Erin Brockovich revisits Hinkley and interviews IRP Manager

Project Navigator, Ltd. (PNL), as the Independent Review Panel (IRP) Manager for PG&E’s Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project, was interviewed by Erin Brockovich and featured on ABC News 20/20. Raudel Sanchez, Ph.D., of PNL summarized to Ms. Brockovich on the progress of the groundwater remediation activities undertaken by PG&E to date and the community outreach efforts involved to educate the community on the technical aspects of the project.

Read more about the interview on ABC News.

Superfund and climate change

PNL has noted recent news about a mid-October 2019 GAO report titled EPA Should Take Additional Actions to Manage Risks from Climate Change. The report evaluated the potential for adverse climatic effects on Superfund sites in terms of flooding, storm surge, wildfires, and sea level rise. Each individual Superfund site in the US is evaluated and rated for its potential impact by location. Data included the FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer for flood hazards, the NOAA SLOSH Model for storm surge, a NOAA SLR Model for sea level rise and the U.S. Forest Service’s wildfire hazard potential map. PNL reviewed the report and we provide a brief summary.

Report Summary

The GAO report concludes:

  • “Climate change may increase the frequency and intensity of certain natural disasters, which could damage Superfund sites-the nation’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites.
  • Federal data suggests about 60 percent of Superfund sites overseen by EPA are in areas that may be impacted by wildfires and different types of flooding-natural hazards that may be exacerbated by climate change.
  • We (GAO) found that EPA has taken some actions to manage risks at these sites. However, we recommend it provide direction on integrating climate information into site-level decision making to ensure long-term protection of human health and the environment.”

The GAO Report recommendations include:

  • Recommendation 1: The Director of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation should establish a schedule for standardizing and improving information on the boundaries of nonfederal NPL sites.
  • Recommendation 2: The Administrator of EPA should clarify how EPA’s actions to manage risks to human health and the environment from the potential impacts of climate change effects at nonfederal NPL sites align with the agency’s current goals and objectives.
  • Recommendation 3: The Director of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation should provide direction on how to integrate information on the potential impacts of climate change effects into risk assessments at nonfederal NPL sites.
  • Recommendation 4: The Director of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation should provide direction on how to integrate information on the potential impacts of climate change effects into risk response decisions at nonfederal NPL sites.

Future Considerations

In the future, to address potential climate change issues for affected sites:

  • The design of the remedy will consider the potential effects of climate change.
  • The remedy will be closely monitored to ensure the effectiveness the remedy over time.
  • The PRPs are funding the design and construction of the remedy and it is the PRP’s best interest to ensure the remedy is designed for appropriate future conditions.
  • EPA has released a Climate Change Adaptation Technical Fact Sheets for Contaminated Sediment Remedies. PNL would suggest that we would follow USEPA’s guidance to identify, prioritize, and implement site-specific measures for increasing remedy resilience to climate change effects.

Article from The Washington Post: 60% of Superfund sites could be hit by climate change, new government report finds

For reference only: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-73

Hurricane Preparation Checklist

The COVID-19 virus situation

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Business Partners,

Project Navigator, Ltd. assures you that we take the health and well-being of our work environment and community very, very seriously.

All PNL staff are closely monitoring the quickly developing effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and are advising clients, fellow consultants and contractors on how to perform on a site-by-site basis. More on PNL’s approach to determining what work is “absolutely essential” is described here.

To assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19, PNL staff will: 1. practice social distancing and telecommuting and 2. Manage and oversee field work activities on a project-by-project basis, which are consistent with the ever-evolving best practices. While our office is closed, our business activities are still running.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will stringently follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies (esp. at www.cdc.gov ), so we can continue to support our clients, work-partners and the communities in which we live and work.

Project Navigator, Ltd. develops Removal Action Plan for lead-impacted smelter residues for City of Cherryvale

Project Navigator, Ltd. (PNL) performed work as the on-site construction oversight contractor and client representative for the remediation of the former National Zinc smelter site which was operated under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Voluntary Cleanup Program. Work involved excavation and consolidation of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of metal impacted slag in an onsite disposal area and backfill of the excavation with clean fill obtained from nearby borrow sources.

After the smelter site remediation was completed, lead-impacted smelter residues were discovered in multiple locations within the City of Cherryvale where over the years, material was used for construction fill and road base. At the direction of the clients and under oversight of KDHE, PNL mobilized to investigate the nature and extent of smelter residues within the City. Working with the clients, KDHE and other contractors preparing plans and risk assessments, PNL organized and trained local teams and devised the program to obtain access to 100’s of properties, mapped, categorized, sampled and performed thousands of analyses in the field using portable XRF technology. This work resulted in early removal actions on 13 properties where surface residues exceeded applicable screening limits. Data generated by PNL during the various survey and sampling events was summarized in several investigation reports leading to the development of a City-wide removal action plan which will be implemented in 2019. Because of our long history with the Site, PNL was selected as the Client Representative for the City-wide removal action, and will be working collaboratively with the clients, KDHE, consultants, remedial contractors, and the City of Cherryvale to implement the work.

