PRIMA Environmental, Inc.
PRIMA Environmental, Inc. is an independent laboratory that specializes in treatability testing, technology evaluation, custom laboratory work and scientific consulting services for the environmental community. Established in 1998 by Dr. Cindy Schreier, its purpose is to design and conduct bench-scale laboratory tests that will provide the additional information needed to make cost-effective decisions about the environmental issues at a site. PRIMA works with a wide range of clients who have projects all over the world. Our clients include independent consultants as well as large environmental firms.
PRIMA Environmental, Inc. is an independent laboratory that specializes in treatability testing, technology evaluation, custom laboratory work and scientific consulting services for the environmental community. Established in 1998 by Dr. Cindy Schreier, its purpose is to design and conduct bench-scale laboratory tests that will provide the additional information needed to make cost-effective decisions about the environmental issues at a site.
PRIMA can perform bench-scale testing on soil and water impacted by a wide variety of compounds, including chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, arsenic, metals and nitrate. Impacted materials have come from sites utilized by the mining, petroleum, railroad, chemical, dry-cleaning, and semiconductor industries as well as by the United States government.
PRIMA Environmental, Inc. is a woman-owned small business enterprise.
PRIMA works with a wide range of clients who have projects all over the world. Our clients include independent consultants as well as large environmental firms. Sites range from gas stations and dry cleaners to DoD and Superfund sites. Most sites are located in the continental United States, but PRIMA has also conducted tests on soil and water from sites in Hawaii and foreign countries including Switzerland and Australia.
Dr. Schreier is a graduate of Stanford University, receiving her doctorate from the Department of Civil Engineering in 1996 for her work investigating zero-valent iron and palladium/hydrogen for the destruction of chlorinated solvents. Two years later, she founded PRIMA Environmental and is currently PRIMA’s President and Chief Scientist.
Dr. Schreier has broad knowledge of both organic and inorganic contaminants as well as many remediation technologies including permanganate, ozone, Fenton’s Reagent, persulfate, zero-valent iron, and in situ stabilization of hexavalent chromium. She has designed, conducted, and evaluated numerous treatability studies to evaluate the effectiveness of these and other technologies and to assess the effect of treatment on secondary parameters. Dr. Schreier has prepared technical reports, presented results at scientific meetings, and written scientific articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Schreier has had a long-standing interest in cleaning up the environment. As a freshman in high school, she wanted to get rid of the smog in Los Angeles. In her application essays for college, she wrote about finding inexpensive ways to clean up the environment, so that cleaning up would be less expensive than litigating. At Stanford, she changed her graduate major from Chemistry to Civil Engineering because of the focus of the Civil Engineering department on remediation and clean water.
In addition to her Ph.D., Dr. Schreier earned her M.S. in Chemistry from Stanford and her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), graduating from UCSC with highest honors.
- Bare Bones Treatability Testing
- SOD – Soil Oxidant Demand
- COC Removal Studies
- Bioremediation Studies
- Custom Lab Work
- In Vitro Bioaccessibility (IVBA)/Physiologically Based Extraction Tests
- Treatability Testing
- Secondary Effects of Treatment
Working With PRIMA
PRIMA Environmental, Inc. performs laboratory testing under subcontract to environmental consulting and engineering firms located throughout the United States. After discussing URS-FP soils (2)the particular needs of the project, PRIMA will propose a Scope of Work to address the site-specific questions. PRIMA welcomes input from clients and regulators during development of the Scope of Work to ensure that all parties agree that the test procedures proposed are reasonable and that the results will be meaningful. Upon approval of the Scope of Work, PRIMA will conduct the bench-scale testing, then prepare a detailed report.
Our process is as follows:
- You contact us to discuss your site and bench-test goals.
- We will prepare a scope of work and cost estimate based on discussions.
- You will review the proposal. We will make adjustments, if needed. (Because bench tests rarely have standard methods, we can customize tests to fit most goals and budgets.)
- You ship us samples.
- We perform the bench test, then submit a draft report.
- You review the draft report and provide comments.
- We submit a final report.
PRIMA Environmental isn’t your typical laboratory. Some commonly asked questions about PRIMA and its services are answered
This page contains descriptions of several new, emerging, and proven technologies for the remediation of contaminated soil and water. Many of the technologies have been evaluated by PRIMA for the chemicals of concern (COCs) listed, though PRIMA makes no claim as to the general efficacy of any technology. An understanding of the technology, the COCs to be removed, and the site conditions are all necessary to the successful application of a technology.
