example, the practical application of non-cancer risk assessment science is being explored through a national effort to characterize a key aspect of U.S. EPA’s Reference Concentration for TCE that includes “up to an order of magnitude uncertainty,” which might define a “range” of acceptable remedial risk levels for risk management decisions. Efforts are also underway to verify the findings of the Johnson et al. (2001) study and to determine the implications of this study in the context of the existing non-cancer toxicology database. These efforts may more fully characterize the potential risk of fetal heart malformations, or confirm other studies that do not show this effect, through inhalation exposures to TCE in ambient air under different exposure scenarios. This presentation will summarize these efforts and suggest strategies to manage risk, liability, and exposure.

The Importance of Working with Regulatory Agencies for Cost-Effective, Ex Situ Stabilization of Heavy Metals

Chuck Hornaday, Vadose Remediation Technologies

This presentation will provide a project case study for a heavy metal impacted site. Further the presentation will review the regulatory framework that governed the site, and the importance of working with your agency for the most beneficial outcome in terms of project schedule, cost and protection. Finally, the presentation will presentation will be provided in a problem/solution format, providing the solution that resulted in a successful project outcome.

A developer near Detroit, MI wanted to redevelop a property with an ideal location and ready access to freeways as a freezer and cold storage warehouse. The only problem was the site was historically operated as a junk yard. High levels of lead contamination were identified over a large portion of the site, presumed to be associated with the areas where lead-acid batteries were crushed inside cars and left to drain. Furthermore, results of toxicity testing (TCLP) exceeded the threshold of 5mg/L of lead indicated that a large portion of the site was contaminated with lead at levels that were characteristically hazardous (D008). Measures were taken to limit the amount of potentially characteristically hazardous waste and incorporated into the foundation design and soil management plan, and a site redevelopment plan was submitted to the state through the Brownfields program. Some soil was disposed off-site as D008 waste at great expense, but when a significant area required excavation for structural reasons, the project viability was threatened due to the mounting soil disposal costs. The consulting engineer reviewed options and found that if regulatory approval could be obtained to treat the soil ex-situ with a heavy metal stabilization reagent and then dispose of the soil as non-hazardous waste, they could save approximately $1.2 million over hazardous waste disposal.

The consulting engineer worked with the state environmental agency (MI DEQ) to explore the applicable rules and regulations. The goal was to determine if a regulatory option existed to get an exemption from a required RCRA permit to treat the soils ex-situ. Obtaining a RCRA permit was not viable because of the construction schedule. Also, the higher hazardous waste disposal fees would ruin the viability of the project. The process was further constrained by the required strict adherence to the construction schedule.

Although in-situ treatment of characteristically hazardous soils is a permit-exempt activity under RCRA, the ability to treat the soils ex-situ was more regulatory complex in MI. The consultant worked with the MI DEQ to utilize an exemption to the RCRA permit requirement, allowing for ex-situ soil treatment on-site. This exemption was applicable because the corrective action plan had been submitted to the agency through the state Brownfield redevelopment program. The regulatory approval allowed the less expensive ex-situ on-site soil treatment alternative to move forward. The environmental consultant worked with a vendor to determine which product and at what dose rate would be most effective.

State regulations regarding the on-site treatment of characteristically hazardous waste can vary. It is important to engage with the appropriate agency early and often to fully understand potential options. The existence of multiple state programs may provide circumstances that vary from the typical project requirements. The direct disposal of characteristically hazardous waste is expensive and was able to be avoided for this project due to a good understanding of the regulations, and open discussion with the agency. Heavy metal stabilization is a viable option to render characteristically hazardous waste as non-hazardous by treating it on site either in-situ or ex-situ. For this project, the treatment was a success and resulted in project savings of approximately $1.2 million.

Vapor Intrusion Risk Assessment: Considering building-specific features and weather conditions

Elham Shirazi, University of Kentucky

Existing vapor intrusion modeling approaches, although extensively used and published, lacks sophistication to directly calculate building pressures and air exchange rates. Consequently, vapor intrusion modeling has focused predominantly on subsurface domains. This presentation will illustrate a new modeling approach that combines flow in three domains: indoor air, atmospheric air and subsurface soil gas. The modelling approach accounts for building-specific features and weather conditions to determine air exchange rates, indoor air pressures and contaminant concentrations in the soil gas and indoor air. It is advantageous over previous vapor intrusion models because it incorporates information known to influence indoor air exposure risks.

At the conclusion of this presentation attendees will:

  • understand the importance of quantitatively accounting for aboveground and below ground processes that control vapor intrusion exposure risks;
  • be able to describe the importance of wind and stack effects on building air exchange rate and building pressure;
  • recognize several factors that can influence indoor air concentration variability

Why the US EPA is Promoting the Collection of Time-Integrated, Passive Indoor Air Samples for Vapor Intrusion Risk Assessments

Harry O’Neill, Beacon Environmental Services

When determining health risks from vapor intrusion, indoor air samples are often collected over 24 hour periods; however, research completed has determined that the temporal variability of indoor air contaminant concentrations from vapor intrusion can vary by orders of magnitude over time and that short duration samples collected over 24 hours are likely to produce results that do not represent actual potential health risks. The US EPA notes in the OSWER VI Guidance Document (2015) that longer collection periods are expected to yield a more reliable basis for estimating both time-average long-term and short-term exposure than a one-day sample.1

At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will understand why the US EPA and other agencies are promoting the use of time-integrated sampling to provide average concentrations with an easy-to-use method that produces quality data with demonstrated high levels of accuracy and precision.