Based in Norway, Norsk Hydro (Hydro) is a global supplier of aluminum with activities throughout the process chain, from bauxite extraction to the production of rolled and extruded aluminum products and building systems.
Hydro purchased an aluminum extrusion plant in the Midwest that formerly used TCE and PCE for parts degreasing. As part of a purchase agreement, Hydro had five years to assess the environmental liability at the site. After this time, Hydro assumed all liability. They were four years into the assessment and very concerned with the ability of the national consultant they hired to protect their interests. Here is what they were facing:
- Soil, sediment, and groundwater beneath the plant were impacted by TCE and PCE.
- TCE-impacted groundwater was identified in residential drinking water wells in the adjacent neighborhood, and the regulator was “pointing its finger at Hydro.”
- Hydro’s environmental consultant had recommended a $9,000,000 groundwater pump-and- treat system, a shocking and unexpected price tag to Hydro. As a result of Hydro’s inquiries, The Dragun Corporation was recommended to conduct a peer review of the data. Following our peer review, we came to a much different conclusion.
- First, we discovered major technical flaws in the national consultant’s data interpretation and basic site characterization.
- Second, we found that the national consultant completely missed an aquifer, which accounted for their gross mischaracterization of the site.
- Third, we showed Hydro that the national consultant reported impossible groundwater velocities. And their consultant’s conclusion regarding groundwater flow was completely wrong.
- Fourth, we clearly demonstrated, and the regulators agreed, that the proposed $9,000,000 groundwater pump-and-treat system was unnecessary.
- Fifth, we demonstrated that the TCE plume in the adjacent neighborhood was not from Hydro’s property, thus keeping them out of a major lawsuit.
- Sixth, we completed the site investigation and remedial action plan in six months. We closed the site by obtaining the first industrial land-use remedial action plan in this district. After Hydro saved $8,000,000 and avoided a long-term remediation system, they wrote us a letter that said in part, “(Hydro) is very satisfied with not only the level of service provided but the outcome of the remediation project.”