U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

EPA Office of Research and Development's Office of Science Policy Mine and Mineral Processing Virtual Workshop Session 1 - Site Characterization

Sponsored by: US EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)'s Office of Science Policy

Archived: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
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EPA's Office of Research and Development's Office of Science Policy and Center for Environmental Solutions & Emergency Response is sponsoring a 4-part virtual workshop series to address characterization, remediation, and response challenges at Superfund and legacy mining and mineral processing sites. Each virtual workshop will include a short lecture by various subject matter experts in their respective fields but will also allow ample time for the presenters to interact with the audience, including time for questions and answers as well as brainstorming and identifying concerns from stakeholders participating in each virtual workshop. If you have a mining reclamation or remediation site, this is the virtual workshop for you!

The first session will focus on site characterization. Various tools exist to help properly characterize mining sites. EPA ORD experts will provide perspective on the use of innovative technologies and approaches at mine sites, taking a wide-angle view from satellite imagery down to atomic scale tools.

  1. David Williams — Dr. Williams will discuss remote sensing applications for mining sites including hyperspectral and high-resolution imagery. Recent site work and data analysis from Ducktown Tenessee, NASA imaging of the "Motherlode" in California, and potential future collaboration/application of high resolution satellite imagery to monitor site changes.

    Abstract: Remote sensing for characterizing mine waste minerology, mine drainage geochemistry, and site assessment and monitoring
    Remote sensing measurements from spaceborne, airborne, and ground-based systems have been long employed to characterize mine wastes and monitor mine facility infrastructure. Specialized measurements obtained by imaging spectrometers have been employed by EPA, USGS, NASA, and others has provided important insights as to geology of mine sites, the fate and transport of mine drainage effluents, and viability of reclamation operations. This presentation will outline several projects that EPA ORD has conducted in collaboration with Regional offices. Projects include a before and after mine reclamation project at Ducktown, TN, and an assessment of historical mine waste sites in the Mother Load region in California. The potential for mine facility infrastructure monitoring using persistent imaging from space-based assets will also be discussed.

  2. Dale Werkema — Dr. Werkema will discuss geophysical applications for mine sites including applications for electromagnetic (EM), thermal infrared (ThIR), Fiber Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (FODTS), and other tools.

    Abstract: Geophysical Applications For Mine Waste Site Objectives.
    Geophysical methods are applicable for mine waste site investigations primarily for site characterization, monitoring, and groundwater objectives. Several geophysical methods can be utilized to map mine waste pile characteristics, map near surface geology, understand groundwater characteristics, and locate groundwater discharges into surface water features. This presentation will outline the physical properties measured by various geophysical field assessments including mapping, monitoring, and site characterization. Presentation content will broadly explain select methods such as electromagnetic induction, electrical resistivity, thermal imaging, as well as others. Field examples will include methods and tools to aid the site investigator in developing a better understanding of site dynamics and in guiding future decisions such as well placement, monitoring or remediation systems. Author: Dale Werkema (presenting)

  3. Robert Ford — Dr. Ford will discuss complex groundwater/surface water interactions at non-mining sites and implications for modeling at mine and mineral processing sites for impacts from direct discharge, sediment loading, or other mechanisms.

    Abstract: Characterizing Contaminant Flux at the Groundwater-Surface Water Interface
    Surface water bodies adjacent to sites with contaminated groundwater may receive impacts that impair otherwise functional ecosystems and create new exposure pathways, increasing human health risks. Optimizing site characterization protocols to improve remedy design and performance monitoring is best achieved by developing knowledge of the potential extent and magnitude of contaminated groundwater discharge into the surface water body. The goal of the characterization effort should be to integrate observations at the surface water body and the upland, contaminated groundwater system to differentiate between the influence of the plume and/or remediation system versus external factors within the watershed. Through field-based research, EPA/ORD has developed several approaches to more reliably characterize system hydrology and assess contaminant flux. Case study examples will be used to highlight approaches to improve understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of contaminant transport across the groundwater-surface water transition zone. Authors: Robert Ford (presenting), Steven Acree, Bob Lien, Randall Ross

  4. Kirk Scheckel — Dr. Scheckel will discuss recent ORD support projects combining isotopic methods for source attribution with Synchrotron speciation to better understand source attribution and exposure risks for improved remedies.

