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IPEConnect | Fall 2022:
Using Ultra-Violet (UV) Fluorescence Tools to Investigate Subsurface Contamination at a Former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP)


James Depa
Sr. Project Manager
Jacob and Hefner Associates

Presentation Date: November 17, 2022

Manufactured Gas Plants (MGPs) operated throughout the US until the mid-20th century to produce various petroleum products from the heating of coal. Without many (if any) environmental regulations to speak of, MGPs were notoriously dirty and waste products from the combustion processes, including coal tar, were routinely buried in shallow pits onsite. Most MGPs were closed during the mid 1900s when more efficient methods to create petroleum products were invented, however, MGPs were frequently built on prime real estate near coastlines and waterways.

The presentation will focus on the investigation of a Brownfields site in Charleston, South Carolina where an MPG operated for nearly 50 years. An ultra-violet fluorescence tool was used to investigate the site to determine the extent of free-phase petroleum contamination in the subsurface. Over a quarter million data points were collected in 5 days to not only delineate the contamination in three dimensions, but also determine the distillate type of the contamination as well as the geologic setting in which it resided.

This data was crucial in the remediation and redevelopment of the property.

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