Midwest, United States - A leading manufacturer of industrial products wanted to better understand the composition and environmental risks associated with a groundwater plume beneath one of their former manufacturing facilities.
Eager to embrace an innovative approach to site investigation, the company partnered with Arcadis to evaluate the site, resulting in protection of human health and the environment and reduced environmental liability, while saving millions of dollars and decades of unnecessary remediation.
“This was groundbreaking. Our clients saw the plume ‘floating’ over their conference table. The model helped them understand the plume better than any report or spreadsheet could every convey.” -Nick Welty, Innovation Director and Technical Lead
Historical investigations of the former manufacturing site used traditional monitoring methods, and suggested a small, low concentration TCE plume in groundwater. The company approached Arcadis to provide a clearer picture of the plume’s nature and extent. Our team of environmental remediation experts and data scientists innovated a better way to collect, manage and visualize the data in order to meet the company’s objectives.
Using our Smart Characterization approach, the team collected data at the scale of inches rather than tens of feet as was present in the legacy dataset. The team collected tens of thousands more data points than originally sampled without installing additional monitoring wells.
As data was collected and transmitted, our data analysts and hydrogeologists processed the data, building a high-resolution, three-dimensional, flux-based conceptual site model in real-time. Instead of delivering complex printed reports weeks after visiting the site, Arcadis sent updates to the client every 24 to 48 hours.
We quickly discovered that the “small” plume was actually one-mile long, one hundred feet deep and extended through residential neighborhoods. As the latest data continued to build out the 3D model, it became clear that although the plume was significantly larger than expected, it was comprised of four additional distinct and separate plumes- but only one of these plumes originated at the client property.
Given the evolution of this site investigation, it was essential that the company and the regulatory agency had a clear understanding of the plume’s structure and impact.
In addition to building out a 3D model of the plume to view the location, size and structure of the various components, we also translated the data into an augmented reality (AR) experience that could be used practically anywhere. Brought to life with a Microsoft HoloLens, stakeholders and regulators could explore the plume, interact with the data through voice activated commands and understand the information better than any spreadsheet could convey in order to make data-driven decisions.
Detailed sampling, combined with 3D modeling and augmented reality, conclusively demonstrated that no active remediation of the TCE plume was necessary, and no risk was posed to the surrounding community.
Today, the site is closed in it’s entirety.
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