Disclaimer: Many of these technologies (or variations thereof) are protected by patents and require a license to use. PRIMA assumes no legal responsibility for the improper use of these technologies under any patents.
Table is not all-inclusive. COCs may also be removed by treatments not listed here. Treatments may not be effective under all conditions.
In situ application of H2O2 alone can be used to enhance aerobic biodegradation since H2O2 decomposes to oxygen gas (1L of 1% H2O2 produces approximately 3L of oxygen gas). Significant chemical oxidation is unlikely because H2O2 is a weak oxidant compared to reagent CHP. However, in some cases, metals naturally present in water or soil could serve as catalysts, enabling CHP-type chemistry to occur.
Oxygen Release Compound (ORC) and ORC Advanced are proprietary reagents that, when hydrated, slowly decompose to generate oxygen. ORC may be obtained from Regenesis.
PermeOx and PermeOx Plus are proprietary reagents that, when hydrated, slowly decompose to generate oxygen. They may be purchased from the manufacturer, FMC, or from an FMC distributor such as Chem Rem.
Oxygen / Air Sparging
Many COCs readily undergo aerobic biodegradation, but are oxygen-limited in the sub-surface. Oxygen may be added by sparging with air or with nearly pure oxygen, which may be generated on site via an oxygen concentrator.
Electron Donors (general)
Addition of an electron donor (carbon source) can stimulate biodegradation in many ways. Most commonly, an electron donor is added to provide food for microorganisms that will consume oxygen and stimulate anaerobic biodegradation. Electron donors tested by PRIMA include cheese whey (a by-product of cheese manufacturing), ethanol, lactic acid/lactate, molasses, emulsified vegetable oil (EOS, Newman Zone), and EHC.
EHC, developed by Adventus Group, is a family of products that combines a carbon source and zero-valent iron (ZVI) in such as to produce very strong reducing conditions. This enables remediation to occur via anaerobic biodegradation and or chemical reduction.
EOS is a family of emulsified soybean oil developed by EOS Remediation. EOS provides a long-term carbon source for microorganisms, thereby stimulating anaerobic biodegradation.
HRC is a family of products designed to slowly release the electron donor lactic acid, which stimulates anaerobic biodegradation. HRC may be obtained from Regenesis.
Newman Zone is a proprietary mixture of fast and slow release electron donors that promotes anaerobic biodegradation. Newman Zone can be obtained from RNAS.
Activated persulfate is an established technology for the oxidation of a wide range of organic compounds, though the efficacy of treatment may depend upon the activator used. Persulfate alone is a relatively strong oxidant, but activation generates the sulfate radical, which is an even stronger oxidant. Common activators include heat, divalent metals, chelated metals (e.g. iron EDTA), hydrogen peroxide, calcium peroxide, and high pH (pH > 10.5). Persulfate decomposes to generate sulfuric acid. The change in sulfate concentration and the effect on pH depend upon the amount of persulfate used and the buffering ability of site soil and groundwater, among other factors. Other potential secondary effects include oxidation of soil chromium to Cr(VI) and mobilization of metals due to changes in pH. The magnitude, duration, and significance of any such affects are site specific.
Catalyzed Hydrogen Peroxide (aka Fenton’s Reagent)
Catalyzed hydrogen peroxide (CHP) is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and a catalyst that generates radicals, which are stronger oxidants than H2O2 alone. If the catalyst is acidified ferrous iron, the mixture is known as Fenton’s Reagent. If the catalyst is used at near-neutral pH, the mixture is sometimes referred to as modified Fenton’s Reagent. Catalysts that may be used at near-neutral pH are often proprietary and include chelated iron (application of which may be covered by patents held by ISOTEC, VTX, or nano-scale ZVI. CHP decomposes to oxygen and water (1L of 1% H2O2 produces approximately 3L of oxygen gas). The reaction is exothermic, though the temperature increase may be negligible or significant depending upon the concentration of H2O2, the rate at which it decomposes, and other factors. Contaminants can be completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water.
Klozur CR is a form of activated persulfate. It is a pre-blended mixture of sodium persulfate and PermeOx Plus, which enables alkaline activation of persulfate as well as formation of dissolved oxygen. Klozur CR may be purchased from the manufacturer, FMC, or from an FMC distributor such as ChemRem.
