Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality

Case Studies


Rhode Island Superfund Site


Since 2000, ESS has been the prime contractor responsible for the remedial investigation, design, and implementation plan of a Rhode Island Superfund site. The site was formerly used for the disposal of a variety of liquid industrial wastes, including chlorinated volatile organic compounds, medical wastes, and over one million tires. On behalf of a group of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), ESS has performed a variety of tasks, including hydrogeologic evaluations, contaminant fate and transport modeling, conceptual site model development, and project/subcontractor management.


To support the evaluation and selection of a feasible remedial approach, ESS began work on the site with the development of the Pre-design Investigation Work Plan. The objective of this initial work was to collect data on the groundwater conditions at the site. The information and data generated from this initial work was used to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s completion of the Focused Feasibility Study for the site.

Technical Studies

In 2011, ESS was selected as the Supervising Contractor for implementation of the Remedial Design/Remedial Action. Project objectives included collecting the necessary data to support the design of an overburden groundwater remedy, collecting additional data on the nature and extent of groundwater impacts in the underlying bedrock, and assessing current surface water and sediment conditions. The challenges that are addressed in the Remedial Design studies include the presence of residual contamination in low permeability soil types, delivery of treatment reagents to the residual contamination, control of key geochemical conditions during treatment, and the vertical flux of contaminants from the underlying bedrock.

Other varied and diverse technical studies are also being completed by ESS scientists and engineers, supported by our teaming partners. These ongoing technical studies have included, but are not limited to, thorough investigation of the contaminant, geochemical, and hydrogeologic conditions within the former waste disposal area; detailed characterization of wetlands and associated surface water features; extensive bedrock drilling, characterization, and well installations; and numerous multi-media sampling events focused on refining the Site Conceptual Model and providing the necessary data to meet Project objectives.

Engineering & Design

After the initial investigations, ESS developed the Remedial Design program with a focus on the design of an overburden groundwater remedy that is to be implemented within the former waste disposal area. Development of the program included extensive bench-testing of potential treatment reagents.

Permitting & Compliance

Although regulatory permitting is not typically required for Superfund sites, regulatory activities have included frequent interactions and negotiations with the EPA and RIDEM managers, technical staff, and contractors on various project work plans and deliverables. Extensive negotiations with the EPA, RIDEM, and the Department of Justice were carried out in support of the PRPs on the Remedial Design/Remedial Action Consent Decree and supporting Statement of Work.

Outcome & Benefits

ESS has worked cooperatively with the EPA and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) to advance the technical studies and data evaluations necessary in order to support the implementation of a groundwater remedy that focuses on cost-effective risk reduction, minimization of risks to off-Site receptors, and appropriate long-term stewardship of the site. ESS will support the EPA and RIDEM Project Managers and the EPA Public Involvement Coordinator as necessary to update the public on the status of the site assessment and cleanup.