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Allocation of Responsibility for a Large-Scale PFC Groundwater Plume

Client: Confidential Law Firm
Location: Colorado, USA

Challenge. Determine and allocate the level of responsibility of numerous potentially responsible parties for remediation of a large-scale groundwater contamination plume in an industrial area.

PlumeSolution. INTERA personnel led an investigation to accurately determine the separate contributions of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from landfills or other sources, and develop a groundwater model to simulate the flow of PFCs in groundwater. For decades, PFCs have been used in hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, clothing, upholstery, food containers, fire-suppression foam, and chrome plating. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and are resistant to degradation. Support of our client’s position consisted of reviewing environmental data, geology, and historical information regarding locations of nearby landfills, chrome plating facilities, and training facilities where fire-suppression foam was used, and utilizing that information to develop a site conceptual model of potential sources of PFCs. A groundwater model was developed to simulate the migration of PFCs from the contaminant sources to drinking water wells, and eventually to a river, in a karstic system.