Ozone gas is a strong oxidant that can react with a wide range of organic compounds, potentially converting them to carbon dioxide and water; ozone itself decomposes to oxygen gas. Possible secondary effects of in situ treatment using ozone include formation of Cr(VI) from soil chromium and formation of bromate from naturally occurring bromide. The magnitude, duration and significance of secondary effects are site specific.
Ozone + Hydrogen Peroxide
Ozone + hydrogen peroxide is an advanced oxidation process (AOP) that may be more effective toward some COCs than ozone alone (especially when used ex situ) because it can generate the hydroxyl radical, an even stronger oxidant than ozone or peroxide alone. The presence of hydrogen peroxide may also reduce the likelihood of Cr(VI) and bromate formation.
Permanganate is a moderately strong oxidizing agent that is available as solid potassium permanganate (KMnO4) or liquid sodium permanganate (NaMnO4). It is most commonly used to oxidize chlorinated ethenes (PCE, TCE, DCE and VC), but has also been shown to react with pentachlorophenol and the pesticides Aldrin and Dieldrin. Permanganate reacts with some natural organic matter and other oxidizable species in soil, and in many cases, the soil oxidant demand (SOD) rather than the COC mass, determines the amount of permanganate required at a site. The most common side effect of in situ treatment using permanganate is oxidation of soil chromium to Cr(VI). The amount of Cr(VI) formed and its ability to attenuate are site-specific.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
The scientific literature describes the use of ascorbic acid for the treatment of acute chromate poisoning. Detoxification occurs via reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III). Laboratory testing conducted by PRIMA has shown that ascorbic acid can reduce Cr(VI) in groundwater.
Calcium Polysulfide (CaSx)
CaSx, sold under the brand names Calmet and Cascade, is a dark orange-red liquid with pH ~ 11 that is used to treat Cr(VI) and heavy metals in soil and water. Cr(VI) is removed via reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III), while metals are stabilized via formation of water-insoluble sulfides or oxides.
Sulfur-Modified Iron (SMI-III™)
SMI-III™ is a patented, granular media that has been developed for removal of arsenic(III), arsenic(V), nitrate, Cr(VI), metals, and chlorinated solvents from water. It is NSF Standard 61 Certified for use with drinking water and may be used alone or in conjunction with traditional adsorption media. Spent SMI is recyclable. The mechanism of contaminant removal depends upon the contaminant. For arsenic and metals, removal occurs via adsorption. For Cr(VI), removal may occur by adsorption of Cr(VI) or by reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III), followed by adsorption or precipitation of Cr(III). Removal of nitrate occurs via chemical transformation (reduction) to ammonia and other, unidentified products. Chlorinated solvents are presumably removed via reductive dechlorination. SMI can be obtained from Loprest Water Treatment Company.
Sodium dithionite is a reducing agent that can be used to indirectly convert Cr(VI) to Cr(III). Dithionite is injected into the sub-surface, where it reduces naturally occurring ferric iron in soil to ferrous iron. As Cr(VI)-laden groundwater moves through the ferrous iron zone, Cr(VI) is converted to Cr(III), which will precipitate at near-neutral pH.
Zero-valent Iron (ZVI)
Zero-valent iron (ZVI) is an established technology for the removal of many chlorinated compounds from aqueous solution. Removal is destructive, often resulting in complete dechlorination given sufficient contact time. ZVI can also destroy nitrate, convert Cr(VI) to Cr(III) and sorb arsenic and metals such as uranium. ZVI is most frequently used for in situ, passive remediation of groundwater. Common emplacement techniques include creating a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) in which a trench is dug perpendicular to the direction of groundwater flow and back-filled with granular ZVI, and hydraulic or pneumatic fracturing in which the fractures are filled with micro-scale ZVI. Nano-scale ZVI may be emplaced via injection of a slurry.
VTX is a proprietary, non-toxic liquid catalyst developed by Advanced Oxidation Technology, Inc. for use with oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone and persulfate at near-neutral pH. Field and bench tests have shown that VTX, combined with a suitable oxidant, can treat many compounds including TCE, PCE, MTBE, and BTEX.
Addition of cement to soil will increase pH, thereby forming metal hydroxides, many of which are virtually insoluble in water. Depending upon the amount of cement added, the soil may also be solidified.
Addition of lime to soil or water will raise the pH, thereby forming metal hydroxides, many of which are insoluble in water. Unlike cement, lime will not solidify soil.
Addition of phosphate to lead-impacted soil can be a very effective treatment because phosphate reacts with lead to form lead phosphate, which is extremely insoluble in water and is not readily bioavailable.