In its annual awards ceremony held April 13, 2017, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists® (AAEES) awarded HGL a grand prize for its work on a highly complex performance-based remediation project at the former Fort Ord in California. The award was received in the Small Projects category of the Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ competition, which has recognized the best in current environmental engineering and science since 1989. Fort Ord has been undergoing environmental restoration since it closed in 1994. Fire training activities conducted at the installation released volatile organic compounds to groundwater in the area subsequently identified as Operable Unit 1 (OU-1). A portion of the land overlying the OU-1 contaminated groundwater, the Fort Ord Nature Reserve (FONR), was set aside to protect the flora and fauna of the unique Monterey Bay maritime chaparral.
HGL successfully implemented integrated approaches and remediated the site despite the discovery that the groundwater plume had extended off site approximately 1,400 feet beyond the previously estimated limit. Other challenging constraints overcome by HGL included conserving FONR habitat and plant species and not affecting other contaminated areas of the site. HGL achieved cleanup goals in 2014, three years before the 2017 date estimated in the Record of Decision; completed attainment monitoring in 2015; and obtained remediation action completion concurrence from regulatory agencies in 2016.
HGL optimized the pump and treat remedy using its innovative Physics-Based Management Optimization (PBMO™) software to reduce the cost and duration of the cleanup. PBMO™ was used with the a calibrated MODFLOW-SURFACT™ groundwater model to evaluate alternative pumping strategies using the existing extraction well network. PBMO™ identified an optimal solution that reduced the cleanup time without affecting the endangered Sand Gilia and threatened Monterey Spineflower species in the FONR. HGL’s PBMO™ software was recognized separately by AAEES with a grand prize in the Research category of the Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ competition. To learn more about the application of PBMO™ on this award-winning project, please watch the associated animation on YouTube (https://youtu.be/O18Gt-X406A).