LimnoTech Inc.

LimnoTech Inc.

LimnoTech is one of the country’s leading water sciences and environmental engineering consulting firms. Founded in 1975, the company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with our Mid-Atlantic regional office in Washington, D.C., and satellite offices in Austin, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul region (see Where we’re located). Throughout our history, we have been an independent and objective consultant and partner in our teaming relationships with private firms, public entities, research organizations, and universities (see Team with us). Our projects have covered 49 of the 50 United States and an increasing number of locations worldwide.

Company details

501 Avis Drive , Ann Arbor , Michigan 48108 USA
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Business Type:
Engineering service provider
Industry Type:
Water Science and Research
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:
$10,000,000 US - $100,000,000 US

The LimnoTech story

When the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire in 1969, Time magazine described it as the river that “oozes rather than flows.” Around the same time, Lake Erie was declared “dead.” These and other events helped spur a U.S. national commitment to clean water. It was during this time that Paul Freedman and two other University of Michigan researchers formed a consulting company with the goal of becoming “players” in solving the nation's water quality problems. This was the beginning of LimnoTech in 1975.

Throughout the ensuing years, LimnoTech and its staff have been committed to helping clients make the best decisions for the protection and restoration of the water environment. Our history began built around employing new, cutting-edge computer models to analyze problems. Since this start as a company, we have remained focused on developing and employing state-of-the-art approaches to solve problems as they arise. Below is a brief history that shows how LimnoTech has progressed and evolved in tandem with the evolution of the field—often leading the way.

The 1970s: Using Computer Models for Decision Support

The 1970s in the U.S. brought a surge in environmental awareness and a flood of new environmental legislation, calling for more informed analysis to justify expensive control measures. At the same time, computers were becoming accessible tools for engineers and scientists. During this decade, LimnoTech was a pioneer in applying new models to help municipal utility managers make difficult and expensive decisions about combined sewer overflow (CSO) control and wastewater treatment requirements. To this day, LimnoTech continues to be viewed as a national leader on these and other water quality issues for utilities. Beginning in 1975, LimnoTech led the way in development and use of dissolved oxygen and eutrophication models to aid in defining necessary technology improvements for wastewater treatment plants and also developed among the first simple sewer overflow models to support strategies for the control of combined sewer overflows. We were recognized for helping communities create comprehensive plans to manage their wastewater. One of these communities was Washington, DC, a client we've served continuously for almost four decades, indicative of our high quality services and adaptability to emerging issues.

The 1980s: Toxics Concerns and New Technologies

In the 1980s our work and reputations addressing dissolved oxygen and eutrophication problems grew, but toxic chemical pollution quickly emerged as a significant concern. LimnoTech became a nationally recognized leader by addressing new issues in surface water and groundwater for both conventional and toxic pollutants. To this end, we expanded our client base to include industries and government agencies. Staff at LimnoTech developed some of the earliest models of the fate and transport of PCBs, DDT, and other chemical contaminants in the Great Lakes to evaluate problems and potential solutions in Saginaw Bay, Lake Michigan, and Lake Ontario, building on our prior work on Great Lakes eutrophication. Groundwater pollution from spills of toxic solvents was also a concern. Here too, LimnoTech applied innovative modeling and computer analysis to analyze problems at high-profile Superfund sites as well as to help assess and clean up smaller sites. These projects ran the range from localized spills of gasoline and solvents to large-scale contamination of river and lake sediments. In this latter area, LimnoTech emerged as a leading expert in developing assessments and strategies for high-profile mega-sites.

In parallel with this evolution in our services and clients during this decade, there was a growing use of personal desktop computers.  LimnoTech quickly became a leader in making the technology from computer simulation more accessible to decision-makers. We were pioneers in developing user-interactive PC models, graphic interfaces, GIS database management and display programs, probabilistic models, and other innovations addressing surface water and groundwater challenges. Computer modeling and analysis became standard tools for decision-making in our industry, and LimnoTech was a key player in that evolution.

The 1990s: Focus on Holistic Approaches

In the 1990s, attention turned from cleaning up individual sites and controlling point source pollution to more holistic approaches of prevention and restoration. This outcome-based focus moved us away from a programmatic/siloed outlook  to a holistic approach that focused on priority issues and solutions. The relatively new concept of watershed management received greater emphasis, along with its regulatory counterpart, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Embracing a watershed approach, we expanded our interests from primarily urban-focused to also include rural and agricultural issues. Though our watershed practice, LimnoTech led local and national efforts to promote innovative scientific approaches for developing more effective priorities for water quality protection and restoration.

