3M is a diversified international technology company that makes thousands of consumer products. Like many older manufacturing companies, 3M had a number of legacy environmental issues to address. But they were not prepared for the news from their national consultant of the cost to address their settling lagoons used to treat process wastewater at one of their facilities.
- 3M’s wastewater processing generated over 150,000 cubic yards of soil and sediment containing Chromium III.
- 3M was not pleased when their low-priced national consulting firm first suggested 3M should consider spending $50,000,000 to dig up the impacted soil and sediment, and then transport it to a landfill (dig-and-haul).
- Next, their low-priced national consulting firm suggested several solutions, but were “light on the details.” 3M wanted a solid answer; 3M asked The Dragun Corporation to conduct a peer review of their consultant’s approach.
- First, we discovered that 3M’s consultant did not understand the environmental chemistry of chromium. Also, they did not understand chromium reaction rates in soil.
- Second, to measure the field conditions needed to keep Chromium III from transforming to Chromium VI, a very toxic form of chromium, we conducted a scientific experiment of the impacted soil and sediment in our Environmental Fate and Treatability Laboratory.
- Third, we validated that 3M could simply “bury” the Chromium III sediment using a thick soil cover. This approach would stop the Chromium III from transforming into Chromium VI, provided 3M did not expose Chromium III soil and sediment to air for more than nine months.
We helped 3M avoid spending about $50,000,000. Instead, they spent only about $5,000,000 to solve the problem.