Northwest Environmental Training Center (NWETC)

Environmental Forensics-Site Characterization and Remediation


This 2 day course will provide attendees with a wide array of analytical techniques available to fingerprint a variety of contaminants and to address the basic questions involved in any environmental forensics study.

1. What is the contaminant(s)?

2. What is the source(s)?

3. When did the release occur?

4. Is the contaminant degrading?

In addition, there will be a discussion of why certain techniques are more appropriate than others, the problems that may be encountered when interpreting results, and what to do if there are no unique answers to some of the above questions. Examples will be provided from a variety of environmental forensic investigations involving a range of contaminants and different issues that have been encountered.

Attendees will learn the range of supporting methods used into order to prepare the strongest case possible when presenting findings.

The final topic will center around site remediation and how some of the techniques used in topics discussed above can also be used to monitor site cleanup, particularly those sites being remediated by natural attenuation.

Course Materials:

Registered attendees will receive a PDF copy of course materials prior to the class. A physical book can be purchased for an additional $50 charge. To purchase, select 'Physical Book' above.

Intended Audience:

This course will provide useful information for chemists, engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, microbiologists, attorneys and regulators that are involved with a variety of environmental issues including contamination characterization and source determination as well as site remediation

Course Topics

  • Environmental Forensics-Past and Present
  • Initial characterization of the site-groundwater flow, oxicity, salinity
  • Information needed for a successful investigation
  • Classes of Contaminants to be discussed
  • The tiered fingerprinting approach
  • Inorganic contributions to fingerprinting
  • Additional information required for successful environmental investigations
  • Age dating of contaminants-successful and unsuccessful techniques-including presence or absence of certain compounds, atmospheric contaminants, radioactive isotopes, tree-ring dating
  • Monitoring site remediation-most appropriate techniques.
  • Natural attenuation
  • Case Histories
  • State specific cases

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