Determination of Petroleum Volume for Remedial Cost Allocation Beneath and Adjacent to City

Determination of Petroleum Volume for Remedial Cost Allocation Beneath and Adjacent to City

Project Highlights:
  • Evaluated soil and groundwater data from multiple refineries and adjacent town
  • Evaluated hydrogeologic conditions beneath the site.
  • Forensic data evaluation
  • Evaluation of Rapid Optical Screening Tool (ROST) data
  • Prepared estimates of product volumes present in soil and groundwater
  • Deposition by Department of Justice
  • Preparation of expert report for federal court

EEC Environmental (EEC) was retained to render an opinion and expert testimony as to the estimated quantity of free product and residual petroleum product in soil and groundwater beneath a town located in an area of several oil refineries. EEC represented an oil refiner who was in litigation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA’s consultant had prepared product volume estimates that were to ultimately be used for remedial cost allocation purposes.  EPA’s volume estimates were based upon apparent free product thicknesses in monitoring well and data from analysis of data generated during ROST investigations conducted in and around the City and several adjoining refineries. EPA’s analysis indicated that 17 million gallons of petroleum product was present beneath the refinery and another 60 to 120 million gallons of light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) were present beneath the refinery.

EEC was retained to analyze the datasets used by the EPA and found several errors and improper assumptions. EEC’s estimates of free product found beneath the refinery and town ranged from a low of 1.5 million gallons to a high of 13.5 million, significantly below the high of 137 million calculated by the EPA. These calculations would have caused a significant re-allocation of costs; however, based upon the Expert Report and subsequent depositions this portion of the case was withdrawn by the EPA right before trial.

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