In an international competition organized by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists® (AAEES), HGL competed and received two Grand Prize awards in the following two categories:
Innovative Research – Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ Competition
On April 13, 2017, HGL received a Grand Prize in the Research category of the Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ competition for its Physics-Based Management Optimization (PBMO™) technology. The annual competition, organized by AAEES, has been identifying and rewarding the best in current environmental engineering and science since 1989. PBMO™ is a cutting-edge computer software system capable of being run in the cloud environment that links calibrated groundwater flow and transport models with highly efficient optimization algorithms. HGL’s cloud-based PBMO™ runs exponentially faster than other available systems and can obtain optimal solutions in a practical amount of time, ranging from a few minutes for small problems to a day for very large problems. PBMO™ has provided optimized management solutions in support of a variety of environmental remediation and water resource projects. Benefits resulting from PBMO™ applications include a reduction of potential human-health risks, conservation of natural resources, significant cost savings, and timely attainment of cleanup goals. The breadth of opportunity for applying PBMO™ to challenging environmental and water resource management problems is immense. The more complex the problem, the more value PBMO™ provides in finding optimal solutions.
Successful Execution of Challenging PBR Project – Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ Competition
AAEES also awarded HGL a Grand Prize for its work on a highly complex environmental remediation project at the former Fort Ord. The award was received in the Small Projects category of the Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ competition. Fort Ord is a former U.S. Army base encompassing more than 28,000 acres in Monterey County, California. Closed by Congress in 1994, the base has been undergoing cleanup with oversight by federal and state regulatory agencies. Fire training activities conducted at the installation released volatile organic compounds to groundwater in the area subsequently identified as Operable Unit 1 (OU-1). The 1995 OU-1 Record of Decision (ROD) identified 10 volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethene (TCE), total 1,2-dichloroethene, and benzene, as chemicals of concern (COCs). The TCE plume footprint encompassed the individual plumes of all 10 COCs. In December 2003, HGL was contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a Performance-Based Remediation (PBR) with the objective of Site Closure. Remedial action objectives (RAOs) included restoring groundwater quality beneath 130 acres of the Fort Ord Natural Reserve (FONR) to cleanup goals identified in the ROD. HGL successfully implemented integrated approaches and remediated the site despite the discovery that the TCE 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. Given the high probability that compounds containing emerging contaminants perfluorooctane sulfonate/perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS/PFOA) were used in training activities, the regulators overseeing the cleanup required site-specific data to support the Army’s site closeout request. HGL developed a strategy to reach site closure that included attainment monitoring for the COCs and PFOS/PFOA along with follow-up criteria based on the Provisional Health Advisory. HGL achieved cleanup goals in 2014, three years before the 2017 date estimated in the ROD; completed attainment monitoring in 2015; and obtained remediation action completion concurrence from regulatory agencies in 2016.