Project Navigator, Ltd. contracted to manage O&M at Bailey Waste Disposal Superfund Site

PNL has been contracted to manage the O&M of the Site remedy which includes two 7-acre engineered caps containing stabilized waste. The caps contain passive gas vents and extensive riprap for erosion protection. PNL’s scope of work includes maintaining the vegetation on the caps and within the riprap areas, conducting Site inspections, completing an annual Site Inspection Report and ensuring the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. Additionally, PNL has been contracted as the Project Coordinator and Construction Manager for procurement and construction of a new Site access bridge.

Cr(VI) Background Study Update for Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project

Project Navigator, Ltd. (PNL) has been facilitating outreach to the Hinkley Community focusing recently on the findings from USGS’s ongoing Cr6 Background Study. With the expectation of a final report by 2020, Community members have been learning of the multiple causes of Cr6 concentrations in groundwater.

Hinkley residents gathered in April, 2019 at the Hinkley Community Center to listen to presentations by PNL’s Dr. Raudel Sanchez, and USGS’s Dr. John Izbicki covering, respectively, the overall status of PG&E’s Cr6 groundwater remediation program, and the Background Study. Representatives from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) also made comments.

More is at www.HinkleyGroundwater.com.

First Quarter, 2019 News Update for Some Representative Projects Being Managed by Project Navigator, Ltd. (PNL)

PNL continues to be especially active managing $10MM’s of our clients’ site remediation liabilities, especially in the West and along the Gulf Coast.

Our work focus is especially on complex CERCLA and RCRA sites, where multiple PRP stakeholders help drive the work under the regulatory oversight of either U.S. EPA or the respective State Agency(-cies).

In addition, in partnership with sister solar power developer, PVNavigator, LLC, which focuses on solar projects on closed landfills and brownfield sites, PNL is also providing solar power consulting services to a home developer and a university.

View PDF to read more.

Ascon Landfill Site Final Remedy Construction to Begin January 2019

Project Navigator’s Ascon Landfill Site team has secured the proper approvals to move ahead on the final remedy for this 38-acre former oil waste landfill. These approvals included DTSC approval of the Remedial Action Plan, DTSC certification of the Environmental Impact Report, and City of Huntington Beach Planning Commission approvals of the required Coastal Development Permit and Conditional Use Permit. Project Navigator, Ltd. will be participating in a community meeting during December to educate neighbors and other stakeholders about the remedy and the safeguards that will be taken to minimize any impacts to the community. Construction is scheduled to begin in early January, 2019.

Project Navigator, Ltd. Participates in “Brightfields” Panel at California Land Recycling Conference, Carson, CA, October 24 & 25, 2018

PNL’s Dr. Ian Webster presented and participated in a panel discussion about the development of solar power installations on Brownfield sites at this major event hosted by CCLR, U.S. EPA and DTSC. Panel participants included representatives from U.S. EPA Region 9, and Southern California’s new local community choice power provider in the Clean Power Alliance (www.cleanpoweralliance.org). The panel’s discussion deck is here. Ian described a site-reuse vision, where in contrast to large acreage, remotely located, multi-megawatt solar projects; smaller, single-MW capacity solar developments on urban brownfield sites and landfills would feed a distributed urban microgrid. Ian can be contacted at iwebster@projectnavigator.com or 714-863-0483.

Project Navigator, Ltd.’s Houston Staff Describe a New Management Approach for the Stewardship and Operations, Monitoring & Maintenance (OM&M) of Long-Closed, Superfund (CERCLA) Sites

PNL has worked for PRPs managing environmental response actions at Gulf Coast CERCLA sites since the company’s founding 21 years ago. Major, complex CERCLA remediation programs under PNL’s direction, such as Malone, Tex Tin and PAB Oil & Chemical have run from their early RI/FS stages, to RODs, to RD/RAs and now into their respective long-term OM&M phases. However, with recognition that PRPs (1) still require an entity cost-effectively to “steward compliance” where major investments have been made, while (2) simultaneously seeking opportunities to develop a “consent decree-walk away-end game” solution, PNL has been interacting with PRPs and U.S. EPA Region 6 in the planning of a Long-term Site Management Entity. This month PNL hosted webinars on the topic with over 30 major companies participating. During 2019, PNL will continue to refine this new mature CERCLA site management system, further involving PRPs and EPA, while especially recognizing how many of the recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force can be put into action via the proposed entity. Many of the “entity’s key factors” such as site title transfer, liability management, legal and regulatory compliance, and OM&M reporting, which could be managed via PNL’s Land Navigator, LLC. For more information on this topic please contact Marc Ferries in Houston at mferries@projectnavigator.com or 713-468-5995.