Ridgeline has a Technical Resource Group (TRG) that is comprised of Risk Assessors, Contaminant Hydrogeologists, a Technical Report Manager, a Data Manager, a Professional Chemist, a Biologist, and a Quality Control Manager. The TRG are comprised of regulatory and remediation specialists that provides technical support and guidance to our Program/Project Managers, field and reporting staff. This group has experience with relatively simple to extremely complex risk assessments. The TRG provides technical guidance on a project by project basis that includes but not limited to Subsoil Salinity Tool (SST) evaluations, Tier 2 guideline modification and pathway exclusion assessments as well as Exposure Control and Site-Specific Risk Assessments. Often, the final outcome of these assessments is the derivation of site-specific guidelines resulting in reduced liability and costs for the clients we serve.
Technical Analytical Review Process (TARP)
The Technical Analytical Review Process (TARP) is a system that has been developed by management and the Technical Resource Group (TRG). The purpose of TARP is to identify and evaluate potential risk assessment opportunities that allow us to provide non-routine options to our clients. If the potential for a non-routine solution is identified during the analytical review process (Tier 1 exceedances identified), the tables are sent to a member of the TRG for evaluation of the application of potential Tier 2/risk assessment options. The TRG will then evaluate the exceedance looking at various options that include but are not limited to Tier 2 options such as pathway exclusion, guideline modification, risk assessment options such as the use of the Subsoil Salinity Tool (SST), site-specific human health or ecological risk assessment and justifications through general analytical interpretation.
An objective of TARP is to identify potential issues during data analysis prior to the start of the reporting process. This will allow the TRG a greater opportunity to evaluate all the available options and provide the most effective solutions to our clients as well as educate Ridgeline staff. It also allows the identification of potential data gaps and the ability to obtain additional data if necessary before the project is complete.
Tier 2 Assessment
In Alberta, Tier 1 and Tier 2 soil and groundwater remediation guidelines have been designed to offer the same level of protection regardless of which option is used. The same procedures and formula are used to calculate Tier 1 and Tier 2 guidelines. The main difference is that Tier 2 guidelines incorporate site-specific information. This allows for guidelines that are designed for the particular characteristics of a site. Less sensitive sites may have Tier 2 guidelines that are less restrictive than Tier 1 but since they are site-specific they offer the same level of protection.
Pathway exclusion is the modification of a Tier 1 guideline based on the exclusion of exposure pathways and receptors that may not be functioning at the site. Pathway exclusion generally involves the collection of additional site-specific data to prove that the pathway in not functional. For example, to exclude the Protection of Domestic Use Aquifer (DUA) pathway it is necessary to prove that the aquifer does not fit the definition of a DUA or prove that a barrier layer exists between the impacted groundwater and a DUA.
Guideline modification is the process of adjusting Tier 1 guidelines through the use of site-specific parameters obtained through site assessments. This involves the collection of sufficient data for reliable determination of applicable site-specific parameters. The additional site-specific data will depend on the exposure pathway that is to be modified. Site-specific data can include physical soil properties (texture, fraction organic carbon, moisture content), hydrogeological conditions (depth to groundwater, hydraulic conductivity, hydraulic gradient) and the distance to fixed receptors (surface water body).
It is important to note that the Tier 2 approach (guideline modification or pathway elimination) does not require any form of engineered, administrative or other forms of exposure control. For example, paving a commercial site is not an acceptable form of pathway elimination as it involves both engineered and administrative forms of exposure control.
Through the TRG, Ridgeline facilitates an internal centralized reporting division offering accurate technical reports that meet industry and regulatory requirements within a 60 day turnaround.
Ridgeline has a Professional Chemist review and qualify all Analytical results to ensure the highest level of QAQC is being achieved. Data integrity is key to total project success.
Ridgeline provides Chemical Characterization of Water, Aquifer Evaluation, Water Supply, Groundwater Flow, Transport Modelling and Prediction.
Prevention of contaminant release and protecting groundwater resources from pollution is a corporate responsibility that Ridgeline supports. In addition to contaminant investigations, training, potable groundwater development and aquifer management studies are a major focus of Ridgeline’s hydrogeological service.
- Client/regulatory/landowner liaison and mediation; and
- Installation of monitoring/dewatering wells, vibrating wire piezometers, multilevel piezometers, standpipes, packer tests, slug tests and pump tests for aquifer characterization.
Hydrogeology Site Remediation
- Implementation of pump-and-treat and hydraulic containment remedial systems
- Hydrogeological component of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for proposed pilot and commercial projects for oil and gas, pulp and paper and mining industries
- Design and installation of fully automated and remote data collection systems for groundwater and surface water monitoring
- Groundwater and surface water interaction investigations
- Regional evaluation studies of aquifer contamination by leaky well casings
- Risk Assessment related to Groundwater Protection, Water Supply and Well Head Protection programs
Groundwater Modelling and Prediction
- Modelling of flow through porous media under saturated and unsaturated conditions
- Mass transport and contaminant fate evaluations