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Charles Schaefer Wins SERDP/ESTCP 2018                                Project of the Year

November 29, 2018
Charles SchaeferCharles Schaefer, PhD

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.

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, trans­porta­tion, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As a full-service engineering and construc­tion firm, we deliver exceptional client service, quality results and enduring value across the entire project life cycle.

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