Effective Visual Communication of Complex Source Allocation and Statistics for Environmental Forensics Case Studies – AEHS 2018

Dr. Sandau to present at AEHS 2018

Dr. Sandau is proud to be presenting at the 34th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy, October 15-18, 2018 in Amherst, Massachusetts, hosted by the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS) Foundation. Dr. Sandau will present Effective Visual Communication of Complex Source Allocation and Statistics for Environmental Forensics Case Studies.


Environmental forensics cases can involve very large and complex datasets that required advanced statistical interpretation for litigation proceedings. The litigation cases can involve source allocation determination to ascertain who is responsible for what contamination at a site and therefore, who will pay for the remediation. For superfund sites, small differences in percentage contribution can result in hundreds of millions of dollars of costs and liabilities to
those parties found responsible for the contamination.

Visualization of the data can provide clear communication and confidence of results to those evaluating the source apportionment component of the litigious matter. A cloud based computing source apportionment model has been developed that allows the real time calculation and assessment of the sources of contamination on a site that combines geospatial analysis interactive with principal component analysis (PCA), hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), heatmap correlation analysis and non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) analysis. The resulting model can interactively walk through sample results, their locations, determine the fingerprints of the contaminants, allocate sources of the contamination and define the error associated with the allocations.

The model has been successfully applied to oil spills in rivers to determine residual petroleum PAH concentrations, to PCBs in lake sediments, to volatile organic compounds around petroleum development and to PAHs in air and sediment around petroleum development.

Several case studies will be used to illustrate source apportionment and how to interactively walk stakeholders through complex data and statistical interpretations.

Register and find more information about AEHS here. Dr. Sandau is currently scheduled to present at 9AM on Wednesday October 17, yopu can find the full program here.