In addition to site-specific applications of watershed assessment tools, staff at LimnoTech promoted these concepts nationally.  Our staff organized several national conferences, contributed hundreds of presentations and papers, and developed numerous innovations in modeling. During this period, LimnoTech was also responsible for numerous government training workshops, new models, and technical guidance manuals, all focused on advancing the use of models to support effective watershed management.

Expanding our national reputation, LimnoTech was also at the forefront of large-scale ecosystem restoration strategies related to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and Chesapeake Bay. Our focus was no longer strictly limited to water quality; we broadened our services to address habitat loss, hydraulic/hydrologic modifications, and invasive species.  As an example, we developed the first models to consider the effects of invasive zebra mussels on everything from blue-green algae to hypoxia to PCB concentrations in fish. We also employed innovative advances in technology to reexamine dredging as a universal strategy for contaminated sediment sites, and considered the feasibility of targeted natural attenuation as an effective measure at Superfund sites, both for groundwater and contaminated sediments.

The 2000s and Beyond: Sustainability, Affordability and Globalization

In this new century, water pollution and water scarcity  take on an urgent and global perspective. Increasing populations, demand for resources, climate change, and a globalization of economies have manifested themselves in water issues that significantly impact businesses, people, and the environment in nearly every country on the planet. As a result, businesses, governments, and NGOs seek new tools to assess water-related risks, and to develop sustainable strategies to protect against these risks.

LimnoTech has contributed to sustainable solutions to these critical issues through our support to major global corporations and NGOs. This has included support to food and beverage companies, as well as to traditional industries such as cement, pulp and paper, oil refining, and energy. LimnoTech has  been instrumental in the development and application of new assessment tools from risk assessment models to water footprinting to water benefit credits. We have worked in partnership with global environmental nonprofits, international agencies and banks, as well as research organizations, to better develop and demonstrate the utility of these new approaches to benefit business, society, and the environment.

Over this same period, U.S. urban communities have wrestled with how to solve expensive CSO, sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), and wet weather pollution issues with sustainable approaches they can afford. Communities have been struggling to resolve issues with expensive compliance plans, permits, and consent decrees, looking for alternatives with affordable rate increases. LimnoTech has been at the forefront in developing and promoting approaches such as adaptive management, integrated planning, and green versus gray solutions as affordable but effective answers. We have used our high-level analytical tools to demonstrate that these innovative approaches are effective and represent more sustainable solutions. LimnoTech employees have helped advance this dialog not only through our project work, but also through numerous papers, presentations, and professional activities.

Looking to the future, we at LimnoTech are still passionate about our role in helping solve our clients’ problems and the global challenges that exist in the water field. We are passionate about contributing to effective solutions but also excited to help advance the technology that is used to design solutions.  As new environmental challenges emerge in the years ahead, LimnoTech will continue to play a leadership role, helping our clients make informed decisions while enhancing and protecting our water environment.


LimnoTech has traditionally encouraged staff to actively champion causes and organize charitable activities. Staff are also actively involved in giving back to the profession through participation in numerous professional organizations and conferences. This page will periodically highlight one of the many charities to which LimnoTech employees contribute time, money and effort.

The mission of the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) of Washtenaw County, Michigan, is to find a home for every adoptable animal in its care and to prevent cruelty to animals. The HSHV provides numerous services, including food, shelter and care for stray and unwanted animals; a full-service veterinary clinic; 24-hour rescue for sick and injured wildlife and stray animals; cruelty investigations; community outreach and education; and much more.

LimnoTech staff take part yearly in a number of activities to support the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Staff members have participated in the annual Walk & Wag event with their pets to raise money, have donated blankets and towels to make pets’ dwellings more comfortable, and have contributed money through in-house fund-raisers for various needs.


Municipalities and Utilities
Municipalities and public utilities must cost-effectively serve their communities' wastewater needs, while minimizing their impact on watersheds, waterways, and ecosystems. These organizations negotiate permits, invest in water pollution control technologies, comment on proposed regulations, involve stakeholders in decision-making, and take a leadership role in sustainability, environmental problem-solving, and planning the future of their communities. They need to have ready access to environmental consultants with a national reputation in understanding these issues and developing scientifically sound solutions that are mission-oriented, cost-effective, and kind to the environment.

LimnoTech is a national leader in informing rational policy and technical approaches based on the latest science and technology, working with regulators, and creating models that accurately capture the complex technical factors affecting our water resources.

LimnoTech offers municipalities and water utilities:

  • Access to vital contacts and information throughout the nation
  • Ability to address new issues without precedent, as well as standard situations
  • Expert understanding of regulations
  • Skillful negotiations with regulators
  • Expert communications with constituents and stakeholders



Companies face numerous water-related challenges, ranging from water management in an increasingly water-scarce world, to stormwater and wastewater discharge concerns, to legacy contamination from historical discharges, and more. LimnoTech has a long history of helping our clients address environmental issues of yesterday and today, and prepare for a sustainable future.

