Forensic Analysis of Horizontal Well Systems

Project Location: Eastern New York
Client: Public Utility – Major Airport
Contamination: Jet Fuel
Site Size: 10+ Acres
Forensic Analysis of Horizontal Well Systems Project Description: A client, having contracted with a large nationally known Environmental Remediation Company to design and install numerous horizontal well deployed AS and SVE systems to clean up their extremely large plume of JP fuel, became very concerned that the firm's systems were not functioning as routinely reported (and hence, remediation was nonexistant or not progressing as required).  Client concerns prompted them and the Remediation Firm to seek out Integrity Engineering's help to provide an expert opinion on each system's performance as an independent third-party consultant.  Client concerns were, in part, confirmed by extreme localized bubbling of pooled rainwater near the equipment compound, whereas no bubbling in any other area of treatment was seen.  The client was very concerned that remediation would not be completed by the stipulated contractural deadline, irrespective of the progress that the contractor repeatedly stated in its monthly reports.

We were requested to forensically review the contractor’s designs, installations and each system’s performance to determine if 1) the contractor’s stated levels of performance and remediation effectiveness were true and accurate, and 2) if not, what could be done to bring overall system performance to their required levels.

Employing our VAPOR™ forensic evaluation software with IE's special measurement instruments and engineerring techniques, we were able to determine that the actual volume of flow to, and from, each well was vastly overstated, in several cases by over 50%!  By modeling each well’s head and tail pressure or vacuum along with its total flow rate, we were able with SPARGE™ and EXTRACT™ to determine if each HAS well was able to sparge air over its full length, and whether each HSVE well was withdrawing air volumes incrementally over its entire length as reported and required.  Each field-measured value was then compared to the contractor’s design value as stated on his construction prints, as well as to copies of several previous months’ system performance status reports.

We found significant problems with both the HAS and HSVE systems, including grossly oversized blowers, very large well header leaks, one HSVE well placed below the local water table, and general poor operating and reporting practices.  We generated a detailed guidance document that provided the client with our findings, inclusive of clear indisputable documentation of all deficiencies, and suggestions and recommendations for complete resolution.

Following receipt of our report, the client fully agreed with it.  They required the contractor to excavate several areas and repair fractured and misconnected well headers. Blower speeds were changed, wasteful bypass valves were closed, and reporting practices were revised to accurately represent actual system performance.  Necessary revisions to all systems were completed over the span of several months, resulting in an immediate and very noticeable increase in subsurface remediation, leading to the completion of site clean up within the stipulated 5-year term.