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Risk Assessment and Applied Toxicology

Geosyntec integrates risk assessment data collection early in the field data collection program to minimize the mobilization efforts.
Geosyntec integrates risk assessment data collection early in the field data collection program to minimize the mobilization efforts.

Our advanced statistical approaches to risk assessment have often led to remedies that are more cost-effective than those indicated by prescriptive approaches.
Our advanced statistical approaches to risk assessment have often led to remedies that are more cost-effective than those indicated by prescriptive approaches.

Ecological risk assessments have become one of the significant elements of remediation strategies.  Geosyntec wrote the guidance used by NASA for all ecological risk assessments at the Kennedy Space Center.
Ecological risk assessments have become one of the significant elements of remediation strategies. Geosyntec wrote the guidance used by NASA for all ecological risk assessments at the Kennedy Space Center.

Geosyntec provides human health and ecological risk assessment services as tools to identify the most appropriate approaches to remediate sites impacted by soil and groundwater contamination.  We employ advanced statistical approaches to estimating the realistic risks associated with common and emerging contaminants.  Our risk assessment specialists work with our remediation practitioners to develop site-specific solutions that achieve needed levels of protection while optimizing financial commitments and operational practicalities for our clients.   Our applied toxicology specialists are often called upon by law firms to provide expert consultation on environmental exposure health issues.

Practice Specialties

We believe that there are substantial flexibilities that can be utilized and that, through the use of alternative, science-based approaches, risk assessment can be a powerful tool for site closure, redevelopment planning, and management of environmental liabilities.  We specialize in the development of truly site-specific approaches to characterizing risk that are tailored to address client goals and objectives for compliance, financial management, and environmental stewardship.  Our practitioners are often retained to address the complex issues associated with multi-party or high-profile sites, where redevelopment plans call for remediation to be integrated with sensitive land uses such as residential neighborhoods, schools, recreational facilities, or wildlife habitat.  Geosyntec also provides specialized applied toxicology services to address a variety of health issues related to exposure to chemicals like chlorinated solvents, pesticides/herbicides, PCBs, dioxins/furans, PAHs, MtBE, BTEX; physical agents like asbestos and radionuclides; and consumer/pharmaceutical products.  Attorneys utilize our distinctive capabilities to support litigation involving toxic tort, workers compensation, and product liability.  Our practitioners include toxicologists, public health scientists, and other technical specialists in biostatistics, epidemiology, information management, and contaminant fate and transport modeling.

Advancing the State of the Practice

We are also helping shape the future of risk assessment as a discipline through our applied research with colleagues in the academic, industrial, and regulatory sectors.  For example, through a collaborative research project with the University of Florida, Geosyntec professionals helped develop the FLUCL software package for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  This software is used to calculate exposure point concentration statistics in risk assessment and was the first of its kind to contain algorithms for censored datasets.  FLUCL has been endorsed by several U.S. EPA regions and California EPA.  

Our Approach

As one example of our integrated application of our risk assessment capabilities, we recently used a detailed spatial analysis of soil sampling results to support the averaging of composite samples in estimating exposure point concentrations for use in a risk assessment of areas adjacent to a stormwater drainage channel.  Our efforts saved the client more than $500,000 in investigation costs when compared to more traditional statistical approaches.  Our analysis also accelerated the implementation of remedial action at the site.  At a Superfund site in California, we developed, and secured regulatory approval for, an innovative vapor intrusion model incorporating unsaturated zone biodegradation.  This approach significantly reduced the number of areas of concern requiring further evaluation in the feasibility study for the site.

We apply similarly sophisticated and innovative approaches to ecological risk assessments.  Working for NASA, we developed a set of ecological food-web-based screening values to expedite ecological risk assessments at the Kennedy Space Center as well as to foster consistency between the assessments performed for multiple sites at this facility.  At a Superfund site in the southeast, we developed site-specific sediment cleanup goals for mercury and PCBs in a coastal estuarine system using probabilistic food-web exposure models.  These goals were less restrictive than the “check the box” defaults and were instrumental in the successful negotiation of a long-term monitoring remedy for the site, saving the client millions of dollars compared the comprehensive excavation remedy originally favored by U.S. EPA for the site.

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