EarthFax has provided engineering and scientific support to assess and remediate soil and groundwater contamination resulting from over 18 releases from high-pressure petroleum pipelines. Released products included crude oil, diesel, gasoline, and Jet A fuel resulting in the contamination of both soil and groundwater. These releases occurred in remote mountainous and valley areas as well as urban and industrial settings. Working with the client emergency-response teams, EarthFax was responsible for site characterization, design of emergency stop-gap measures, interaction with regulatory agencies and affected landowners, design of long-term remediation solutions, supervision of remedial-action implementation, monitoring of remediation effectiveness, and reporting of remediation progress. Remedial actions used at the sites included pump-and-treat, excavation and off-site disposal or reuse, in-situ burning, soil-vapor extraction, bioremediation, and natural attenuation.
As an example, EarthFax assisted in responding to a release of diesel from a high-pressure pipeline to 22 acres of wetland adjacent to the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah. An estimated 4200 gallons of diesel fuel were released through a pin-hole leak in an 8-inch pipeline that conveys refined fuel products from Salt Lake City, Utah to Spokane, Washington. For this project we implemented containment measures, delineated the extent and magnitude of contamination, evaluated remediation alternatives, managed remediation activities, documented the work, and provided agency liaison. Given the sensitive nature of the wetlands and transitional zones that were affected by the release, rather than using vehicular equipment we used mules to carry containment booms to their places of deployment and to recover them after they had become saturated with hydrocarbons, thereby significantly reducing the impact of these activities on the wetlands. Furthermore, to avoid the potential for wildlife to become immersed in free-standing hydrocarbon product during the pending waterfowl migration, we recommended that a controlled burn be implemented, using gelled fuel emitted by a helitorch. We then negotiated with 18 local, State, and Federal agencies on behalf of the client to obtain permission to implement this unique remediation method. Following completion of the controlled burn, we sampled the soils and supervised incorporation of fertilizer into a small area of soil to enhance bioremediation of residual hydrocarbons. The area was subsequently monitored by EarthFax over a one-year period to ensure that hydrocarbon concentrations were within acceptable levels. A video describing this unique project may be viewed by clicking here to load the player.