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Fate and Transport Studies and Modeling

During the assessment and cleanup of environmentally compromised sites, a thorough understanding of the fate and transport of contaminants can be a key element in the design and choice of successful remediation solutions.

For more than 30 years, Geosyntec engineers and scientists have been recognized by industry peers for their demonstrated skill in the mathematical modeling of contaminant fate and transport in sediment and water, including underground water columns and large surface water systems. These models provide valuable insights into the complex physical, chemical, and biological processes present at contaminated sites and allow us to propose effective remediation solutions to clients based on sound, verifiable data.

After determining what chemical, biological, or photolytic reactions are underway among any contaminants of concern (fate) and how the contaminants physically move through impacted media (transport), our staff employ the supporting data for site characterization and risk assessments that, in turn, guide remediation strategies and management decisions by our clients.

Our practitioners employ a systematic modeling approach that allows for appropriate review and feedback at each stage of model development. After we determine the overall goals and objectives for the fate and transport analysis, we collect available data for a preliminary conceptual model of the system. This model improves our understanding of the site, identifies data gaps and inconsistencies in the system, and may point out the need for additional data collection or research. Once in place, the final fate and transport model can be used to predict concentrations of contaminants, make risk assessments, and evaluate various remediation options.

Depending on the type of site and media present, our models can be used to:

  • Evaluate groundwater movement, flow direction, velocity, and discharge rates
  • Understand any interactions between hydrogeologic systems
  • Develop and manage groundwater supply systems
  • Simulate changes in flow conditions
  • Determine potential impacts of contamination to nearby wells or surface water
  • Estimate leachability from soil sources to groundwater
  • Demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Estimate vapor intrusion from groundwater and soils into buildings
  • Estimate capture zones and drinking water source protection areas

Our senior practitioners have successfully presented and defended modeling results to state and national regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They also have provided peer review of groundwater models developed by others.