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In Situ Remediation with Andrew Franze, P.G.

Andrew is a Senior Geologist and specializes in chlorinated solvent groundwater remediation. By using his extensive knowledge of treatment technologies and remediation techniques, he has helped minimize disturbances of the environment and minimize the cost of the overall projects all across the country. If you have a question you would like answered here, please send it to info@keyenvir.com

1. Andrew, I talked to your colleagues in the office and they consider you the go to guy for in situ groundwater remediation. Does this accurately reflect the value you bring to KEY?

I have worked on several in situ chemical oxidation injection projects and bio stimulation injection projects. Being involved in the design, implementation, and performance monitoring phases has allowed me to understand the full scope of the projects. I think my value, as well as my other colleagues at KEY, is that I am a specialist with regard to chlorinated solvent groundwater remediation, but I am also a generalist having the ability to support a wide range of other engineering, environmental, and geologic projects.

2. You went to undergrad at Slippery Rock University, when you obtained your masters at Wright State University, what types of research were you involved in there?

I worked in a groundwater remediation research and development laboratory. We received Air Force funding to primarily study in situ chlorinated solvent groundwater remediation. Most of my work focused on bench scale treatability testing with stabilized, bimetallic, nanoscale, zero-valent iron treatments for recalcitrant contaminants such as trichloroethene and related compounds.

3. Clients budgets are always a consideration, so how do you present the best approach to achieve regulatory goals and effective long-term remediation?

Not only clients, but regulatory programs consider cost as a balancing criteria when developing short and long-term remediation and monitoring plans. In addition to cost, environmental impacts of remediation and monitoring activities should also be considered to further minimize environmental impacts. Cost and other balancing criteria are evaluate are considered in feasibility studies. Feasibility studies can be a high or low effort evaluation of potential remedial alternatives working toward regulatory compliance. For small projects a feasibility study can be scaled down to a simple memo describing options that the client can pursue. The feasibility study includes the pros and cons of various options including cost, short term goals, long term goals, implement ability challenges, remediation effectiveness, and more.

4. Can you give me some examples of challenging projects you’ve performed?

I have been working on an in situ chemical injection project for the past seven years and while we have had substantial progress in treating source zone groundwater impacted with tetrachloroethene and related compounds, we are dealing with low concentration remedial goals that may be impracticable to achieve over a reasonable timeframe. We have completed six injection events that injected multiple reagents (permanganate and alkaline activated persulfate) and multiple injection strategies (permanent injection wells and direct push injections). Geologic complexity, 20 ft of clay and saproloite overlying a undulatory fractured bedrock surface, makes this site challenging. However, we are in the process of transitioning to monitored natural attenuation, and we are optimistic that we can minimize future monitoring costs until a project endpoint is achieved.

5. Which do you find more challenging, addressing your clients’ needs or the regulators?

Every project is different so I can’t definitively answer this question. But I will say that it is important to identify stakeholders’ most important issues related to a project and then you can be sensitive to those issues in order to satisfy all stakeholders to the extent practicable.

6. Has KEY worked on any sites where you’ve used ex situ treatment to manage site contaminants?

Yes, KEY has worked on many ex situ treatment projects. I haven’t been directly involved in those projects but ex situ treatment systems is something KEY engineers routinely design, build, install, and operate. KEY partners with affiliates that specialize on construction, installation, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of ex situ treatment systems.

7. With emerging contaminates constantly being evaluated by the agency’s, where do you see the future of both technology and site closure with these discoveries?

It is difficult to predict how the future will play out, but regardless of the contaminant, there appears to be a trend toward eliminating exposure pathways, utilizing risk-based remediation approaches, and minimizing operation and monitoring costs. More aggressive remediation approaches will continue to be utilized to protect nearby receptors. However, more less aggressive remediation approaches, such as monitored natural attenuation, will be more common if receptors are not in the immediate vicinity of the Site area.

8. What new alternatives are in the development stage that could someday be effective in the future?

I’m interested to see how injectable colloidal activated carbon technology develops and to see if the material cost comes down in price as the production becomes more optimized. I’m interested to see how site characterization analysis tools improve over time. Constructing robust conceptual site models require more up-front effort, but they ultimately reduce cost and make progress toward program end points if utilized effectively. I’m interested in promoting mass flux remediation endpoints rather than groundwater sample concentration standards. Mass flux endpoints are more practicable and more appropriate than an outdate drinking water standard that is inappropriately assigned as a groundwater standard for a former or current industrial site.