About Environmental Forensics
These questions often relate to understanding the responsibilities for contaminated sites in a regulatory and/or legal context. These approaches are also integral to environmental due diligence for mergers and acquisitions. Techniques such as chemical fingerprinting, chemical fate and transport modelling, hydrogeological investigation, and reconstructing operational histories, among others are at the heart of many investigations. These and newer techniques, such as multivariate receptor statistical modelling, continue to evolve and have become more sophisticated over the past decade, as have the types of problems to which they are applied.
The types of problems to which environmental forensic techniques are commonly applied include:
- Identifying and quantifying contributions from various sources to contaminated sites (i.e., apportionment)
- Delineating the time frames of releases
- Distinguishing natural background and diffuse anthropogenic background from specific pollution contributions, and/or distinguishing various types and sources of anthropogenic contributions
- Reconstructing historical concentrations and pathways of releases for dose reconstruction in toxic torts
- Geochemical differentiation of specific sources (e.g., host rocks and reservoirs) of petroleum/natural gas resources.
- Conducting causal analysis to determine associations between observed conditions and potential sources