Janet Castle, President, Eagle Synergistic Optimizing Technologies, LLC

IPEConnect PRESENTATION DATE: September 19, 2024

Background/Objectives. 3D modeling combined with High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC) data enables the visualization of subsurface contaminant distribution. This technology is specifically useful in understanding contaminant distribution with multiple suspected sources since the model interpolates and integrates a large amount of data, including HRSC data, confirmation sampling, and traditional sampling.

A release of hydraulic oil was discovered at a manufacturing facility in western Pennsylvania, including the identification of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) across a broad area exterior to the building. The initial discovery indicated that additional assessment was necessary to assess the associated risk and to further advance the Conceptual Site Model (CSM).

Approach/Activities. This investigation included advancing 29 Optical Imaging Profiler (OIP) borings, which included an electrical conductivity dipole (EC) and the Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT) both exterior to and inside the manufacturing facility. Inside the building there were access issues due to active plant operations, vertical clearance for the Geoprobe, and open pits under the interior of the building where the presses were located. However, the suspected source was within an active pump room; therefore, it was critical for complete site characterization to investigate inside the building.

Overall, the OIP indicates the degree of LNAPL saturation within the soil matrix whereas the EC and HPT reflect grain size and soil permeability. As the data was collected, a model was developed and updated. Analysis of data by field staff and project management informed decision making and enabled investigators to “chase” the LNAPL distribution to suspected source areas and accurately delineate the contamination in real time.

Results/Lessons Learned. Access issues were able to be resolved by using a small drill rig and a small footprint since space to maneuver was minimal. Thus, the full site was successfully investigated. Data produced by the HRSC indicated multiple sources of LNAPL and LNAPL at different depth intervals that may have been missed by traditional assessment methods. HRSC, however, provides thousands of data points, enabling generation of 3D models displaying lithology and contaminant distribution. Utilizing the 3D model, the CSM was more rapidly developed, and the client was able to identify likely active sources. Additionally, the 3D model helped aid in rapidly screening remedial technologies for LNAPL management.

Janet Castle is the founder of Eagle Synergistic Optimizing Technologies, LLC. Her passion for integrating her experience with petrophysics, geology, and geophysics has led her to establish a unique business model that focuses solely on subsurface imaging technologies. Her company specializes in optimizing the investigative phase to help advance scientific methods in the environmental industry. Her main duties are reviewing HRSC data, managing her team of degreed specialists, 3d modeling, and helping with educating agencies, consultants, and the public on how to correctly utilize subsurface imaging. Previously, her career was in a petrophysics role in the energy arena. Her passion at that time was optimizing hydraulic fracturing by utilizing logging tools and 3D modeling. She was recently on the Rocky Mountain board for data log analysis, the Colorado Groundwater Board, and for several years has been appointed to serve on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists.

Using HRSC technology and 3D modeling to speed up the investigative phase of a unique site saving time and money getting to the remediation phase. Helping to understand which remedial action plan would be most effective on a tough site.

Environmental Consulting firms
Oil and Gas companies
Pipeline companies
Federal and State entities