During the AGAT TechTalks 2018 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Dr. Court Sandau of Chemistry Matters Inc. and Tom Knapik of Plains Midstream Canada presented on chemical patterns that are everywhere. When a spill occurs, the signature of that spill is distinct and can be characterized in order to monitor the spill accordingly. Even very old releases can be chemically fingerprinted to determine where the impacts on the site exist and to focus the remediation on the appropriate issues instead of monitoring for the sake of monitoring. This is true for metals, salt, and petroleum hydrocarbons alike. Monitoring data can be more than just above or below guidelines.
This talk presented a case study where monitoring data from a large site and collected over a decade were statistically re-evaluated to look at chemical patterns and trends to determine what impacts were truly present on site. Both metals and salinity impacts in soil boreholes and groundwater were analyzed using chemical fingerprinting and multivariate statistical analysis to determine natural salinity patterns and metals on the site. Salinity was assessed using both radar plots and principal component analysis to determine that multiple natural salinity profiles existed for the site that were not related to the current day or historical operations. This information was used to develop site specific guidelines that were used to focus remediation strategies for the site going forward and reduce the amount of needless monitoring conducted each year at the site. This will help reduce monitoring costs going forward and allow the appropriate, targeted remediation on chemicals of concern that pose the biggest environmental concern to the site.
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