Our services cover a variety of issues facing companies. We help our clients with legacy contamination concerns comply with the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and other environmental requirements. We’ve helped negotiate realistic discharge permits for industries using environmental modeling and our regulatory experience. More recently, using the latest water science, we are helping companies better understand and improve their water use practices.

LimnoTech has more than three decades of experience serving corporations and working with regulators and regulated parties. We provide:

  • A tailored approach to your particular situation
  • The latest technology and scientific expertise
  • Knowledge of environmental regulations
  • Strong credibility with regulatory agencies
  • Clear communication of technical information


Environmental attorneys
Attorneys representing clients faced with water regulation issues or costly remediation need specialized experts they can count on. LimnoTech scientists and engineers have a long history of technical credibility with both regulators and regulated entities. We know what is required to help all parties agree on fair settlement and avoid litigation, where possible.

LimnoTech offers attorneys:

  • The highest scientific standards, accuracy and reliability
  • A national reputation and network of experts
  • Familiarity with regulations
  • Innovative policy approaches
  • Effective communication of complex issues

You can rely on our expertise, responsiveness, and cutting-edge technology to achieve favorable results for your clients.


Engineering/consulting firms

Much of the specialized environmental work we do at LimnoTech involves partnering with engineering and consulting firms coast to coast. Our partners reap many benefits from collaborating with us, including:

  • Ground-breaking tools in science and technology
  • The competitive advantage of working with outstanding professionals, recognized by industries, municipalities and regulators as national water experts
  • A network of national experts in our field, including relationships with research and academic organizations
  • Ability to communicate complex technical and scientific information to decision-makers, regulatory agencies, and stakeholders
  • Seamless integration with your team
  • Respect for your existing client relationships


Federal/state/regional agencies

LimnoTech has supported federal, state, and regional organizations since the company was formed. The responsibilities of these organizations to respond to multiple, diverse stakeholders present them with unique challenges, and LimnoTech provides assistance in helping them further the goals and requirements of the Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes. We combine the best, unbiased science with a knowledge of the goals of environmental policies, the requirements of the regulations, and a long history of working with both the regulators and the regulated community. LimnoTech offers:

  • Ground-breaking tools in science and technology
  • Innovative policy approaches
  • Ability to communicate complex technical and scientific information to decision-makers, regulatory agencies, and stakeholders
  • A network of national contacts in our field, including relationships with research and educational organizations


Educational/Research Organizations
At the core of our consulting practice is a deep commitment to finding practical solutions to important environmental problems, based on sound science. In pursuit of this goal, LimnoTech has pioneered a number of technological advances (see The LimnoTech story). We have developed new mathematical models to help our clients make better resource management decisions. We’ve also promoted the integration of data, mapping, and models, and the use of forensic laboratory, field, and geostatistical methods. Working with a large and diverse client base across the nation motivates us to remain focused on the twin goals of sound science and management utility.

Leaders in their respective applied research areas, LimnoTech’s principal investigators have made significant contributions to the body of scientific knowledge and literature. Our scientists and engineers actively participate in numerous conferences and expert panels, publishing technical papers in peer-reviewed literature and delivering presentations at national professional meetings. We partner regularly with our colleagues in universities and research organizations on regional and national studies to continually advance the state of the science.


LimnoTech is one of the country’s leading water sciences and environmental engineering consulting firms. Founded in 1975, the company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with regional offices in Washington, DC, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, and the Los Angeles region, with other personnel in Austin, TX, Greensboro, NC, and Duluth, MN (see Where we’re located). Throughout our history, we have been an independent and objective consultant and partner in our teaming relationships with private firms, public entities, research organizations, and universities (see Team with us). Our projects have covered 49 of the 50 United States and an increasing number of locations worldwide.

Our policy is to take a tailored approach to each client project. Relying on sound science and technical skill, we help our clients make practical and cost-effective decisions to resolve disputes, achieve regulatory compliance, and protect and improve environmental quality.

Our staff (see Staff description) has a national reputation for the scientific assessment of complex environmental issues and for finding innovative, effective solutions, especially as they relate to the selection and design of management alternatives for the water environment. Many LimnoTech senior staff members are internationally recognized experts in their fields, and more than 75% of our staff possess advanced degrees.

LimnoTech’s reputation for excellence, innovation, and service is firmly rooted in our corporate philosophy of quality through planning and prevention rather than through correction.The success of our quality commitment is reflected in consistently high marks for our performance in our annual client surveys, and our greater than 90% rate of repeat clients and client referrals.