Joe Fiacco is a Senior Partner and contaminant hydrogeologist with ERM based in Boston, Massachusetts. He has over 23 years of experience designing and implementing state-of-the-art subsurface characterization programs at complex sites around the world. His primary expertise is conducting high resolution characterization programs for sites impacted by chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons in fractured bedrock and overburden environments, including mega sites. In addition, he specializes in optimizing existing datasets, developing independent conceptual site models, identifying relevant data gaps, and developing sustainable contaminated site management solutions.
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Sustainable Management of Contaminated Fractured Bedrock Sites
The first step in efficiently managing any contaminated site is to develop a rigorous conceptual site model (CSM). For fractured bedrock sites, this primarily involves evaluation of structural geology, transmissive fractures, and matrix porosity. The resultant CSM is then used to support development of a sustainable site management strategy. For some sites, active remediation may be feasible, whereas for other sites, it may not be. It is important to differentiate between these two situations at the feasibility study phase to ensure that significant money and resources are not expended for naught. Examples of sites that may be infeasible to remediate are those with a significant amount of contaminant mass diffused into the rock matrix. In such cases, it may be more sustainable to apply a risk-management approach rather than active remediation technologies. In other cases, it may be feasible to significantly reduce contaminant mass using active remediation technologies.