Forensic assessments of petroleum and chemical impacted sites require a series of coordinated steps. Each step is designed to create a historic and site-specific context for interpreting the data. The very first step is to determine the economic and scientific efficacy of completing the assessment.
Like a CSI crime scene, environmental forensic assessments require an understanding of a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. The most effective forensic assessments are completed by a small group of experts experienced in a unique set of disciplines including chemistry, geology, hydrogeology, environmental science, historical research, remedial cost analysis and environmental law. The key to establishing the release date or responsible party is through a thorough understanding of the property which includes chain of use, chain of ownership, geologic and hydrogeologic conditions and contamination chemistry. Since each property is unique, the age dating and chemically fingerprinting, as mentioned, is just a small part of the puzzle.
The most effective environmental forensic assessments are completed by a team with a knack and the ability to “see” how the puzzle fits. This is a matter of experience, expertise, diligence, and ability. The end product must be designed for its use. In the case of cost recovery, typically the assessment is presented in a format usable by a legal team. Brydges Engineering in the Environment and Energy (BE3 Corp) has completed numerous successful forensic assessments.