    Abstract: Utilizing Pb Isotopes for Source Attribution at Impacted Sites
    The ability to assign wide-spread lead (Pb) contamination to a responsible party at large legacy contaminated sites with multiple possible sources has been a challenge for EPA. The recent Superfund Task Force action report seeks expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating responsible party cleanup and reuse, and promoting redevelopment and community revitalization of contaminated land. ORD has been actively pursuing these goals utilizing advanced analytical techniques to support Regional efforts to link off-site contamination to a specific source. Lead has four stable isotopes, when examined as ratios to each other, provide indicative relationships to link community contamination to explicit source materials unique to certain commercial enterprises. This presentation will highlight an effort where ORD assisted Region 7 with a study to examine Pb isotopic ratios in soil and sediment samples for comparison with Pb isotopic signatures from two suspected sources. Suspicion of legacy mine tailings being the source of river sediment and near-shore soil contamination were confirmed by ORD’s Pb isotopic research effort. The success of this ORD-Region partnership has resulted in additional site assessments employing Pb isotopic analysis for source attribution to streamline and improve the Superfund program and address the risk of human exposure to lead.

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A photograph of David WilliamsDavid Williams, EPA Office of Research and Development ( or 919-541-2573)
David Williams is a research scientist with the EPA ORD Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling (CEMM). He has been working on characterizing and mapping contaminates at Superfund sites and other areas of concern for over 25 years using ground-based, airborne, and satellite imaging systems.

Dale Werkema, EPA Office of Research and Development ( or 541-867-4048)
Dale Werkema is a research geophysicist within the US EPA Office of Research and Development. He performs basic and applied research on the geophysical response to contamination, remediation, and conceptual site model development. He also provides technical support and guidance to the US EPA Regional Offices, State, and Tribal Governments.

Robert Ford, EPA Office of Research and Development ( or 513-569-7501)
Robert is on the staff of the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) and provides technical assistance to EPA Regions through ORD's Engineering and Technical Support Center. His expertise is in development of technical knowledge and tools/processes that can be used to facilitate cleanup of inorganic contaminants in groundwater and surface water. His past work includes development of technical guidance for use of Monitored Natural Attenuation for cleanup of groundwater contaminated with metals and radionuclides. More recent work includes implementation of field research to support EPA Regions and States tackling cleanup at large, complex Superfund sites. He holds a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Missouri Science and Technology and a Doctoral degree in environmental engineering from Clemson University.

Kirk Scheckel, EPA Office of Research and Development ( or 513-487-2865)


A photograph of Jean BalentJean Balent, U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division ( or 202-566-0832)
Ms Balent is on the staff of the EPA's Technology Innovation and Field Services Division where she has worked to collect and disseminate hazardous waste remediation and characterization information since 2003. Ms Balent manages the Clean Up Information Network website and actively supports online communication and collaboration resources available to EPA. She formerly worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Engineering Division in the Buffalo District. Ms Balent was also a member of the SUNY-Buffalo Groundwater Research Group where she constructed and tested large scale models of groundwater flow. Ms Balent has also conducted research relating to the Great Lakes, environmental remediation, and brownfields re-development. She holds a Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from SUNY-Buffalo and a Master's degree in Information Technology from AIU.

James Rice, ICF International Inc. (
Mr. Rice is Senior Geologist at ICF with more than 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry. Mr. Rice has been involved in a wide range of environmental investigation, assessment and remediation projects for EPA, DOD, DOE and commercial clients using traditional and innovative tools and approaches. He currently provides technical support to EPA OSRTI with optimization and technology innovation and integration where he helps site teams improve characterization and remediation by applying best practices such as systematic planning, 3-dimensional visualization and analysis, high resolution site characterization and CSM development. Mr. Rice also develops and delivers technical training for several EPA courses including Incremental Sampling, Best Practices in Site Characterization through the Remedial Process, and High Resolution Site Characterization.

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Jean Balent
Technology Integration and Information Branch

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Technology Integration and Information Branch

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