USGS issues Hinkley Chromium-6 Background Study

On April 25, 2023 the United State Geological Survey (USGS) issued the long awaited Hinkley Cr(VI) Background Study (Study) to the public. The completion of the Study is a major milestone for PG&E’s Cr(VI) Groundwater Remediation Program.

The USGS lead scientist in charge of the effort was Dr. John Izbicki and well respected in the Hinkley Community. Dr. Izbicki is a renowned expert in the fields of geology and hydrogeology of the Mojave Desert. The purpose of the Study was to identified natural occurring and man-made Cr(VI) in the Hinkley Valley. The process to complete the Study took ten years to complete and involved a comprehensive Scope of Work that involved stakeholders’ input. A Technical Work Group (TWG) was created to ensure the technical integrity and transparency of the Study. The TWG consisted of the USGS, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) Staff, IRP Manager (PNL), PG&E, and Hinkley Community Members. Dr. Izbicki presented an overview of his results in front of the Water Board during the Board’s Annual Meeting on April 26 at Barstow Community College in Barstow California. Dr. Izbicki presented an extent of the man-made plume based on a Summative Scale Analysis approach that was agreed upon with the TWG. The new Cr(VI) background concentration Dr. Izbicki presented is 2.8 part per billion (ppb), previous concentration was 3.1 ppb. Dr. Izbicki presentation can be viewed on the link below:

The next phase of the PG&E Cr(VI) Groundwater Remediation Program will be to incorporate the results of the Study into an updated Cleanup and Abatement Order (CAO) from the Water Board. The result of the Study will determine the final remedial target, monitoring and sampling program.

PNL staff discuss the development of PV solar installations to the 30 member companies in the Surplus Property Roundtable

Project Navigator, Ltd. (PNL) staff discussed the company’s work in PV solar development initiatives with PVNavigator, LLC, and the BREG Group (Belgium), at the Spring 2023 meeting of the Surplus Property Roundtable. The presentation covered the two parallel broad tracks of PV solar development initiatives, namely (a) environmental permitting activities, running in parallel with (b) interconnection feasibility and power purchase agreement sourcing. The presentation can be viewed here.

Completion of residential lead impacted soils program in Kansas

Project Navigator personnel, in a Project Coordination and Oversight role, have managed and completed a removal action of lead impacted soils and slag from 691 homes in Cherryvale, Kansas. More than 100K cu yds of impacted soils and sediments were excavated and disposed of in a specially constructed local landfill cell. The work took place from 2019 to 2022. Excellent relations were maintained throughout with Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment, the local Community and City Hall. The construction contractor was ENTACT.

PNL continues CERCLA site project coordination duties at two Houston-area sites

Project Navigator is coordinating the implementation of an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) at the Patrick Bayou Superfund Site in Deer Park, TX. The EE/CA is expected to involve capping (ACBM and/or aggregate) over impacted sediments at this 2.5-mile bayou. At the Tex Tin CERCLA site in Texas City, PNL continues to coordinate the Focused Feasibility Study (FFS) for the PRP Group. The FFS is evaluating alternatives for management of groundwater impacted by radionuclides.

Project Coordinator for a thermal treatment remedy

Project Navigator has been retained by the PRPs as the Project Coordinator at the Philip Services Corporation Site in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The proposed remedy involves in situ thermal treatment.

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.

More information on PNL’s role as the Hinkley Site IRP Manager is here.

Greater details available at

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:

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 ), 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.