WASHINGTON, D.C. – CDM Smith Principal Environmental Scientist Charles Schaefer has won Project of the Year from the environmental research division of the U.S. Department of Defense. His research into cost-effective treatment of chlorinated solvents at complex groundwater cleanup sites provides a new rapid assessment protocol with serious potential to streamline remediation in fractured rock. Schaefer recently accepted the award at an annual symposium hosted by the dual environmental research arm of the DoD, known as the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP).
Fractured rock sites impacted with chlorinated solvents, such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) or trichloroethene (TCE), remain a significant environmental challenge for DoD and many industrial sites. Conventional treatment technologies, such as chemical oxidation or bioaugmentation, often prove ineffective at attaining remedial water quality objectives due to a rebound in contaminant concentrations. Schaefer’s novel “push-push” technique is a hybrid of conventional “push-pull” injection and extraction, coupled with flushing and a high-resolution compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) sampling technique, which allows for assessment of the mechanisms controlling contaminant rebound.
“Charles’ exciting new work is leading our industry in the development of new methodologies and protocols for solving the significant environmental challenges posed by solvent contamination in groundwater at fractured rock sites,” says senior vice president Andrea Sewall, who manages CDM Smith's Environment and Technology Group.
The rapid assessment protocol based on Schaefer’s “push-push” technique gives the owners of complex groundwater remediation sites a management tool to improve the efficiency of the evaluation and treatment of contaminated plumes within fractured bedrock. This innovative approach allows for earlier discovery of the limits of remediation strategies, with quick and affordable in-situ deployment.
Schaefer is the director of CDM Smith’s Bellevue Research and Testing Laboratory, where he and his colleagues develop breakthroughs in environmental remediation and perform specialized testing for cutting-edge water treatment technologies.
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